By John-Henry Westen

LA CROSSSE, WI, December 4, 2007 ( – With the controversial children’s film “The Golden Compass” about to be released in theatres December 7, the Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse in Wisconsin has instructed his priests to warn parents against the film and the book series on which it was based.

Bishop Jerome Listecki’s letter to priests came one day after the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops official movie reviewer praised ‘The Golden Compass” film.  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: )

“My responsibility as Bishop is to inform you as well as the faithful as to any movies, activities or entertainments that question or undermine the belief of our people and subvert the message of salvation which you as pastors deliver to your communities,: wrote Bishop Listecki to pastors in his diocese in a letter dated November 30.

Speaking of the Philip Pullman works, on which the film is based, the Bishop says, “Instead of using fantasy to lead people to truth and to God, this trilogy tries to lead them away from God.”

The Bishop points out that the author is a self-proclaimed atheist who has said “I don’t think it’s possible that there is a God” and most unashamedly “I’m trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief,”  “my books are about killing God” and “I am all for the death of God.”

“Despite the engaging special effects and famous actors involved, it is clear that this movie is the first part of a trilogy that expresses hatred of Christianity and that portrays God, the Church and religion as evil and oppressive and urges children to join fallen angels in a rebellion against God,” stresses the La Crosse Bishop.

Bishop Listecki concluded: “I urge you to caution the faithful, especially parents, against this pernicious attack on the foundations of our Christian Faith and on the innocence of our children.”

The Diocese of La Cross has also published on its website a question and answer sheet for parents on the new movie release.  Answering the question: “Why can’t kids go to it as a fun, fantasy movie? What am I to tell my child?” the handout says: “It is no simple fantasy. It is about evil being presented in an enticing and glamorous way. As the first teachers and protectors, parents would not allow their children to be desensitized to evil so that it becomes commonplace and they no longer recognize it as dangerous and seek to avoid it. It is the same as saying that parents would not let their children drink poison. Tell your children that this movie is definitely poison for the soul. In the Our Father, Jesus taught us clearly to pray, deliver us from evil.  Jesus does not want us to toy with evil even when it looks fascinating.”

See the Bishop’s letter to his priests:…

See the full Q&A handout on the film here:…

The Diocese has also released an interview on the book with Pete Vere and Sandra Miesel authors of the newly released booklet called on Pullman called “Pied Piper of Atheism” see it here: