Strange Bedfellows: Vatican Enjoying Hollywood's 'Angels & Demons' Hype?

A few weeks ago, Sony Pictures added a button to its Angels & Demons website linking to The Vatican Secret Archives. Not a fictional one, but the real Vatican site that’s the repository of centuries worth of documents pertaining to the Holy See. These Archives figure prominently in the storyline of the Dan Brown book and this weekend’s movie. Since then, 71,000 people have used the link to visit the Archives. Go figure. The appeal is that they can, for example, find the trial proceedings against Galileo (another topic touched on by the book/movie) or the letter requesting the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon that split England from the Church of Rome. Clearly, the Dan Brown books/movies have been a catalyst for millions of people to learn about early Christian history.

Back when The Da Vinci Code was released in 2006, Sony was surprised when thousands of pastors embraced the controversial story by using it as a teaching tool. Now, with the release of Angels & Demons, Sony didn’t bat an eye when Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who’s in charge of one of the churches where some of the action in the book/movie takes place, was supportive of the film in a recent interview. “If it brings people to see the church, hopefully, being in a holy place will be a religious experience for them.” And to think that, at the start of the hype over the Da Vinci Code pic, The Vatican condemned Hollywood. Now, L’Osservatore, the official newspaper of The Vatican, called Angels & Demons “gripping”. Nevertheless, the Catholic League is denouncing the 2nd pic just like it did the first, accusing Ron Howard and Dan Brown of “smearing” the Catholic Church with fabulously bogus tales. As for Sony, all the studio cares about is making money off those stories.

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