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Ron Howard: 'I Am Not Anti-Catholic'

Wednesday, 22 Apr 2009 07:50 PM

By Rick Pedraza

In response to charges by Catholic League president Bill Donahue that his soon-to-be released film sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” is full of lies and misinformation about the Catholic Church, director Ron Howard declares neither he, nor the film “Angels & Demons” are anti-Catholic.

“And let me be a little controversial,” he writes in a blog Tuesday on HuffingtonPost.com: “I believe Catholics, including most in the hierarchy of the Church, will enjoy the movie for what it is: an exciting mystery, set in the awe-inspiring beauty of Rome. After all, in Angels & Demons, Professor Robert Langdon teams up with the Catholic Church to thwart a vicious attack against the Vatican. What, exactly, is anti-Catholic about that?”

Howard’s missive comes after Donahue referred to Howard as “delusional if he thinks Vatican officials are going to like his propaganda.” The film, much like its blockbuster predecessor by author Dan Brown, has been under fire with Church officials ever since the Vatican denied its filmmakers the right to film on Vatican grounds, The Hollywood Reporter reports.

Donahue claims a Canadian priest hung out with the film crew last summer in Rome dressed in civilian clothes and reported how much Howard and the filmmakers hate Catholicism. He also notes some of the film’s factual inconsistencies.

“It’s time to stop the lies and come clean,” Donahue admonishes.

In response to Donohue’s suggestion that the film fails to hide an “animus against all things Catholic” and paints Catholicism as anti-reason, Howard suggests Donohue and his allies wait to see “Angels & Demons” before criticizing it for smearing the Catholic Church.

Donahue, Howard writes, is creating "silly and mean-spirited propaganda.” He claims he and the film from Imagine Entertainment do not in any way “disrespect Catholicism” or find its traditions and beliefs to be irreverent.

“There is plenty of debate over what the Church did or didn't do with Galileo,” Howard explains. “But I for one do recognize that the Church did much throughout the ages to encourage and preserve education, the arts and the sciences.”

Howard defends the film’s references to struggles within the Church between faith and science, but also notes the clear signs of support for the pursuit of science at the highest levels of the Vatican.

“I have respect for Catholics and their Church, and know they accomplish many good works throughout the world,” he writes. “But I don't expect William Donohue to have faith in me, so I encourage him to see ‘Angels & Demons’ for himself. Then he will finally witness, and perhaps believe, that what I say is true.”

Church officials called for the boycott of "The Da Vinci Code" when it was released in 2006, however the film went on to earn $760 million in worldwide box office receipts, according to The Reporter.

“Angels & Demons” opens May 15.

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