From columnist and Get Religion blogger Terry Mattingly's new column:
Howard stressed that his new film includes good Catholic believers as well as bad and that Langdon's character is forced to develop a "more complex view of the church."
"I feel that the good and bad believers have to do with the good and bad in their deeds," said Howard. "Belief is personal and to be respected. But behavior and actions taken on behalf of those beliefs, well that's something that society has to react to when it's bad and applaud when it's good."
For example, Hanks quoted key lines in which the Swiss Guard commander aims this shot at the hero: "My church feeds the hungry and takes care of the needs of the poor. What has your church done? Oh, that's right, Mr. Langdon, you don't have one."
"This is true," noted Hanks, whose complex family history included doses of Catholicism, Mormonism, the Church of the Nazarene and several years as a Bible-toting evangelical teenager. "The church does feed the poor. It does take care of the hungry. It heals the sick. I think that the grace of God seems to be not only in the eye of the believer, but also in the hands of the believer."
These days, he said, he still ponders the big questions, while raising a family with his Greek Orthodox wife, actress Rita Wilson.
Miracles are everywhere in daily life, he said, and it's the "mystery of it all" that continues to haunt him.
Of course, in Angels & Demons, it is the most fervently orthodox Catholic character, Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca, the papal chamberlain, who turns out to be the villian, while the agnostic/atheistic/hubristic "hero", Robert Langdon, is the cool voice of reason and science. And the recently deceased pope in the novel (which takes place in a short window of time during a papal conclave) is revealed to have had a son (Ventresca, of course!) by artificial insemination. So, the greatest enemy of the Catholic Church, the novel suggests, is not a mysterious group such as the Illuminati, but devout and loyal Catholic leaders. Hmmmmm. Perhaps some reporters and political columnists have been reading the novel?