Warning: the following post contains significant spoilers about the movie Angels & Demons. Those still interested in seeing this film should consider themselves forewarned.
In The Da Vinci Code, Dr Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) foils a plot to destroy the Catholic Church by an individual who believes he is liberating mankind.
Angels & Demons takes Dr Langdon deeper into the Catholic Church and into Vatican City itself.
In the film -- promoted as a prequel to The Da Vinci Code, as the novel was, but seeming to allude to the events of that film -- Dr Langdon is drawn into murderous intrigue in Vatican City. When Cardinals in the city are kidnapped.
At the centre of the affair is a seemingly-revived Illuminati -- an organization once driven underground by the Church, according to lore. Dr Langdon must deduce his way to the end of a chain of devious murders in order to avert an anti-matter explosion that would destroy the entire city.
Dr Langdon is aided by Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Ewan MacGregor), the chief aide to the deceased Pope, who had adopted McKenna after his father was killed during an attempt on the Pontif's life.
As the Church holds a Conclave in order to name a successor to Pope John Paul II, McKenna and Dr Langdon must avert one of the greatest disasters in human history.
But there is more afoot.
McKenna is, at his heart, a resolute reformist. He wants to convince the Church to open its doors to the public and embrace complete transparency. He believes by doing so that the Church can unite people where dischord had once been born of secrecy. In order to accomplish this (admittedly laudable) goal, McKenna himself has set the events of the film in motion.
He intends to not only use the Illuminati as the enemy by which he can unite Catholics under a reformed Holy See -- with himself as the head of it as Pope -- but he has even go so far as to create the illusion of a returned Illuminati.
McKenna implicitly means well, but his intentions have led him into a web of murderous deceit and hypocrisy. While he intends to usher in a new era of transparency for the Church, he must conceal his own actions in order to accomplish that goal.
In his bid to open the doors of the Church once and for all, Patrick McKenna gives in to his own moral vices.
It's a warning that should be heeded by all of those who overzealousy pursue reform.