Friday, July 07, 2006

Opus Dei director nods off at Da Vinci film

The UK Director of Opus Dei has advised people going to see The Da Vinci Code film to "take a pillow and a good magazine" because it is so "incredibly boring".

In a talk to a group of Catholics in Hull, Jack Valero said he could "hardly keep awake" but was amused by the plot.

"There is the anagram in one of the paintings, in the Mona Lisa I think where it says, 'So dark, the con of man,'" Mr. Valero said. "And we had this idea that we should rename this, 'So dull, the con of Dan.' Because for me, the film was so incredibly boring."

"It was so long. I mean there was a car chase at the beginning and I thought wow. And that was it, that's the end of the excitement."

"Before the film we said look, go and enjoy yourself, this is going to be a great film but don't believe any of it. And we stopped saying that after we watched the film and said, 'Please if you go to the film take a pillow and then don't believe any of it.' Take a pillow and a good magazine."

"We did think it was a long lecture by a nutty professor, very anti-Catholic, and much more grotesque on Opus Dei. I would have spent the whole film laughing except they take it so seriously. I couldn't believe it."

In the Da Vinci Code plot, Opus Dei, which is Latin for "Work of God", is represented by an albino monk, Silas, who murders various characters to protect the secret that Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene.

"We don't have any monks," Mr. Valero said. "We don't carry out murders. We are not allowed to murder, not even Dan Brown. We're not misogynous, women and men are the same."

In his address to the Hull Faith Forum, Mr. Valero, who is a numary of the organisation, dubbed the best selling novel by Dan Brown as "the complete opposite of reality" and attacked the producers of the film, Sony Cooperation, for being deceptive.

"They've used this dishonest marketing strategy of trying to convince people this is factual when in fact it's complete fiction and nonsense," he said.

"They have this Sony Code of conduct which says you must respect all religions and beliefs of people. But maybe the Sony Code is as fictional as the Da Vinci Code. It's a complete fiction because they don't follow it if it means they're going to lose money."

But despite his attack on the story, he said that the Catholic organisation were the only winners because of massive media interest and publicity.

"We've made a positive response to a negative portrayal," Mr. Valero said.

"We have become part of what people are saying. Our messages have been heard. We have all these inquires and people wanting to join and so on.

"We've been able to show that we are completely open and have nothing to hide. So in that sense it's a complete and utter success."

Mr Valero has been a member of Opus Dei for 30 years. He was born in Barcelona but moved to London to study for his A-Levels.

He completed a degree in Civic Engineering at University College London and worked for a software company before working for Opus Dei.

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