An Ontario Catholic school board that did little after being warned of books promoting homosexuality in its school libraries, has now approved the anti-Catholic His Dark Materials trilogy — of which The Golden Compass is the first novel. While several Catholic school boards in Ontario and other provinces have pulled the controversial books, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board has told the press the books will remain in its school libraries.
Jonathan Wright, the religion and family life consultant for the board, told the local newspaper, The Record, that there will not even be a formal review of the books. He told the paper that he and a few others read the first book "just out of interest" adding, "I suppose that constitutes an informal review, but there will be no formal process at all."
The Waterloo Catholic District School Board was approached early this year by the group Defend Traditional Marriage and Family (DTMF) which was concerned about a teacher resource book promoting homosexuality as well as some thirty similarly objectionable books, videos and pamphlets available to Catholic students in school libraries and guidance offices.
The Board decided to retain the teacher resource book at its main offices but not in all schools but has of yet not dealt with the objectionable materials in the libraries. During the kerfuffle, a board spokesman even referred to DTMF as "an extremist hate group".
Last week LifeSiteNews.com reported that gay "pride" clubs have begun in at least two Catholic schools in the board. One student who founded one of the clubs calls herself an "out lesbian" and reports that a pro-homosexuality novel, one of those objected to by the marriage group, was her inspiration for starting the club. (see coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/nov/07112909.html )
Even though the author of the books has admitted that he's on a crusade to inoculate children against Christianity with his trilogy, the Catholic school board interprets it as benign. "I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief," author Philip Pullman has said, and "my books are about killing God"
"The book is very definitely anti-authoritarian but in terms of how it's presented, it's a fantasy world with a fictionalized church that in no way resembles the one in which we live, even though (Pullman) borrows a couple of terms," Wright told The Record.
Pete Vere, who has a written book on the author of The Golden Compass, disagrees with that analysis. Speaking with LifeSiteNews.com, Vere said "The context of this trilogy is about overthrowing, not just any authority, but the Authority." Vere added: "Pullman identifies the Authority in his third book by using most of God's names from the Old Testament."
The third volume, called the Amber Spy Glass, says: "The authority, God, the Creator, the Lord, Yahweh, Lel, Adonai, the King, the Father, the Almighty – those were all names he gave himself."
La Crosse Catholic Bishop Jerome Listecki agrees. This week the bishop issued a letter to his priests instructing them to warn the faithful against the books. Speaking of Pullman works, he said "Instead of using fantasy to lead people to truth and to God, this trilogy tries to lead them away from God."
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." (see coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/dec/07120403.html )
Catholic lawyer and REAL Women Canada Vice President Gwen Landolt is fed up with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. Landolt told LifeSiteNews.com that the board "no longer represents Catholics or the Catholic Church and is operating as a secular humanist school board." Noting that the board has yet to be publicly corrected by Catholic leadership, she added, "It's painful that the Catholic Church itself has not addressed the problem of this wayward board."
Wright said the Catholic board has, at least since 2000, received no complaints about the books.
In the United States, the homosexual issue is also part of the controversy of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' movie reviewer praising The Golden Compass. The same reviewer had glowingly praised the homosexual propaganda movie Brokeback Mountain causing some to now call for his resignation following the Golden Compass review.
To politely express concerns:
Roger Lawler Director of Education for the Catholic school board
His Excellence Bishop Anthony Tonnos
700 King St. W.
Hamilton, ON L8P 1C7
Phone: (905) 528-7988
Fax: (905) 528-1088
Auxiliary Bishop Gerard Bergie
Phone: (905) 528-7988
Fax: (905) 528-1088