The New York Times has a piece up about how Roman Catholic organization Opus Dei has PR wheels in overdrive trying to distance itself from the upcoming film The Da Vinci Code. The book (and film) features a psychotic albino monk named Silas (played by Paul Bettany) who is affiliated with Opus Dei, and depicts the secretive group as a powerful cult. According to the Times piece, Opus Dei leaders even contacted Sony Pictures last year, asking that any mention of the group be removed from the film, to no avail.
Opus Dei's website has an entire section devoted to The Da Vinci Code, which answers a number of issues presented in the book as factual. For instance, the Opus Dei site declaims the existence of a monastic order within the group, refutes any suggestion that it is a cult, and denies having any wealth or power to speak of (well, except for that $2.8 billion in assets and power positions in the Vatican).
It's not all bad news for Opus Dei, though. The group has had significant publicity from the book and film (and isn't it true there's no such thing as bad publicity?), and the interest spurred by The Da Vinci Code has paved the way for Doubleday to publish an upcoming book, The Way, a collection of writings by the group's founder, Father Josemaría Escrivá, who was canonized for sainthood in 2002.
[ via Under a Neon Sign at Indiewire.com ]