The Archbishop of Birmingham has launched a withering attack on The Da Vinci Code ahead of the release of the film version of the blockbuster novel.
The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols condemned the "fanciful themes and deliberate untruths" given in the controversial book.
The novel by American author Dan Brown has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and the film, starring Tom Hanks and Sir Ian McKellan, is predicted to be one of this summer's biggest box office hits.
But The Da Vinci Code was attacked for portraying the Catholic Church as a shadowy organisation that has spent 2,000 years covering up Jesus's marriage to Mary Magdalene.
Members of Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic group with 86,000 members worldwide, were particularly angry about their order being depicted as a murderous, power-hungry sect.
Archbishop Nichols said: "The Da Vinci Code gratuitously insults Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church." He said he has no intention of seeing the film on its general worldwide release on Friday.
He said: "I have read The Da Vinci Code from cover to cover. It deliberately presents fiction as fact. It distorts history, falsifies theology and gratuitously insults the person of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.
"I have no intention of going to see the film when it is released later this week. I urge those who do see the film not to be taken in by its fanciful themes and deliberate untruths.
"I ask them to remember that The Da Vinci Code tells them nothing at all about the truth of Jesus Christ, the Christian Faith or the Catholic Church."
Archbishop Nichols added: "During his time on earth, Christ suffered insults and mockery with patience in order to show the truth of his unwavering love for all. This continues to be true today."
Opus Dei has asked Sony Pictures, which produced the new film, to include a caption making clear the movie is fiction.
Sony has said the work is not a religious one and is not meant to criticise any group.
The film will have its premiere on Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival.