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The worldwide conservative Catholic group, Opus Dei–famous for its supposed secrecy and the practice by some of its members of self-flagellation–has been incensed ever since the publication of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel “The Da Vinci Code,” which features Silas, an albino monk and assasin who belongs to Opus Dei.

In the article “Catholic Group Says ‘Code’ Film Is Mere Fiction,” Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times reports today that, after a failed attempt to convince Sony to drop all mentions of Opus Dei in the screeplay for the “Da Vinci” movie–which stars Tom Hanks and is scheduled for a May 19 release–Opus Dei is launching a PR campaign to make the most of the bad publicity sure to ensue.

“Opus Dei is trying to sate public interest and case the group in a very differnt light than the religious home of a fictional assassin,” Goodstein writes. “The group is promoting a blog by an Opus Dei priest in Rome, revamping its Web site and even arranging interviews with a member said to be the only ‘real Silas’ in Opus Dei–a Nigerian-born stockbroker who lives in Brooklyn.”

Click here to read the official Opus Dei response to “The Da Vinci Code,” which is posted on the group’s website.

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