Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Questions/Answers about the Golden Compass

This question-answer guide has been published by the ....

MAGISTERIUM [cue sinister music: duhn duhn DUHN!!!!]

That's right... the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization for the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Yes, you read correctly, a BISHOP of the MAGISTERIUM was behind this. OOooohhhh.

Letter from Bishop Listecki:

What every parent should know:

My bottom line would be: why pay to see a film that debases your deeply cherished faith?

Here is a link to the guide (I have it typed out below in this post)

New Movie Release - The Golden Compass
The Office of Catechesis and Evangelization—Diocese of La Crosse

So, what is the big deal about this movie? Why should
parents be concerned?

The movie The Golden Compass is the fi rst book of the
trilogy, His Dark Materials. Parents need to be concerned
because it attacks the foundation of the Catholic Faith.1
Author, Philip Pullman says,
• “My books are about killing God.”2
• “I am all for the death of God.”3
• “I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian

The author is an atheist, but how does that affect
the fi lm?

“Though much of Pullman’s trilogy involves… mystical
worlds with talking animals and magical witches, the
underlying theme is no simple fantasy. In the fi ctional universe
of His Dark Materials, there is no real God; rather
there is a high angel called the Authority, who purports
to be God.”5 The Catholic Church, frequently called the
Magisterium, is portrayed as the dark force to be overcome.

Isn’t His Dark Materials just fiction?

It is fiction but it presents good as evil and evil as good.
It portrays the evil of dark, demonic forces that battle God
and ultimately kill God. So a fi lm like this (and especially
the trilogy it is based on) invites us to join forces against

How is the Golden Compass different from Narnia and
the Lord of the Rings?

The Chronicles of Narnia are a fantasy representing the
battle between God and His followers and Satan and his
devils. In the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien shows the power
of God and His grace and invites the reader to join Him.
Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials, promotes the lie
that evil can ultimately defeat God. But we know that Jesus’
death on the Cross has already won the ultimate victory.

Why can’t kids go to it as a fun, fantasy movie? What
am I to tell my child?

It is no simple fantasy. It is about evil being presented in
an enticing and glamorous way. As the fi rst teachers and
protectors, parents would not allow their children to be desensitized
to evil so that it becomes commonplace and they
no longer recognize it as dangerous and seek to avoid it. It
is the same as saying that parents would not let their children
drink poison. Tell your children that this movie is definitely
poison for the soul. In the Our Father, Jesus taught
us clearly to pray, deliver us from evil.6 Jesus does not
want us to toy with evil even when it looks fascinating.

The producers say any references to the Catholic Church
have been removed. Doesn’t this leave the movie as just
a fun fantasy adventure?

The references to the Catholic Church have been removed
from the movie but a different word has been substituted,
it is the Magisterium. The producers of the movie are not
stupid. They have removed some of the most sinister aspects
against Christianity. But don’t be fooled. The fundamental
direction of the story is the same even if it has been
sanitized and Pullman’s goal is to entice people to read his
books and reject God.
The books are much more detailed, more evil, and they
attack, with a hateful vengeance, priests, nuns, bishops, the
Mother of God and the Pope.

What is Pullman’s philosophy and how is it dangerous?

Pullman’s worldview is a world without God. He thinks
the very idea of God needs to be destroyed. Pullman spreads
his hatred for religion through these books.
The Christian worldview is that God is our loving Father.
We cannot exist without Him; God created us and has given
us everything out of love. To believe in God and embrace
Him for all eternity is the joy and very center of our lives.
How can we use this movie’s debut as a teaching experience?
Talk about this with your children. Do not be in denial
that evil exists and that skilled marketers can disguise it and
make it look attractive. We need to have a healthy level of
concern about the power of evil even though Satan does not
have equal power with God and cannot defeat God.
Satan is a fallen angel who hates God and wants us to
hate God.7 We love God and therefore we reject Satan and
all his evil. This is why you promised at baptism:
■ “to reject the glamour of evil and refuse to be mastered
by sin.”

What should Catholic parents do?

Please do not go to the movie and do not buy the books.
Return the books if you have already bought them. Spread
the message to family and friends. Embrace the positive
movies that have come from Hollywood like the Chronicles
of Narnia or read the Lord of the Rings, and refuse to give
your money or your approval to “Dark Materials” that try
to snuff out the Light.8

1 1 John 4:1-4 “…every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God.”
2 Tony Watkins, Dark Matter, pp. 21, 152
3 Philip Pullman,
4 Alona Wartofsky, “The Last Word; Philip Pullman’s Trilogy for Young. Adults EndsWith God’s Death, and Remarkably Few Critics,” Washington Post, Feb. 19, 2001.
5 The Golden Compass: Agenda Unmasked, Catholic League. p. 7
6 Matthew 6:13, Philippians 4: 8
7 See Revelation 12:7-9; John 8:44; I John 2:18-25; Catechism of the CatholicChurch, #391
8 Wisdom 4: 12 “ … the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good.”

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