Opus Dei Prelate Unfazed by "Da Vinci Code"

Author Deceiving People, He Says

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ROME, MARCH 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Comments by the prelate of Opus Dei on "The Da Vinci Code" has led to more media speculation that an "ecclesial counteroffensive" is being launched against the book.



In an interview last week on Italian television, Bishop Javier Echevarría said that he prayed "everyday" for the book's author, who presents the prelature as a secret and sinister organization.

The author, Dan Brown, knows he is "deceiving people," the prelate said.

The interview came a day after a flurry of media reports announced that the Vatican was organizing a "crusade" against the book based on a debate organized by the Office for Culture and the University of the Archdiocese of Genoa entitled "The Da Vinci Code ... Stories Without History."

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, archbishop of Genoa, later told Vatican Radio that his intent was not to launch a crusade against the book, but rather to promote reflection on it and clarify various errors and misinformation.

Responding to reports that he is launching his own campaign, Bishop Echevarría told Italian Radio and Television (RAI) that the book "doesn't worry me at all and does not rob me of even 20 seconds of sleep."

He also said that he is not worried that the book would distance people from the prelature as many are approaching Opus Dei to find out what it really is.

ZENIT learned that the interview with Opus Dei's Prelate was not related to the Genoa debate, as the interview was taped Feb. 15, and only shown last week.

The bishop's references to Brown's book in the interview are marginal, elicited by the reporter's questions.

Marta Manzi, an Opus Dei representative in Rome, said, "It would be better to speak less of crusades, and to discuss seriously and calmly on literature, history and religion, without confusing fiction with reality. In this area, journalists can be of great help."