By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, December 11, 2007 ( – Catholic News Service (CNS), the official news agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reports today that the USCCB movie review of ‘The Golden Compass’ has been withdrawn without explanation.

The glowing review written by USCCB Office for Film and Broadcasting Director Harry Forbes and his colleague John Mulderig caused scandal to many faithful as the film is based on the anti-Christian works of atheist author Philip Pullman.  Despite an ongoing boycott against the film and an education campaign to warn parents against it by the Catholic League, Forbes and Mulderig published the positive review on November 29.  The film opened December 7.

Moreover, the positive USCCB review has been used by New Line Cinema, which produced the film, in advertisements.  Of note, New Line Cinema revealed that they had spoken at length about the film with Forbes.

“The USCCB gave no reason for withdrawing the review,” reports CNS.

That is not good enough, says one of the main critics of the Pullman novels.  Canon lawyer Pete Vere has co-authored a book on Pullman called the Pied Piper of Atheism to be released by Ignatius Press before Christmas.  Vere told, “It’s good that the review has been withdrawn but the point is that it was out there for some time and that has to be clarified.” Vere added. “It was done in the name of the USCCB, there has to be some explanation as to why it was withdrawn.”

To express concerns contact:

USCCB President
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archdiocese of Chicago
155 E. Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60611
312-751- 8200

See related coverage:

Sales of Anti-Christian Golden Compass Books Have Surged 500% with Movie Publicity

US Bishop Instructs Priests to Warn Faithful against “The Golden Compass”

US Bishops asked to Fire Chief Film Critic over Glowing Reviews for “Brokeback” and “Compass”