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May 7, 2009

Vatican Newspaper: 'Angels & Demons' Harmless

L'Osservatore Romano calls upcoming film 'harmless entertainment'

It's not quite an endorsement from The Vatican itself, but Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano says Angels & Demons, which releases next week, is inaccurate in areas but otherwise "harmless" and not a danger to the church.

The movie, which had its world premiere in Rome on Monday, offers "more than two hours of harmless entertainment, which hardly affects the genius and mystery of Christianity," L'Osservatore's reviewer wrote. It's "a videogame that first of all sparks curiosity and is also, maybe, a bit of fun."

In a reference to Dan Brown's books, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, the L'Osservatore writer continued, "The theme is always the same in both novels: a sect versus the church, even though the parts of the good and the bad are distributed differently. This time, with 'Angels & Demons,' the church is on the side of the good guys."

A Hollywood publicist working the film to the religious press sent an e-mail Thursday noting the differences between some Christian responses to the film and what the Vatican paper is saying now. Here's the entire body of that publicist's e-mail:

Ted Baehr of Movieguide in a fundraising letter on Angels & Demons: "A clear anti-Christian message that not only are Christians evil and murderers but also that science has proven faith in Jesus Christ to be outdated! In the end, it is the highest echelon of the Catholic Church who is the villain!"

The official Vatican newspaper review of Angels & Demons:
"Two hours of harmless entertainment, which hardly affects the genius and mystery of Christianity."

There's an old Irish saying, "when everyone tells you you're drunk, you better sit down."

I'm not familiar with that Irish saying, or even exactly sure what it means, but I'll simply reiterate what's been said by many: Angels & Demons is fiction -- no more true than Wolverine or Star Trek or Terminator Salvation, the other big fiction flicks releasing this month -- and as Christians, there's really no need to join the angry mob and yell that it's a "smear" campaign or that Tom Hanks is a "pawn of Satan." Nobody's forcing anybody to watch the movie, or even believe anything that's being portrayed. If it's not your thing, skip it. If it is, then enjoy it for what the Vatican's newspaper is calling it: "harmless entertainment."

Jesus is still standing strong. The Rock ain't gonna budge.

Related Tags: Angels & Demons, Vatican


The book spreads atheist, pseudo-scientific and occult canards and lies about Christians, Christian history, the history of science, the church and Western Civilization! Christians should not be useful idiots, dupes and doormats and let such things stand without response! They should not be Christophobic themselves and fail to defend the faith. Many young people buy into these historical lies. And, they are taught in many public and private schools and colleges, including "Christian" ones.

I can believe that Christianity today is actually running ads promoting the movie Angels and Demons.
is it the almighty dollar speaking or does Christianity today just not care about promoting the works of someone (Dan Brown) that has an unbiblical agenda.

As the article says, the movie is fiction. We know that. Instead of decrying it and saying it is evil incarnate, why not use it? If nothing else, it provides ENDLESS opportunity to speak the truth into people's lives. Talk to people, tell them, "Hey, that was a great story, wasn't it? What did you think?" and then let the Spirit give you opportunity to speak truth into their lives.

God does not need us to defend him. He needs us to speak truth and the gospel.

"The Rock ain't gonna budge."

As a Catholic, I'm hardly going to disagree that "The Rock ain't gonna budge" … even if someone hides an antimatter bomb on the tomb of the Rock. :) (Was that a spoiler?)

And I certainly agree that the most vociferous opposition to the film is something of an overreaction.

As regards the "It's only fiction" meme, I think it's a little more complicated than that. Whatever Ron Howard may say, Dan Brown certainly claims some of his fiction as fact, e.g., the origins of the Illuminati in the 1600s as a cult of scientists opposed to the scientific obstructionism of the Catholic Church.

FWIW, I just posted an article fact-checking Angels & Demons.

I haven't read Angels and Demons, so I can't speak to the content. I also agree that we should use such books and films as opportunities. But the "it's fiction, people!" approach is wearing thin, not to mention naive. Anyone who thinks that works of fiction can't have a profound impact on the viewpoints of a society needs to reread some history (and take another look at our culture). Does anybody remember Uncle Tom's Cabin or The Jungle---or for that matter Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code? It's good to remember that it's only fiction, but it's also necessary to acknowledge that Dan Brown continues to claim an historical basis for his fiction in TDVC---and an alarming number of people believe him. Strident ranting against the "pawns of Satan" helps no one, and makes us look foolish. But the floodgates of alternative theories of Christ and the origin and nature of the church are open, and a simple "it's only fiction" falls a little flat in the face of that. We need to coolly and calmly engage our culture, but we must do so with our eyes open, prepared to "knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments [1 Cor. 10.4]"---even those couched in the form of fiction.

YES, the movie is fiction. YES, Jesus is still God. YES, Christians should be able to stay strong in their faith...BUT we don't always...BUT the seekers, unbelievers, and anti-Christians are even more at risk.

To say "Nobody's forcing anybody to watch the movie, or even believe anything that's being portrayed. If it's not your thing, skip it" is irresponsible. Nobody's forcing people to watch pornography either, but that doesn't mean we should just brush it off.

Christian reviews/comments should be pleasing to God and look at things from His perspective. Would Jesus say about blatant or even subtle misrepresentations of God or the Bible to just "enjoy it" because it's "harmless entertainment". The Church has had councils to condemn erroneous teachings in the past for such things, some of which is recorded in the Bible itself.

To all the people saying that we should not go to see it because it does not portray christian views, I have a question for you. Do you go to see any movies that contain violence, bad language, sex, or no mention of God at all? If so, taking your stance, the same thing would apply.

We can't pick and choose how we want to apply our principles. Personally, I'm among those who says that it is fiction, but those of you who think it is wrong to watch should think about just how far you are willing to take that principle.

To the last person who commented. I agree that this is not the only movie we should take a stance on, it would take very little time (after spending less than one minute reading a Christian review usually) to see if a movie has any sex, language, violence and choose not to go. However, these are side attacks on Christian values, I believe the run of the mill Christian has become desensitized to this but not to a frontal assault against the veracity of Christianity. The various medias spin history and Christianity until it takes a great amount of research to find truth when looking at both sides of issues. Lets also be honest, most people who really don't care about religion will take information from a movie/tv as fact and spread it as such. The bottom line is that we as Christians are caught up in the culture of being entertained, of just enjoying life and not in pursuing Christ, not in radically allowing Christ to take over our lives, to seek daily to be in the center of his will...that would take to much sacrifice. It is naive to think that we are not affected by what we see and hear, that it does not in small and big ways mold how we think/filterthe world around us, sometimes subtly and other times overtly. Bottom line is why are we so concerned with what we can get away with doing in our faith, that is like a child that is always looking to break the rules, always looking for a way to twist the meaning of his/her parents rules. Its time to break free from the mold of modern American Christianity and just as God has done for all of history, allow him to work radically in our lives.

The film features a twist that subtly attacks the credibility of Christ's sacrifice and the integrity of the early church. For 2,000 years, critics of the faith have argued that the resurrection of Jesus didn't actually happen, but was an elaborate hoax perpetrated by an unhinged prophet, then spun to the gullible masses by accomplices with a religious agenda. Lots of intellectuals and academics have examined that charge, only to become convinced that the life and claims of Jesus stand up to scrutiny. But Dan Brown's potboiler raises it again by playing it out in a modern context--right down to the killer quoting Christ's last words as he commits suicide, then the church elders deciding he's worthy of sainthood because the fawning crowds think this deceiver made a John 15:13 sacrifice. The ugly suggestion is that history may be repeating itself. Christianity is about Truth (John 14:6), not protecting an institution or keeping the faithful on an expedient emotional high.

I wonder how many hours of your life you people waste thinking about this stuff. Instead of praising the human ingenuity of lets say the large hadron collider shown in the movie, you would rather argue about the moral merits of the film, which you ground in a 2 thousand year old book. Look at what science has achieved in only 100 years compared to the thousands of years of religious dogma that has come before it. Science has created the very computers that you will use to reply to my post. Think about that before the next time you use any of your modern conveniences. And this is not to that you can not still hold Christian values while not being Christian. Religion as a whole seems to take morality as its private domain, but morality exists apart from religion. As far as the movie is concerned, not only was it a very watered down version of the book, but it was also scattered with catholic justification. In fact I don't think they would have been able to film at half the locations they did without making nice with the Vatican.

ps feel free to send me all the hate mail you please

Well no hate mail but I did read on a Vatican news site that the movie was filmed at simulated sites on the sets in Hollywood except for some outdoor segmets that are not under control of Vatican City but adjacent.The Vatican would not allow any filming in any churches thereaccording to their own press sources.
My opinion is that for anyone who seeks the truth about anything, for them to look for it in any Hollywood movie is an indication that they have ben duped and misled by the motion picture industry.
Or more likely they are confused by the very nature of the entertainment media and have no perspective of their own.
Not that the industry is even attempting to do anything more than turn a profit and entertain.
Harmless enough?
Only misled people who have no mind of their own or who have not received a christian education could be so affected as to believe as truth anyything that is turned out as Hollywood Entertainment.
Sure it reflects our culture, but so what?
A wise thing was said about this culture and it needs to be repeated often and that is "the media is the message" as it applies to the motion picture industry in particular but also pop music, television and even the news media to a much lesser extent.
That is the content is not the message. The content is not the message. So be mindless and enjoy the special effects and the art of acting, the lighting and the screenplay and the high quality digital sound.
Let it take you away for two plus hours.
But lo and behold please don't get even one bit serious about the message.
There is none.
It is the format that you are receiving not any data beyond that.
As long as most people know this and accept this then they won't seek some kind of answers and enlightenment and be misled or disapointed in the product of Hollywood USA.
I do feel that some percentage of moviegoers may not have heard that the media is the message and have not grasped that concept about it.
These are those same people who get all bent out of shape about the content whatever side the take.
To them I say remember its only a movie because really that is all that it really achcieves being.
This concept about the importance placed thereon needs to be realized for the mental health of all those who partake of it.

Bob as a Christian these views you have are against my faith. Though you do have a point because if you do believe in some religion stop arguing and start following it. If not you are just a fake and should stop practicing the religion if you can not follow it. So in this case stop arguing about it and live how you say you would live instead of faking it