THE new archbishop of Cagayan de Oro on Friday doused cold water on calls to ban the film version of the controversial bestseller The Da Vinci Code, saying the local archdiocese would instead focus on teaching Roman Catholic doctrines and in telling people about the ‘‘erroneous claims’’ of book author Dan Brown.
The Movies and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) gave the film an R-rating last Tuesday––meaning, anyone below 18 years old are not supposed to see the film in the theaters. The adults rating also means SM-Cagayan de Oro would not show the film. The establishment has a policy against showing films that have been given R-ratings by MTRCB.
Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, who would officially assume the top Roman Catholic post in the city on May 30, said Brown’s book and its film version should be taken as a challenge.
It will ‘‘challenge the maturity of Christians,’’ said Ledesma in a phone interview.
The controversial film, which stars Oscar award winning actor Tom Hanks, is scheduled to be shown across the country on May 18, a day after it premieres at the Cannes Film Festival in France.
It’s a ‘‘soft stance,’’ said Ledesma on calls to ban the film. ‘‘Challenging Christians to be mature in their faith is the more difficult stance."
Ledesma, who is also vice president of the influential Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said the Conference has already started issuing guidelines that priests can follow in refuting claims in The Da Vinci Code.
Priests were told to emphasize that the book and its film version is a work of fiction, he said.
"We will just point out the errors. We will not call for a ban. We are just exhorting Christians to study," Ledesma told the Cagayan Journal.
He said other bishops have described the The Vinci Code as "a monetarily profitable attack on the divinity of Christ."
Ledesma said the local archdiocese would encourage Catholics in this part of the country ‘‘to study the history and the fundamental truths of the Catholic faith.’’
Early this week, Mayor Vicente Emano criticized groups that have called for a ban on the film in the city.
Emano, a Mason, said a ban on the film would curtail the right of citizens who want to watch the film that is based on a book that claims the Church suppressed information about Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene’s relationship by smearing the latter. Brown claims Christ and Magdalene had children.
He said those who have called for a ban on the film ‘‘overreacted.’’
"Dili angayan nga ila kining kagubutan," he said.
Like Ledesma, Emano religious groups should take The Da Vinci Code as a challenge so Christians could strengthen their faith.
"Angayan ang Katoliko mag-lig-on sa ilang pagtuo. Challenge kini sa ila," he said. "Naa ra kana nimo kung ma-usab ang imong pagtuo."
"that can be read at Gold Star Daily>