Golden Compass Controversy: Shedding Light

Here is an article from The Fairfield County Catholic (Diocese of Bridgeport, CT) that I think will shed some light of understanding and calm on the recent controversy surrounding reviews about The Golden Compass. This interview/article says to me that it is good to read carefully, think, and ask questions in the interest of authentic dialogue about the products of popular culture. I think the paper has chosen the better part: to respond rather than react.  



The December 14, 2007 The Tidings, the newspaper of the Archdicoese of Los Angeles ( ran two letters to the editor about an article and my review of “The Golden Compass”. Although the film is on its way out of theaters, it will come out soon on DVD and will have a long shelf life, as the books already have. Therefore, I think it is deeply interesting and meaningful to compare and contrast the two perspectives as we consider the lingering presence of this title and any other controversial films/books that may come out in the future.

‘The Golden Compass’: Just say no? Or shall we talk?

‘Compass’: Challenging believers to articulate faith, values

Bravo to Sister Rose Pacatte’s Nov. 30th article, “’The Golden Compass’: Just say no? Or shall we talk?”


            What a well-written article! This topic has inspired me to pursue certain avenues that have fallen by the wayside. I believe your call to action on letting children think for themselves is the most valuable virtue we can give a budding Catholic. Our example is the best teaching method we have.


When others try to attack our hard work, we need to prepare our children for that. My motto is “There should be no shortage of wonderful stories for children to read.” Obviously we need to share in useful discussions about thegood and the bad.


Anna Martinez

Los Angeles

I was troubled by Sister Rose Pacatte’s conclusion after reviewing “The Golden Compass” and related controversy (Dec. 7). She stated, “To just say no is not a valid option in today’s media world.”


The church encourages the discriminating use of the media. If I want to protest the supposedly benign atheist agenda of Phillip Pullman, coming as it does in the context of an increasingly aggressive atheistic movement (e.g. Dawkins, Hitchens, etc.), a perfectly ‘valid option” is to “just say no” to the movie version of his  book.


For the same reason I have ensured that Pullman’s books are not on the shelves of our school library. It’s like boycotting Chinese goods to protest the oppression of Tibet. This is non-violent resistance entirely in line with the social teaching of the Church. A sad day has dawned if we have ‘empowered” the media to such an extent that every Hollywood production is a must-see.


Rev. Norbert J. Wood, O.Praem.

Rector, St. John the Baptist School

Costa Mesa




  1. I am hopping around the blogosphere to say “Merry Christmas” to my friends. May this first day of Christmas be blessed with peace and serenity and inner joy!

    Merry Christmas! And thanks for all you do for us throughout your ministry. It is indeed a gift!!

  2. Well, dear Sister, do I have to wade through a toxic waste dump to know its bad?  I will agree with the good Father Norbert here and with many many Bishops all over the country who warned their flock to stay away from this evil film  The uproar of the many Bishops was so great that the USCCB had to remove its favorable review from its web site.  

    Praise God for good pastors like Father Norbert and  good shepherds like Bishop Listecki of La Crosse and others who know that they have a sacred obligation to guard the salvation of their sheep (that's us, dear Sister).

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