Ron Howard has been trying to pick a fight with the Catholic Church for weeks, saying boo-hoo the mean old Catholic Church wouldn’t let me film in their churches and complaining that they tried to stop the premiere of the movie.

Even yesterday at the world premiere Howard said he’d invited members of the Church and added snarkily that “Maybe tomorrow’s comments will reflect somebody who has actually seen the film.”

But the Vatican newspaper has refused to take the bait and is treating Howard’s latest like any other movie.

I think that the thinking here is that last time with DaVinci, the Catholic outrage is believed to have sparked even higher box office receipts than were expected. This time, they’re trying to essentially ignore it.
Says the Christian Post:

In a review of the movie dated for the May 7 edition of the weekly Italian language L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper broke out from its long silence and confirmed the presence of many historical inaccuracies in the movie, as many critics pointed out.

But it didn’t lash out against the makers of the film, as some Catholics have done.

Instead, it reviewed the upcoming film as if it would any other film and even went as far as praising Howard for the “magnificent” reconstruction of church monuments such as St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel – a feat that had been done through the use of secret cameras and quick drive-by shots. As a general rule, no commercial films are filmed in churches in Rome, and no exception was made for “Angels & Demons.”

Furthermore, the newspaper noted that the Catholic Church is on the side of the good guys in “Angels & Demons,” unlike “The Da Vinci Code,” to which the upcoming movie serves as a sequel.

In The Da Vinci Code, author Brown had vilified the Catholic group Opus Dei as a secretive and murderous cult – a depiction that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops denounced as “deeply abhorrent.”

In “Angels & Demons,” however, it is the Catholic Church that protagonist Robert Langdon is working to defend, and the group suspected of trying to destroy Vatican City is one, unlike Opus Dei, that is no longer operating today.

Despite the praise and compliments, the review stopped short of endorsing the film and compared it to a video game that “first of all ignites curiosity, and then, perhaps amuses a little also.”

The movie is “harmless entertainment” that “hardly affects the genius and mystery of Christianity,” it said.

“Angels & Demons” hits theaters on May 15.

I’m pretty sure I see the strategy. You know what, the Church has been around for 2,000 years. In three years these movies will be packaged in the discount rack at Wal-Mart next to Freaky Friday -the Lindsey Lohan version.

I just feel bad for Howard who is now going to have to try to do something else to get attention. Not really.