Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yes, I'm Back... For Novemeber 18, 2007

I am certain that without some prompting, it will seem strange to finally return to publishing these articles, but I am finally settled in here at Divine Child, and promise to post these items since I write them every week for our bulletin. Particularly important is the concern surrounding Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, so please enjoy.

The secular “Holiday Season” is really upon us in full swing: Thanksgiving comes early this year, the college football season is nearly over, and Christmas advertisements and sales are already overwhelming us. And although Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and presents a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect on God’s goodness and the bounty we have received, another important issue is before us. The feasts of the Presentation and St. Cecilia will have to wait!

Christmastime, apart from the shopping and such, has also recently been a time for new movie releases. In particular, I enjoyed waiting for the next Lord of the Rings movie release, or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and also The Nativity Story. Unfortunately, one of this year’s “holiday releases” has all the appearances of being an uplifting and positive spiritual story, but in reality it has the potential to undermine our Faith.

Ever since the Harry Potter controversy, however, I have been wary about blanket condemnations of books or movies. I enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series, but felt conversations (not just about magic, but about many different choices) between parents and children would help balance the books and develop their potential to promote authentic heroism, truth-seeking, and self-sacrifice.

Therefore, when I heard about Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, I wondered if the concern might be overworked and decided to read the book for myself. Unfortunately, however, the well-written story cleverly hides a dangerous agenda that seeks to cast doubt about the existence of God and the role of the Church in our life. Obviously, I have not seen the movie which will be released on December 7, but having read the first book (this also being a trilogy) widespread concern is well-founded.

The Golden Compass is the first of three books telling the tale of Lyra Belacqua, a young girl, and her adventures in a world very similar to our own; throughout the book, however, the Church is depicted as an agency of deceit, cunning, and arbitrary authoritarian power. The “Magisterium” and “Church” of the novel are evil and destructive, harming children for their own selfish ends and having little regard for the truth.

Most troubling, however, is the easy way in which Pullman uses these familiar concepts – and even Scripture quotations – while changing their meaning and using them to instill doubt and fear with regard to sin, grace, the Church, priests, and even free will. The philosophical presuppositions of the book rely on using these concepts to undermine God’s free gift of Grace through Jesus Christ and instead replace them with a “naturalistic” approach that will attempt to even prove that God does not exist.

I will continue my reflections on the movie and book in next week’s article, but rather than being afraid of these things, we must be willing to study and defend our Faith. Have a blessed and holy Thanksgiving Day, giving thanks to our Lord for all the many blessings in our lives.