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Nun confronts Hanks over 'Da Vinci Code'

Da Vinci Code
The book involves a mix of puzzles, religion and action.

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LONDON, England -- A Roman Catholic nun led protesters who greeted Hollywood star Tom Hanks as he arrived at a cathedral in England for the filming of controversial best seller "The Da Vinci Code."

Sister Mary Michael, 61, knelt in prayer outside Lincoln Cathedral where scenes for the blockbuster are being shot. She believes the book by author Dan Brown contains heresy.

Speaking to the UK Press Association about her protest, she said: "It matters to me what God thinks, not what the film crew think.

"When I face Almighty God, at my final judgment, as we all will, I can say, I did try my best, I did try my best to protest."

Sister Mary, a former Discalced Carmelite who now belongs to Our Lady's Community of Peace and Mercy in Lincoln, said a storyline that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and that she bore him a child was based on a heresy that she first became aware of 50 years ago.

"It is an old error, derived from the mystery faiths of the east. It is not a new story," she said.

Sister Mary said she had not read the whole book, but had read enough about it to understand its central errors.

Lincoln is being used for filming even though its own dean has reportedly branded the book "a load of old tosh."

The Very Rev. Alec Knight and the cathedral chapter were said to have agreed to let filming take place after the film's producers made a £100,000 ($180,000) donation.

Sister Mary accused the cathedral of the sin of simony -- conducting financial transactions involving spiritual goods.

"The church should not be accepting money for something that is not a true story," she said. "They should be praying more, and then the money would come in. To a believer, any believer, what is happening is blasphemous."

Sister Mary said she began her protest at 5 a.m. "It was cold and dark. I was outside the Cathedral, facing towards the altar, and the ground was very hard.

"I prepared myself by going on a three-day St Patrick's Purgatory pilgrimage in Ireland earlier this month."

The Lough Derg pilgrimage in Donegal involves privation, lack of sleep and exercise.

"It helped me make my protest, which consisted of praying for an hour or an hour and a half, then walking around the Cathedral, then praying for another hour, until five in the afternoon.

"I won't be going back to do it again -- I think I have made my protest," she added.

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