Ron Howard tussles with Vatican over film

via MSNBC

ROME – Director Ron Howard claimed Sunday that the Vatican interfered with efforts to get permits to shoot certain scenes of his “Angels & Demons” religious thriller in Rome — a charge the Vatican said was purely a publicity stunt.tomhanksangelsanddemonsmovie

The film, which stars Tom Hanks and is based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown, has its world premiere Monday in Rome.

“Angels & Demons” combines an ancient secret brotherhood called the Illuminati, a papal conclave and a high-tech weapon threatening to destroy the Vatican.

At a press conference Sunday, Howard said he hadn’t sought cooperation from the Vatican based on the opposition he encountered filming “The Da Vinci Code,” another Brown novel that angered many Catholic leaders.

But he said the Vatican nevertheless exerted influence regarding his filming permits, and he was told it would not be possible even to shoot scenes in Rome that had churches in the background.

“When you come to film in Rome, the official statement to you is that the Vatican has no influence,” he said. “Everything progressed very smoothly, but unofficially a couple of days before we were to start filming in several of our locations, it was explained to us that through back channels and so forth that the Vatican had exerted some influence.”

“Was I surprised? No. Am I a little frustrated at times? Sure,” he said. Continue reading

Muslims Outnumber Catholics In World

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The Vatican has bad news for its flock around the globe; they are no longer the religious majority in the world. Muslims are. Even though they haven’t released hard figures yet the Vatican has confirmed that 19.2% of the planet pay homage to Allah, while only 17.4 % pledge their allegiance to the Pope. “For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us,” Monsignor Vittorio Formenti told Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

The Census was according to figures compiled several years ago. It has been estimated that Catholics number 1.13 billion people throughout the world while it is believed that Muslims were topping in at 1.3 billion. Those numbers are no longer reflective of the reality but hard numbers are not being released.

If all Christians were counted under one banner, the Orthodox, Anglican, Catholic and Protestants then the numbers would swell to 2 billion people on Earth (33%) who call Christ their Savior. While it is noted that Muslims are believed to be outpacing Catholics due to higher birth rates it is also worth noting that Muslim conversion spiked after 9/11 and the War On Terror was implemented. Bush’s Crusade against Islam backfired and resulted in him boosting global membership instead.