Twilight is a 'deviant moral vacuum': Vatican slams blockbuster New Moon film

Vatican City - Blockbuster movie New Moon, the latest in the Vampire saga Twilight out tomorrow, has been condemned by the Vatican as a 'deviant moral vacuum.'

New Moon tells the story of a romance between vampire Edward Cullen, played by British actor Robert Pattinson, and Bella Swan, actress Kristen Stewart.

In Italy the film opened on Wednesday and took £1.8million at the box office but it has outraged the Vatican which attacked it just weeks after slamming Halloween.

Monsignor Franco Perazzolo, of the Pontifical Council of Culture, said: 'This theme of vampires in Twilight combines a mixture of excesses that as ever is aimed at young people and gives a heavy esoteric element.

'Men and women are transformed with horrible masks and it is once again that age old trick or ideal formula of using extremes to make an impact at the box office.

'This film is nothing more than a moral vacuum with a deviant message and as such is something that should be of concern.'

Three weeks ago the Vatican condemned Halloween as 'anti Christian and dangerous' and it urged parents not to dress their children as ghosts, goblins and vampires.

The Catholic Church in Italy has taken a dim view of Halloween celebrations for years.

Aldo Bonaiuto, head of the Catholic Church's anti-occult and sect unit, warned parents of the dangers to children and said the event 'promotes the culture of death.'

He added:'Halloween pushes new generations towards a mentality of esoteric magic and it attacks sacred and spiritual values through a devious initiation to the art and images of the occult. At best, it gives a big helping hand to consumerism and materialism.'

In the past the Vatican has also attacked the wizard saga Harry Potter with current Pope Benedict XVI became among its most vocal critics.

Six years ago the then Cardinal Josef Ratzinger Criticised the 'subtle seductions' contained in the Potter series which could 'corrupt the Christian faith' in impressionable young children.

Last year the Vatican's official newspaper L'Osservatore Romano also ran an editorial in which it attacked the teen wizard as 'the wrong kind of hero.'

However four months ago this was followed by a U-turn at the Vatican as L'Osservatore than ran a piece giving the latest film Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince its seal of approval saying it 'distinguished between good and evil.'

Under the headline 'Magic is no longer a game of surprise,' it praised the film's special effects and the development of the lead characters saying they were 'far more credible' than previous episodes.

The saga Twilight is based on a series of books by U.S. author Stephanie Meyer have captured the collective imagination of filmgoers around the world, sending them to the American town of Forks, Washington state, where it is based in search of the reality behind the fiction.