Looking at Dark Materials through the Light RESOURCES


 Here are links to online resource articles by Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP (or others that are relevant) that make up most of the handout for my workshop for the Catholic Library Association, April 16, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency Orange County.

I was asked to give this presentation because of my media literacy response to the upcoming release of The Golden Compass in 2007 and the subsequent media literacy guide to the film.

Workshop title and description:


Looking at Dark Materials through the Light

Leaders in the faith community are frequently challenged to critique and judge all kinds of media because we live in a mediated world. We are asked to make informed, pastoral judgments about media that the faithful then challenge. What’s a librarian or teacher to do when the only constant thing about any media is that they are inconsistent — or are perceived to be? This presentation will consider guidelines and criteria for navigating the media products of our culture in ways that are consistent with principles of Catholic education and pastoral practice.


A handout will be provided and clips will be integrated into the seminar.

Sponsored by: High School/ Young Adult Library Services Section

Links to articles

Response to the upcoming release of The Golden Compass (October 2007)

The Golden Compass: Just Say No or Shall we Talk? The Tidings, Nov 30, 2007

The Golden Compass: A Film Study Guide for Catholics

The Golden Compass: A Film Study Guide for Catholics ABRIDGED flyer format

Sr. Rose Looks at Hollywood

Letters to the Editor (in response to the Nov. 3o, 2007 article in The Tidings above):

Two Ways of Reading – and Interpreting – the Same Article:


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 the good 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 mist-see.

Rev. Norbert J. Wood, O.Praem.

Rector, St. John the Baptist School

Costa Mesa

Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s