Bill Donohue saw “Angels & Demons” today. Here is his take:
The movie is so spectacularly stupid that it blunts its anti-Catholic elements. But there are problems, nonetheless.
In the movie, the Catholic Church is said to have murdered members of the Illuminati, of which Galileo was a member. In real life, the Catholic Church never laid a hand on any member of the secret society and Galileo died almost a century and a half before the Illuminati were founded. In the movie, even Church officials admit that the Illuminati have reason for revenge, when, of course, this is pure nonsense. In the movie, we learn how the Church has worked against the march of progress, when, in fact, the historical record shows the opposite: the scientific achievements and contributions to higher education made by priests are incredible. In the movie, Catholics are portrayed as believing “Stem Cell Research Is Murder,” when, in fact, the Church is pro-stem cell research, save for procedures which destroy embryos. In the movie, Pope Pius IX is said to have bludgeoned the genitalia of male statues (so anti-sex was he), when, of course, this never happened. Indeed, Pius IX lavishly funded the arts. And so on. There are a few bones thrown our way, but they hardly make up for the lies.
In the end, however, director Ron Howard turned out to be a blessing: his melodramatic characterization, and positively James Bondish type absurdities, have the effect of undercutting Dan Brown’s malicious portrayal of Catholicism.