Catholic archbishop in Manila denounces 'Da Vinci Code'
The Cardinal's statement echoed comments from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, which on Friday warned that the movie adaptation of Dan Brown's best-selling novel could shake the faith of Christians in this predominantly Catholic nation unless they are properly guided.
"Not since the time of the Presbyter Arius (336) was there an attack on the Divinity of Jesus Christ ... which was as vicious and as monetarily profitable as this venture of Dan Brown and Sony Film Production," Rosales said in a statement distributed to priests in the Philippine capital.
"Like in anything negative, let us take this occasion to convert the cinema industry's money-motive production into a pastoral challenge, an evangelization and catestichal moment of grace," he said.
Rosales urged priests and parish leaders to organize discussion and study groups focusing on the divinity of Jesus Christ, including "prayers and reparation for the sins of blasphemy.
"Organize prayer sessions for world peace, morality and charity," he said.
But the archbishop did not call for the movie to be discarded altogether. On Wednesday, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, a senior member of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's cabinet, called for "The Da Vinci Code" to be banned.
Cinemas in Manila have been advertising the movie would start screening next week, although government censors have yet to decide whether or not the movie can be shown. The English-language version of the book, though, is freely sold in the Philippines.
In its statement, the bishops' conference said Dan Brown's story "gives erroneous impressions" on fundamental Christian beliefs, the most serious being his assertions that Jesus was not divine but only human, and that he married Mary Magdalene and had children.
"In the face of the confusion the novel has generated, we invite the Catholic faithful to serenely affirm the fundamental truths of our faith, in particular the following: Jesus Christ is truly God and truly human. The full truth about Jesus is not attained by mere historical reconstruction or ingenious human speculation," the pastoral statement stipulated.
"Let us not lose heart. The history of the Church attests to how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has withstood many trials. The Truth of Jesus Christ can never be shackled," they stated.