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Opus Dei won’t sue ‘Da Vinci’

'Code' will open Cannes May 17

Roman Catholic group Opus Dei, demonized in the Dan Brown bestseller “The Da Vinci Code,” won’t take legal action against the distributor of the Cannes opener.

“It would be Opus Dei vs. Sony-Columbia. To me that just sounds almost surreal,” Opus Dei spokesman Marc Carroggio told Rome-based Catholic News Agency Zenit, which has close Vatican ties.

“This might interest those who are marketing the movie — you know, a big fight in public,” the org’s rep noted in its first public pronouncement on the pic. “But Opus Dei’s only response will be a declaration of peace.”

Helmed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks, pic features a fictional Opus Dei monk, played by Paul Bettany, who commits murders to prevent the secret of the Holy Grail from coming to light.

“Code” will open Cannes May 17 and bow internationally two days later.

Opus Dei, a worldwide org founded in 1928, wields considerable influence in Catholic circles and is believed to have played a significant behind-the-scenes role in the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

Carroggio did not have any kind words for “Code,” which he said “presents the Catholic Church as a band of criminals who for 2,000 years have tried to hide a huge lie.”

But, proving that there is no such thing as bad publicity, the Opus Dei spokesman said that the book and the film had resulted in plenty of welcome indirect publicity and interest, including more than 1 million hits on its Web site.

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