CNN, following in the footsteps of ABCNews.com’s overblown take on the subject, couldn’t help but to insert snotty language into its report on the Catholic Diocese of Rome’s denial to the filming of the movie adaptation of Dan Brown’s "Angels and Demons." CNN international correspondent Jennifer Eccleston, closing her report on Thursday’s "American Morning," labeled the Church’s refusal, based on "The Da Vinci Code" book and movie’s bashing of the Catholic faith, "a big problem in Rome, where some sins are just too grave to be forgiven -- even if they're for art's sake."
"Sins" that are "just too grave to be forgiven" calls to mind Matthew 12:32, where Jesus Christ refers to blasphemy against the Holy Ghost as a sin that won’t be forgiven "neither in this world, nor in the world to come." It isn’t certain that Eccleston had this scriptural quotation in mind, but she certainly gave the impression that the Church is being "un-Christian" for not letting Ron Howard and Tom Hanks film there.
Eccleston also played a clip of movie critic Tom O’Neil of "In Touch Weekly," who was more overt about the Church acting in an un-Christian manner. "The Church could have just turned the other cheek and quietly said no, you can't use our churches. Instead, they have vehemently denounced this movie publicly as an offense against God, as poison of the faith.... Wow, those don't sounds like typically Christian words."
O’Neil might not have heard that the Church had been quiet about it (not to mention Ron Howard and those involved with the filming). As the aforementioned ABCNews.com story put it, the Diocese of Rome refused permission in 2007, but the news didn’t leak until Monday, when the spokesman for the Diocese mentioned it in an interview.
Even with this, the portrayal of the Catholic Church as not "turning the other cheek" and using words that aren’t "typically Christian" leads one to conclude that CNN thinks the Church should have just taken it lying down. Would they have reacted the same way if the Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference denied a racist film maker access to its facilities to make a film smearing the civil rights leader?
On the other hand, Eccleston did run extensive clips of Father John Wauck denouncing the film, so there is equal time in terms of the sound bites she ran. However, right before she ran the first clip of Fr. Wauck, Eccleston ran file footage of men burning a copy of the Italian edition of "The Da Vinci Code,"giving an even stronger impression that Catholics are reacting to Brown’s works in an un-Christian manner.
The full transcript of Jennifer Eccleston’s report, which aired 51 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour of Thursday’s "American Morning:"
JOHN ROBERTS: Calling all the angels and maybe a few demons as well -- live pictures this morning from Rome where there's a controversy brewing between Tom Hanks and Ron Howard and the Catholic Church. The stars are filming the prequel to the blockbuster movie 'The Da Vinci Code.' It's called 'Angels and Demons.' But the Church has banned them from filming inside the Vatican and any church in Rome for that matter. We sent our Jennifer Eccleston out to capture the story for you.
JENNIFER ECCLESTON (voice-over): From the ancient to the avant-garde, from the humble to the heavenly. They're all off-limits to some of the biggest names in Hollywood, at least while Tom Hanks and Ron Howard are on the job, filming 'Angels and Demons,' the prequel to Dan Brown's novel and monster hit, 'The Da Vinci Code.'
IAN MCKELLEN (as "LEIGH TEABING") : Witness the biggest cover-up in human history.
TOM HANKS (as "ROBERT LANGDON"): Da Vinci.
ECCLESTON: The blockbuster film's premise? Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and fathered children. Many Catholics found it offensive, the Vatican called it a potpourri of lies.
FATHER JOHN WAUCK, HOLY CROSS UNIVERSITY, ROME: It's a little surprising that the same people would be coming now to Rome, looking for permission to film inside churches, and to film a movie that is, itself, also, a caricature of the Catholic Church.
ECCLESTON (on-camera): 'Angels and Demons' features similar church intrigue, evil cults, and the murder of Catholic clergy. But unlike 'The Da Vinci Code,' it is almost entirely set in Rome, and filming here was a must.
ECCLESTON (voice-over): Street scenes and ancient piazzas no problem, but the producers also wanted to shoot in the Vatican and in two historic Rome churches, where in the book, two cardinals are murdered. The Vatican said no, with one official telling an Italian paper it would be an 'offense against God.' To one movie critic, that's an overreaction.
TOM O'NEIL, IN TOUCH WEEKLY: The Church could have just turned the other cheek and quietly said no, you can't use our churches. Instead, they have vehemently denounced this movie publicly as an offense against God, as poison of the faith.... Wow, those don't sounds like typically Christian words.
ECCLESTON: Father John Wauck says artistic license is one thing, but in this case, 'punto e basta,' enough already.
WAUCK: Sometimes when you're interested in making money, it's necessary to do things that are somewhat sleazy, like caricature another person's religious faith, and apparently, from Hollywood's perspective, that's not a big problem.
ECCLESTON: But it is a big problem in Rome, where some sins are just too grave to be forgiven -- even if they're for art's sake. Jennifer Eccleston, CNN, Rome.