By John-Henry Westen

TORONTO, December 17, 2007 ( – The glowing review for the anti-Catholic film ‘The Golden Compass’ issued November 29 by the Office of Film and Broadcasting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is still causing problems even after being officially withdrawn at the behest of the USCCB.  The December 23 Christmas edition of Canada’s largest Catholic newspaper, The Catholic Register, has published without comment on page 12 the now-pulled review of the controversial film.

The positive review issued by Harry Forbes the director of the USCCB film office and published by the Catholic News Service was removed from the USCCB website last Monday after many Catholics, both lay and clergy, expressed concern.  A growing number of US Catholic Bishops and Archbishops have publicly condemned the film in the wake of the positive review being withdrawn. (see: )

Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput recently wrote that “The aggressively anti-religious, anti-Christian undercurrent in ‘The Golden Compass’ is unmistakable and at times undisguised.”  He added, “The idea that any Christian film critics could overlook or downplay these negative elements, as some have seemed to do, is simply baffling.”

Pete Vere, a Canadian Catholic and canon lawyer, has co-authored a book exposing Philip Pullman, the author of “His Dark Materials” trilogy of which The Golden Compass is the first in the series.Vere, co-author of ‘The Pied Piper of Atheism’, told that he was disappointed with the Register for running the review.

“I’m disappointed with the Catholic Register,” Vere told  “Forbes’ review failed to mention two facts: First, the ‘Golden Compass’ is a film-adaptation of a series of books written by Pullman to undermine Christianity and promote atheism. Pullman’s story is one in which two twelve-year-olds set out to overthrow God before renewing the universe through pre-marital sexual activity, although Pullman is coy as to whether they go all the way.”

“Secondly,” he continued, “as noted by the majority of reputable secular critics who reviewed the film, ‘The Golden Compass’ is a poor piece of art.” spoke with Register editor Joe Sinisac who explained that he had only seen the story of the USCCB review being pulled “after the paper went to bed.”  Sinisac added, “so we’re going to run the story about the review being pulled with some of the criticism about it in the next issue.”

“If I had known ahead of time I probably would have combined them together or something,” he said.

The Archdiocese of Toronto did not wish to comment for this story.  The paper is owned by the Archdiocese of Toronto and and is operated from the Catholic Pastoral Centre which includes all the main offices of the archdiocese.

For the damage and scandal the review has caused and is causing, some Catholics are demanding the USCCB fire Harry Forbes, the director of the USCCB film office, and also the primary author of the positive review for ‘The Golden Compass’.  Human Life International President Fr. Tom Euteneuer in a press release asking that Forbes be dismissed recalled that he had also caused scandal in 2005 with a USCCB review in praise of the homosexual propaganda film Brokeback Mountain. 

“An employee who shames our bishops with reviews of this sort should be fired. He now has a track record and is not worthy to be a public spokesperson for any Catholic let alone the national conference of bishops. I urgently ask the bishops to correct this anomaly at the headquarters and restore the dignity of the conference, which has been sullied by this man,” said Fr. Euteneuer.

To express concerns contact:

James Accurso, Assistant Director of Communications in the office of USCCB President Cardinal George informed that concerns should be sent to the USCCB office of communications:

(202) 541-3000

USCCB President
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archdiocese of Chicago
155 E. Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60611