A full-scale battle has been joined between producer-director Ron Howard on one side and William Donohue, head of the Catholic League, the largest Catholic lay organization in the U.S., with about 100,000 members. On Tuesday Howard accused Donohue of being on a "mission" to smear him by portraying him and his upcoming movie, Angels & Demons , as anti-Catholic without having actually seen the movie. In a commentary posted on the liberal Huffington Post blog, Howard wrote, "Let me be clear neither I nor Angels & Demons are anti-Catholic. And let me be a little controversial I believe Catholics, including most in the hierarchy of the Church, will enjoy the movie for what it is an exciting mystery." Responding to Donohue's charges that the movie -- and the Dan Brown book on which it was based -- are replete with "lies" about the Catholic Church, Howard responded, "It would be a lie if we had ever suggested our movie is anything other than a work of fiction," and he acknowledged that he, like other classic filmmakers, had taken "liberties with reality." He concluded "I know faith is believing without seeing (and a boycott would be disbelieving without seeing). But I don't expect William Donohue to have faith in me, so I encourage him to see Angels & Demons for himself." Donohue wasted no time responding. "Howard must be delusional if he thinks Vatican officials are going to like his propaganda -- they denied him the right to film on their grounds." And he implied that either the Church or the Catholic League may have planted a spy among the movie's crew. "We know from a Canadian priest who hung out with Howard's crew last summer in Rome (dressed in civilian clothes) just how much they hate Catholicism." Donohue did not identify the priest, nor did he indicate what the priest had learned about the crew's views about the Church.

22/04/2009