Showtime has greenlit the highly topical drama Our Fathers, based on Newsweek editor David France'sinvestigation into the paedophilia scandal that gripped the Roman Catholicchurch.

Casting is underway on the project, which is due to begin shootingin April and will be directed by Dan Curtis (The Winds Of War) based on a screenplay by Thomas MichaelDonnelly, who wrote Showtime's A Soldier's Sweetheart.

The story opens with the 2002 Boston Globe story that exposed thescandal surrounding Father John J Geoghan and moves on to the cover-up bysenior church members and Geoghan's eventual murder while he was in prison.

While all the stories and characters will be based in fact,Showtime has changed the names of the victims.

"Our Fathers is an unflinchingly honest account of the scandal that has rockednot only the Roman Catholic Church, but people of faith around the world,"Showtime Networks president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt said in astatement.

"Filled with compelling portraits of devoted Catholics who carriedtheir secrets of sexual violation for decades, and members of the churchhierarchy who were the architects of one of the century's most tragic cover-ups,Our Fathers is the kindof cautionary tale that memorable movies are made of."

The announcement comes as the US Conference of Catholic Bishopsprepares to publish a survey into sexual abuse by more than 4,000 priests from1950 to 2002.

"When I read France's book, I was compelled to make this moviebecause the majority of the public has no idea how widespread or complex thisissue is or how faithful Catholics were deceived in such epic proportions,"Greenblatt added.

Curtis willserve as executive producer along with David Kennedy, president of Dan CurtisProductions. France is acting as a consultant and Joan Boorstein is the creativeexecutive for Showtime.