By John-Henry Westen

NEW ORLEANS, December 12, 2007 ( – The Archbishops of Baltimore and New Orleans can be added to the growing number of US Catholic bishops expressing public opposition to the anti-Christian, anti-religion film ‘The Golden Compass’.  Late Monday the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) withdrew a positive review that was published on the film by the USCCB Office of Film and Broadcasting. (see coverage: )

In his November 24 column in the Clarion Herald, New Orleans Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes warned that the film is based on the “His Dark Materials” books by Philip Pullman, books which the archbishop said, “surreptitiously lead children to atheism and pose a special threat to Christianity.”

Archbishop Hughes warns moreover that the subtlety with which the books and film promote anti-Christianity may be a greater danger than a more frontal attack. “The kingdom of Satan is at war with the Kingdom of God,” he said. “His weapons are violence and deceit. In some ways, violence is easier to fight against. It is more obvious and more abhorrent, even though we have a great deal of difficulty in containing it today. Deceit, however, is subtler and more subversive. It fosters rebellion through half-truths.”  (see the full column here: )

In comments sent by email to the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien remarked on the USCCB withdrawal of the positive review for the film. “The Archdiocese of Baltimore is grateful that the Conference withdrew the review because it caused much confusion in the Catholic Community,” he said. “From all reports, the review failed to adequately warn parents about the movie’s widely recognized dark themes and anti-Catholic imagery.” (see coverage:,0,5218949.story ) reported yesterday that Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput panned the film as having an unmistakable “aggressively anti-religious, anti-Christian undercurrent.” In a thinly veiled criticism of the just pulled positive review by the USCCB office for film, he added that “The idea that any Christian film critics could overlook or downplay these negative elements, as some have seemed to do, is simply baffling.”  (see: ) reported last week that La Crosse Bishop Jerome Listecki instructed the priests of his diocese to warn the faithful against the film.  (see: )

In a November 9 statement on ‘The Golden Compass’, Austin Texas Bishop Gregory M. Aymond said: “The upcoming movie version of “The Golden Compass” has led to questions about the trilogy of books by Philip Pullman. Catholic schools and religious education programs should not encourage children to read any of these books and they should not be held in their libraries. “The Golden Compass” attempts to devalue religion, especially Christianity. Our children deserve better education than what is in these books and movie.”  See it online here: ( )

See related coverage:

Call for US Bishops to Fire Chief Movie Reviewer Renewed as Compass Review Pulled