"Da Vinci Code," as Seen From Rome

Documentary Includes Cardinal Arinze's Comments

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ROME, APRIL 27, 2006 (Zenit.org).- In a new documentary, Vatican officials such as Cardinal Francis Arinze comment publicly on the novel that alleges Jesus fathered children with Mary Magdalene.



"There are some other religions which, if you insult their founder, will not just be talking. They will make it painfully clear," said Cardinal Arinze of Dan Brown's novel "The Da Vinci Code."

He made his comment in "The Da Vinci Code: A Masterful Deception," a documentary by award-winning journalist Mario Biasetti.

The documentary, produced by the television agency Rome Reports, addresses the questions raised by the novel and the soon-to-be released movie rendition of the best seller.

Among the questions: Did Leonardo Da Vinci use his art to reveal secrets about the Holy Grail? Is Opus Dei a secret organization with assassins as members? Is Christianity the biggest cover-up in history?

Biasetti has covered the Vatican for four decades. His filmmaking résumé includes the acclaimed one-hour documentary "Soldiers of the Pope: The Story of the Swiss Guard," for which he obtained unprecedented access to the Vatican.

Superficial

His latest documentary includes insights from theologians such as Jesuit Father Gerald O'Collins of the Gregorian University, Italy's Culture Minister Rocco Buttiglione and art historian Elizabeth Lev, whose interview was filmed before Da Vinci's painting "The Last Supper" at the Santa Maria Delle Grazie Church in Milan.

"Dan Brown's rendering of Leonardo and his art is very superficial," says Lev, a ZENIT collaborator, gesturing toward the world-famous rendering of Jesus' last meal. "It's a quick look ... a remixing of the cards in hand to keep the story going."

The documentary includes a multi-faith perspective with representatives from Islam and academic commentary from Marc Ellis, a professor of Jewish studies at Baylor University.