The Vatican has heavily criticised what it calls "shameful and unfounded lies" in US author Dan Brown's bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code.
Read a selection of your earlier comments about the Da Vinci Code controversy.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
Until now, I had no desire to read "The Da Vinci Code" but considering the stink the Catholic church are raising, I might pick myself up a copy and see what the fuss is all about. Surely there's nothing more guaranteed to send people scuttling to the book shops than a religious leader telling them not to.
Bill, London, UK
It's a fictional novel isn't it? By criticising it so forcefully the Vatican is opening itself to ridicule.
Sue, Llantwit Major, Wales
Perhaps the Vatican thinks that if people are willing to believe in the Bible as the truth, those people might also blindly believe in the writings in this novel. The Vatican just doesn't like the competition.
It is part of a growing concern that fiction mixed with fact is believed as fact. This has been highlighted in recent films such as Braveheart and Titanic. The Bible has more factual historical corroboration than most of the history we currently believe, e.g. over 30,000 documents relating to the life of Jesus Christ while less than 10 documents relating to Julius Caesar arriving in Britain. This novel seeks to cast doubt and has successfully done so. Ask yourself this question, if someone told blatant lies about your friend which attacked their character would you be upset?
Andy, Livingston, Scotland
None of the concepts in the Da Vinci Code are new. They've been around for a while and yet it's only the popularity of the book that leads the Catholic Church to denounce it. A lot of the references to historical events and societies do have a certain amount of evidence but it's not 100% proof that it's true. The Church are not helping the situation by denouncing a work of fiction it just draws more attention to it. Personally I think it's a good book if it encourages people to read more and to actually think more often.
Nige, Swansea, Wales
I recently read The Da Vinci Code and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The plot is intriguing but entirely plausible at the same time. Do I believe it is true? Not really, does the excessive opposition put up by the Vatican make it look like they have something to hide? Yes. It's a fact that when someone protests their innocence too much, it's usually because they are guilty of something. Perhaps if the Vatican had just laughed and shrugged it off people would not give the theory as much credibility as it does.
Andy, Brighton, UK
Although I have not yet read The Da Vinci Code I do not see that the Roman Catholic Church should have a monopoly on the "truth". After all they called Galileo's findings lies too and only in the recent past have they acknowledged that he was correct. The church should be a bit more "Christian" in their attitude.
History abounds with attempts to undermine the historical Christian faith. This is just another - a very profitable one for Dan Brown.
Trevor Allen, Croydon, UK
I really can't believe there is such a big fuss over this novel. Firstly the people shouldn't believe what they read, especially in a novel! I can see why it has caused such a big response by the Vatican if people start believing in fictional novels. On the other hand, the Vatican seems to have blown it out of proportions by calling a fiction 'lies'! The novel is fiction. Not lies or completely real. Just a story.
Andrew Tang, Nottingham, UK
If you want to believe every word in a book that's clearly a work of fiction then that's your choice. You could also believe every word written in The Da Vinci Code as well.
Peter Fearns, Liverpool, England
It is rare for me to agree with the Vatican on anything, but I am equally appalled by the Da Vinci Code. I find it difficult to believe anyone genuinely believes the nonsense conspiracy theories contained in it. But then, I find it equally difficult to believe that the novel has been such a success. The paper thin characterisation and poor quality writing are appalling.
Leanne, Newcastle, UK
It always amazes me how much faith is placed on the Bible. It was written many years after the death of Christ and many parts are suspect as to historical fact. Furthermore, we do not need the Vatican telling the rest of Christianity how they should view The Da Vinci Code.
Ron Williams, Colorado Springs, USA
The book is fiction - no argument there, despite being very enjoyable. What interests me more is when the inevitable fall of Catholicism comes about - what historic treasures, artefacts and documents will we find hidden in the Vatican? And how wondrous that we will all be able to share in the truth - whatever that may be.
Anne-Marie, London, UK
I find the amount of press dedicated to The Da Vinci Code amazing. That anyone should think that a work of fiction could possibly be revealing age-old secrets is astounding. Wouldn't such facts be published in a proper academic context? I thought we'd come a long way since the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds and the hysteria that it produced. It seems I was wrong.
The old saying goes ' there is no smoke without fire' and if the book is entirely fiction, then why is the Catholic Church so worried? I was born a Catholic and do not believe the Bible entirely, and enjoyed reading The Da Vinci Code. I felt that it was an excellent book and have begun reading more of Dan Brown's work. The book is fiction, although there could be elements that possibly have a grain of truth, so it makes one wonder when the Church seems very nervy!
Donna Ansbro, Leeds, UK
The Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction - but then what seems more plausible? A charismatic man who married and had a child, or a man who was born from a virgin birth and rose from the dead after three days? Does the idea that the early church suppressed other gospels seem so extraordinary?
All this second rate thriller does is ask some questions that we should really all be asking - what we choose to believe is totally different. I hope that this book will open up a broader debate about religion, and perhaps there should be a wider search for 'lost gospels' or at least an acknowledgement that they existed and contained some kind of validity.
Bob Morrell, Tonbridge, England
Another secular attempt to discredit Christianity.
What Dan Brown has done has tied together information that's been around for decades and presented it in a novelised form. His sources are questionable at best, but The Da Vinci Code is a work of fiction, and as far as I'm aware, doesn't pretend otherwise. One can argue that Christianity as a whole, not just Roman Catholicism, has prospered over the last 2000 years on fudge and misinformation. The strength of Rome's comments suggest that maybe there is something to hide after all.
Andrew, Essex, UK
Having read his previous book Angels and Demons, which is set at Cern, I found many details about Cern at best inaccurate and at worst outright fiction (I work at Cern myself), so it seems likely many of the "facts" in the Da Vinci code are just as false. He fails to make clear the novel is only based on real organisations and that the statements about said organisations are entirely false. So the Vatican is right to criticise the book in my opinion.
Paul Winston, England
This is a great book and a gripping read, despite Brown's false claims that the details in the book are factual. That said, people will believe what they want to believe, and it's likely that those who do take this book as a work of fact aren't likely to be fans of the Church anyway.
Dan Brown has just recycled a number of contentious issues into a work of fiction. Most of the so-called 'facts' that he offers in the book do not stand up to scrutiny. It's just the latest piece of work to cash in on the grail legend. Read it as an entertaining yarn, but don't take it too seriously. The way the Catholic Church is reacting, you might think that they were doing a bit of PR for Dan Brown. There's nothing like a bit of controversy to increase sales!
Aiden Truss, Kent, UK
The Da Vinci Code contains enough truth to be interesting. Certainly any rational person should be curious why the Church tried to destroy the Dead Sea scrolls. The Vatican is its own worst enemy - by withholding historical documents it breeds conspiracy theories. If the Church was more open and allowed access to its archives people like Dan Brown would have less ammunition and the public would be far less willing to believe the worst.
The problem with Dan Brown is that he presents his argument as historical facts whereas in reality it is easy to show they are a series of maybes and could have beens. It's the historical equivalent of looking at a dead body, deciding it was poisoned without having a post-mortem, then arresting and sentencing someone because of your guess. I am no Christian, but with very little research it is possible to find huge gaps in the Da Vinci Code's argument.
Of course this novel is unfounded... And of course the Vatican has the right to say it. Probably no one has more right to proclaim it.
Miguel, Zaragoza, Spain
Dan Brown is an entertaining author. Mark Lawson's classic quote that the books are 'utterly gripping tosh' is spot on. It did annoy me slightly that his historical and geographical accuracy runs out so quick, but that doesn't diminish from the fun you get from reading it.
I'd just hope that as a result of this might be that the Vatican would open up some of its secret archives to public scrutiny. Let's have some 'Freedom of Information' about the hidden gospels, the inquisition, and the heretics that the church has put to death over the years!
Ted O'Neill, Milan, Italy
The Da Vinci Code is a highly entertaining novel. It is certainly easier to read than the Bible, and that is because it's a completely different type of book! As such I would've thought the Bible was beyond comparison to a novel. Though when it comes down to facts, neither book can actually be proven to be 100% accurate truth.
B, Aberdeen, Scotland
It is a book! OK I admit the declaration in the front that the Priory Of Sion is real when it is not can cloud some peoples' judgement, but never the less it is a work of fiction. I found the premise to be more believable than the bible tuition I received at school, but I am not doubting peoples' faith (whatever they believe in) and I believe the Vatican, and other devoutly religious people should not run scared about this fiction. Or do they know something we don't? Now that would make a good story!
Chris Hewitt, Nottm, UK
I really enjoyed reading the book but as a Christian I found it disturbing that there was enough truth mixed in with unfounded evidence to make it all believable. Those who really want to know the truth will search for it and those who are happy to read truth mixed with fiction will be content with this book.
I have one thing to say "Get a grip. It's a fictional story!"
Having researched the topic in hand I can tell you that the Da Vinci Code is nothing more than a pack of lies. My advice is don't take my word for it, research it yourselves and I bet you come to the same conclusion.
I wonder why religious groups are getting so uptight about it - I don't believe what the Da Vinci Code says but then again I don't believe the stories in the Bible either. It's just a question as to which is the biggest work of fiction.
Matt B, Gloucestershire
I don't see what the fuss is about, the "controversial" components that the Catholic church is concerned about have been in existence for a long time. Dan Brown has merely tied them together and presented them in an easily digestible package for people.
Although a lot of the book is only based on fact, the Catholic Church cannot deny that they have covered up a very large amount of history in the last 2000 years. The fact they are so defensive about the book means that it has obviously hit a raw nerve. I believe a lot of the book is based on fact, some on fiction, which Dan Brown doesn't deny. Nevertheless it is one of the best books I have ever read. Everyone should make up their own mind without the church trying to interfere in our lives as they always have.