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By Patrick Antoine Decloitre

SUVA, Fiji (Oceania Flash, May 31) – The screening of the controversial movie The Da Vinci Code, which premiered last week in New Caledonia, has received mixed feeling in the French Pacific territory, with Roman Catholic Church officials saying the movie was "wrong".

The movie, directed by American former actor Ron Howard (and starring Tom Hanks and French actors Audrey Tautou and Jean Reno), has triggered a ban in Samoa and hostile reactions from other Pacific island nations, such the Solomon islands, where Prime minister Mannaseh Sogavare on Wednesday saying he intended to get the movie banned in the Melanesian state, because it was casting doubt in the very foundations of the Christian faith.

In New Caledonia, the movie does not seem to be threatened by a ban, but Roman Catholic Nouméa cathedral Deacon Jean-Bernard Robert-Traeger also lashed out at the Hollywood blockbuster and the book, written by Dan Brown, that inspired it.

In the movie and the original novel, it is suggested that Jesus Christ and Marie Magdalena has a secret child and that this royal descent has been protected throughout history by a secret order.

"In the book, some elements are totally wrong. And these totally wrong elements are aiming at something, that is to say that the church, for two thousand years, has been cheating, lying, hiding, dissimulating and manipulating. This is totally false and it is wrong to suggest it", the Deacon told local television on Thursday.

The protestant church of New Caledonia and its Evangelic Federation have also reacted, but in a more lukewarm manner.

"We as the protestant church, our concern is to invite everyone to go back to the roots, the source. And I think even Dan Brown, has acknowledged on his website that his book should be seen as an opportunity to ask themselves the right questions, in terms of spirituality. This is good as long as you don't go to the wrong address, as long as you look at the Gospel as they exist and as they have been transmitted over the centuries", French Evangelic Churches Federation President, Father Dany Hameau, said.

New Caledonia's Director of Education, French public servant Michel Barat, a representative of the lay sector, but who is also described as a "philosopher of the religions", stressed on this issue, it was important that public debate be preserved.

"It would be a step backward to ban a book, just because it says things that do not appeal to some. I myself do happen to read books that contain things I do not agree with, with regards to what I am, what I believe, my commitments. And I have never asked that they should be banned. If we were to do this, we would certainly going backwards", he said.

June 1, 2006

Oceania Flash: http://newspad-pacific.info/?todo=main&type_news=2

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