Italian media companies are preparing a cartoon and mini-series that will portray the life of Opus Dei founder Saint Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer as the organisation marks the 80th anniversary of its launch in 1928.
ANSA reports Opus Dei is taking to the airwaves to brighten its image after its sinister portrayal in the Da Vinci Code book and film.
Marking its 80th anniversary, the organisation is sponsoring a TV cartoon and mini-series on the life of its founder, Spanish Saint Jose' Maria Escriva de Balaguer (1902-1975).
The cartoon, in the production phase at President Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset company, will give kids a "necessarily simple" view of Escriva de Balaguer, Opus Dei spokesman Pippo Corigliano said yesterday.
But the mini-series being developed by Mediaset's public rival RAI aims at a rounder picture of the man Pope John Paul II canonised in 2002, Corigliano said.
Opus Dei has about 90,000 members in 90 countries, most of them members of the community. There are few priests, and no monks.
While a third are celibate, living in Opus Dei centres and devoting themselves to social and charity work, the majority have traditional family lives, but all follow the dictum that everyone is called to holiness.
Many are leaders in their chosen fields but the identities of most members were until recently kept secret.
But now even a prominent member of Italy's centre-left Democratic Party, Paola Binetti, has come out as a member, happily admitting that she like her fellow celibates practices self-mortification.
The 'cilice' she wears is a small, light, metal chain with little prongs, worn around the thigh. "It's uncomfortable, it's supposed to be but it doesn't in any way hinder one's normal activities and there's absolutely no Da Vinci Code gore," Binetti said recently.
The days of living in the shadows are definitely over, spokesman Corigliano said, and the new media drive aims to blast away any remaining cobwebs.
Opus Dei to show its true face (ANSA, 1/10/08)
St Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer (Wikipedia)