Catholic group Opus Dei has called for "references that hurt Catholics" to be cut from the film adaptation of Dan Brown's hit novel The Da Vinci Code.

The group, which formed in 1928, insists it will not request a boycott of the film, starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, despite making their disapproval of the movie's message known.

In a statement it says, "The Da Vinci Code offers a deformed image of the Catholic Church," drawing particular attention to Brown's suggestion that Jesus Christ fathered a child.

Sony Pictures Entertainment spokesman JIM KENNEDY defended the film, saying it is "not a religious tract, and it is certainly not meant to criticise any group, religious or otherwise."

The film, due to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May (06), sees religious scientist ROBERT LANGDON, played by Hanks, and French government cryptographer SOPHIE NEVEU, played by Tatou, set out to discover the truth behind the infamous Holy Grail.