December 17, 2007


Thanks for the impressions, Sr. Helena!
Just for the you think the USCCB was right-on with their review? You mentioned the problematic nuances of the film (the "magisterium," the depiction of the witches as those who are "truly human", etc.), and it's very consoling to hear that the supposed "deep theological/philosophical questions" raised in the movie are so rudimentary as to be easily remedied by some basic catechesis. Is there some real danger here, though? Beyond the prudential judgment all Catholics make ("will this movie constitute temptation for me?"), should this movie just be avoided in its entirety?
--Andy Kirchoff
Hi Andy!
Because I espouse the "media literacy approach,"  I'm all for seeing/reading/listening to media and diving into the dialogue. I have to say that I disagree with any easy dismissal of "Golden Compass'" correlation to God and the Church because "this is not the real world Church or God that we know." True, it's not. It's an even more powerful--in some ways--fantasy/metaphor, and by Pullman's own admission and language, there is definitely a correlation. Even "Entertainment Weekly" (Dec. 14 volume), an a-religious source, purports to understand why some Catholics are disturbed. (To dismiss any media as being without influence is like a media concern itself feigning to have no influence while spending millions of dollars in order to influence people.) I have to say that the more I ponder this whole GC phenomenon, the more I appreciate Pullman's intellectual honesty in explaining what he was doing when writing the "His Dark Materials" trilogy. He's not out to hide anything. He basically says he wanted to work out his own spiritual journey toward lack of belief in these books. (That's what makes GC good fodder for serious discussion!) "Temptation"? (Spoken with a true pastoral heart!) Perhaps, if someone's faith is already shaky, but again, these are not new ruminations. I don't believe that faith, ultimately, is a shaky thing. I believe it's like love: as strong as death. Most media doesn't ask the "atheism" question this boldly. It's really a great opportunity. If God is "important," so is atheism. It's strange that it's directed at children/adolescents (who aren't usually asking these questions in the adult way that GC presents them), but the cat is out of the bag now. I'm a child of the 70's, and we were taught to "question authority." For me, that includes the "authority" that the media is. Jesus dialogued with everyone that came to him. Everyone. Even those that were trying to trap him and kill him. Hope this is a clear as mud.
Merry Advent!
Sr. Helena

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