Roman Catholic(ism)² Part 3

14 Oct

“The Golden Compass” has been touted as being a blatantly anti-Catholic children’s film. After watching it I don’t necessarily think that it intended to be obviously anti-Catholic… but definitely subtly. I mean, there were just so many parallels: the “bad guys” in this movie were all part of an institution called the “Magesterium” which appeared to be composed entirely of men that wore uniform-like coats and medallions around their necks. This Magesterium was said to have power over everyone  and was also described as fearing any truth but their own. It was also stated that members of the Magesterium kept things rolling according to their own devices by rejecting the ideas of free thinkers. Later on in the movie an “armored ice bear” discovered that the Magesterium had stolen his armor and went directly to the local Magesterium district office to take it back. While he was in the office doing his thing we got to take a peek at what this office looked like and, low and behold, it looked like an ancient Eastern Rite Catholic Church with images of men, halos about their heads, on the exterior walls…what we Catholics like to call saints.

Enter my feelings…

I was mentally prepared for this movie going into it. I mean, I chose to watch it because several websites stated that it was a movie that promoted prejudice against the Church; I was definitely walking into the fire with my shield up. Reading into the subtle ideas being promoted in this movie I am made aware, once again, of the way many people view the Catholic Church. On countless occasions I have heard people lash out against what they believe to be an archaic institution run by a grumpy group of old men that are unbending in their social teachings around the Church; from the outside it may appear so. The thing is that in jumping to these conclusions about the Church all of these people are not only perpetuating prejudice, they are also missing the heart of the matter: that is that the heart of the Church is love. When I and many other practicing Catholics speak about the Catholic Church we aren’t referring to the Pope, priests, the lack of homosexual marriage, and sex abuse scandals. What we refer to is the “mystical bride of Christ”, the tradition of love and loving that has been manifesting Jesus Christ to the world for over 2000 years. Yes, the Church is made up of people; millions of them in fact. Yes these people sin, fail, in some instances permanently scar those around them, but to judge the entire Catholic Church in all of its mystic beauty and tradition because of its sinners is just as bad as someone I know saying that all First Nations people are drunkards because he saw a group of them getting loaded downtown. To jump to conclusions in this way is unjust and immature. Shame on “The Golden Compass” for trying to subconsciously lead children down this path.


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