Archbishop cautious about high-profile boycott

Sony’s publicity machine for “Angels and Demons” is in high gear with plans to world preem the “Da Vinci Code” prequel for the global press in Rome on May 3 and 4.

But while U.S. groups such as the Catholic League are already making a public case against the pic, Rome’s Holy See seems to be backing off from the boycott tack it took on “Da Vinci.”

“Let’s be careful not to play their game,” warned Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, the Vatican’s economic minister, as rumblings about “Angels” surfaced in official Vatican daily Avvenire. “By dramatizing the issue we will involuntarily be giving the film free publicity,” the prelate said.

That doesn’t mean the Vatican has been accommodating to Sony and “Angels,” which De Paolis calls “a manipulation in anti-Christian key of people, events, and history.”

The Holy See last year banned “Angels” from shooting in Rome churches. And last month the Vatican forced Sony to remove a giant publicity poster — one depicting a menacing winged creature towering over a deserted St. Peter’s covered by threatening clouds — from the scaffolding of a church undergoing restoration in Rome’s central Piazza del Popolo. Officials deemed the poster “offensive.”

Now it will be interesting to see how well the Vatican will weather the press corps at St. Peter’s doorstep for the world preem. “Angels and Demons” opens in Italy and some European territories May 13 before bowing May 15 Stateside and worldwide.

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