Ad Agency Pitching ‘Golden Compass’ Ads to Catholic Diocesan Papers Halts Ads

By John-Henry Westen

BALTIMORE, December 5, 2007 ( - Controversial advertisements suggested to the nation’s top 50 Catholic diocesan papers advertising the upcoming movie "The Golden Compass" have been pulled. 

A letter from Advertising Media Plus (AMP) to the papers last week suggested the ads. The ads were based on a positive review of the film by the Office for Film and Broadcasting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. tracked down those in charge of AMP and found surprisingly that it was ultimately the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Cathedral Foundation, which publishes the English weekly version of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien is the ultimate head of the organization, however, Daniel L. Medinger is responsible for the day-to-day activities.  Mr. Medlinger spoke to about the matter.

Medlinger explained that when a sales representative first approached him about pitching advertisements for the film, "I said we have to find out what the USCCB movie rating is."

"When our sales rep heard that the rating from the Bishops Conference was A II he sent out that note," continued Medlinger.  "Afterwards we had a conversation and we are not placing those ads."

Asked what caused him to change his mind despite the positive USCCB review, Medlinger was hesitant and would only respond: "It was my decision, it was just business we didn’t want to do."

Faithful Catholic activists and bloggers can take a pat on the back for the outcome. 

In a rare move, the Catholic League was quick to publicly condemn the review.  Other Catholic leaders have called on the USCCB to fire their movie critic Harry Forbes, especially in light of the fact that he also caused scandal by giving a glowing review to the homosexual propaganda film Brokeback Mountain. (see coverage: ) readers, activists and bloggers such as Amy Wellbourn, Thomas Peters of American Papist, among many others, have pursued both the USCCB review and the proposed ads stirring a healthy controversy.

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