Cate Blanchett's latest movie, 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age', has been heavily criticised by the Catholic Church's leading bishops for the way the film portrays religious history.

Meeting at the Italian Bishops Conference in Rome, church leaders have called the film "divisive, distorted and an attack on Catholicism".

Professor Franco Cardini, a leading Catholic Church historian, claims the sequel is an "anti-papal travesty," adding the film was devised to secularise Europe and was wrong in both fact and inclination.

He writes: "A film which so profoundly and perversely falsifies history cannot be judged as a good film."

He went on to criticise director Shekhar Kapur for failing to provide vision to an important piece of history, and instead demonising the church by portraying the Catholic King of Spain, Philip II, as a "ferocious, fanatical Catholic swinging his rosary like a weapon".

But Kapur has rejected the charge saying: "It's actually very, very deeply not anti-Catholic. It is anti extreme forms of religion. It's anti an interpretation of the word of God, which can be singular."