Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Letter to Pastors about "The Golden Compass"

by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki


Bishop Jerome Listecki warns the clergy about the controversial children's film "The Golden Compass" to be released in December 2007. Bishop Jerome Listecki's letter to priests came one day after the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops official movie reviewer praised the film. The Bishop points out that the author is a self-proclaimed atheist who has said "I don't think it's possible that there is a God" and most unashamedly "I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief," "my books are about killing God" and "I am all for the death of God."

Publisher & Date

Diocese of La Crosse, November 30, 2007

November 30, 2007
(Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle)

Dear Pastors,

My responsibility as Bishop is to inform you as well as the faithful as to any movies, activities or entertainments that question or undermine the belief of our people and subvert the message of salvation which you as pastors deliver to your communities.

On December 7, 2007, the movie The Golden Compass will be in theaters. The trailers on TV make it look like one of C. S. Lewis' stories from the "Narnia Chronicles." The problem is that The Golden Compass comes from a trilogy entitled His Dark Materials that tries to do the opposite of what C. S. Lewis was trying to do.

Instead of using fantasy to lead people to truth and to God, this trilogy tries to lead them away from God. The author of the books, a self-proclaimed atheist named Philip Pullman, has been quoted as saying that he sees Christianity as "a very powerful and convincing mistake." He has said, "I don't think it's possible that there is a God" and, most unashamedly "I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief" "my books are about killing God" and "I am all for the death of God."

Hollywood is aware that a clearly anti-Christian movie will not do well at the box office, so it has tried to clean up the more obvious anti-Christian elements from The Golden Compass. But good fruit does not come from a bad tree. Despite the engaging special effects and famous actors involved, it is clear that this movie is the first part of a trilogy that expresses hatred of Christianity and that portrays God, the Church and religion as evil and oppressive and urges children to join fallen angels in a rebellion against God. This turns upside-down the truth that God is love and that through the graces found in His family, the Church, He desires that we live with Him. in eternal happiness.

I hope that you will avoid The Golden Compass and continue to support movies and books that edify, such as Bella and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, rather than those works that present evil as good and good as evil. Movie goers, especially children, love to go back and forth between movies and the books on which the movies are based - with the "Narnia Chronicles" that is wonderful; with The Golden Compass it would be a dangerous mistake.

I urge you to caution the faithful, especially parents, against this pernicious attack on the foundations of our Christian Faith and on the innocence of our children. It is good for all of us to be reminded that it is our duty, especially that of the lay faithful, to form and inform our culture.

I encourage you to review the attached articles from the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization as well as to read the current edition of The Catholic Times for more information.

It is my hope that together, guided by our Lord Jesus Christ, we can continue to proclaim faithfully His Gospel to all. May He grant us strength and peace in this Advent Season.

Through the maternal intercession of Our Blessed Mother, the Immaculate Conception, I remain Yours sincerely in Christ,

(Most Rev.) Jerome E. Listecki
Bishop of La Crosse

See the full Q&A handout on the film

Interview with Pete Vere and Sandra Miesel authors of the newly released booklet on Pullman called "Pied Piper of Atheism"

© Diocese of La Crosse

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