By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, DC, December 3, 2007 ( – The Bishops of the United States are being asked to fire the chief movie reviewer for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  Harry Forbes, the Director of the USCCB Office for Film and Broadcasting, has reignited scandal by praising the film “The Golden Compass” which is based on an anti-Catholic novel.

Forbes caused similar controversy two years ago when he issued a glowing review in the name of the USCCB for the homosexual propaganda film “Brokeback Mountain”.

Pete Vere, who has a written book on the author of The Golden Compass, spoke with about the USCCB review.  “Several bishops have spoken to me about this review and they are horrified at what has been done in their name,” Vere told  “Certainly the USCCB has to revisit its rules for issuing movie reviews.”  Vere’s book co-authored by Sandra Miesel, Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children’s Fantasy, is to be released by Ignatius Press before Christmas.

Fr. Tom Euteneuer, the President of Human Life International, has called on the US Bishops to fire Forbes and his subordinate John Mulderig who co-authored the review of The Golden Compass.  The HLI leader was incredulous that the USCCB review could recommend the film for children despite the fact that it admits the film has “occult elements” and carries a “sprit of rebellion”. 

“The fact that these gentlemen could recommend this movie to children is just abhorrent to me. I really do believe these guys should be fired,” Fr. Euteneuer told  “Whatever happened to rejecting Satan and all his empty work and empty promises.”

The USCCB review notes the great artistry of the film, but such is no reason to approve of it warned Fr. Euteneuer who has taken part in exorcisms.  “St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11 that the devil comes dressed as an angel of light.  And this is very clearly what is happening.  They have taken an atheistic work and dressed it up as something good for kids.”

Noting Forbes’ former scandalous positive review of Brokeback Mountain, Fr. Euteneuer said, “The fact (the USCCB) didn’t fire him at that time is what leads to this kind of thing.  When you don’t rebuke irresponsibility in using an office to spread errors then it leads to more irresponsibility.”

In a rare move, the US Catholic League last week publicly slammed the USCCB Golden Compass review in exclusive comments to (see: )

Vere told that as a canon lawyer he has concerns about the USCCB’s positive review of The Golden Compass. “I recognize that the faithful turn to their bishops for guidance on issues affecting Catholic faith and morals. By giving The Golden Compass a positive review, it could appear to most Catholics that the U.S. bishops see nothing to be concerned about in Pullman’s work,” he said.

“This certainly is not the case, which is why Sandra Miesel and I have documented several of our concerns in Pied Piper of Atheism ( Ignatius Press is set to release this short book before Christmas. The book chronicles a number of ways in which Pullman’s work, which is being marketed to children and young people, attacks the Church, undermines faith in God and promotes atheism. How else does one describe a book in which two twelve-year-olds set out to overthrow God before re-enacting the fall of Adam as a good thing?”

“As Catholic faithful we must alert our bishop and other good bishops as to what Forbes and Mulderig have written in name of the USCCB,” says Vere in an upcoming column for The Wanderer. “Be respectful, but state our concerns bluntly, ask these bishops to investigate what happened, and why it happened. Demand that the bishops take appropriate corrective action. Demand that future movies are reviewed within the context of the good of souls – which in our canonical and theological tradition is the supreme law – and not merely on their artistic merit.”

Vere suggests that this “should be clearly explained to Forbes, Mulderig, and other USCCB movie reviewers” and “If they choose not to abide by it, then the bishops have a moral duty to provide the faithful with reviewers who will.”

The USCCB review is already causing damage by enticing Catholic audiences to see the movie.  Fiction writer and popular blogger Amy Welbourn reports that the ad agency for New Line Cinema which has released the film, is using the Forbes’ review to promote the film via full-page ads in diocesan newspapers.

One key line in the ad agency’s pitch to diocesan newspaper editors: “We’ve spoken extensively about this film with Harry Forbes, Director of the USCCB’s Office of Film and Broadcasting.”

To respectfully contact individual US Bishops:

The book ‘Pied Piper of Atheism: Philip Pullman and Children’s Fantasy’ by Pete Vere and Sandra Miesel is available here: