Call for US Bishops to Fire Chief Movie Reviewer Renewed as Compass Review Pulled

In light of the fact that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Office for Film and Broadcasting withdrew its positive review for The Golden Compass, Catholic leaders are reissuing a call for the Bishops to fire their film office director.  Harry Forbes, the director of the USCCB, was listed as primary author for the much contested Compass review but was also the author of a December 2005 glowing review for the homosexual propaganda film Brokeback Mountain.

Human Life International (HLI) Leader Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer commented to on the latest developments.  "I'm very happy of course that the review has been taken down from the bishops' website, so there's no more damage that can be done by that particular review," he said. 

Noting that Forbes also authored the positive review of Brokeback Mountain, Euteneuer said, "However the bishops need to correct the anomaly of having someone on staff who speaks in their name making these kinds of reviews of movies."

The HLI Leader added: "It's a scandal and I renew the call that this man should resign or be fired." 

Similarly, Pete Vere, co-author of an about-to-be-released book on Golden Compass author Philip Pullman, was pleased that the USCCB review was withdrawn, but called for a clarification from the US bishops since the review was put out in their name.

"There has to be something put in place that this doesn't happen again," said Vere.  "With Harry Forbes, it happened with Brokeback Mountain, and now its happened with Golden Compass."

Vere, author of Pied Piper of Atheism, (available here: ), added that "The purpose of a Catholic film review is to inform Catholics and especially parents who have an obligation to oversee the moral upbringing of their children, not to promote movies that are based on source material that is openly undermining our Christian faith."  He concluded, "If a Catholic movie review office is not going to provide Catholic commentary and if its not going to assist parents and Catholics in discerning and filtering the popular culture, it really has no reason to exist."

To express concerns contact:

USCCB President
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archdiocese of Chicago
155 E. Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60611
312-751- 8200

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Guest

    I'm glad to hear that the review was withdrawn, and I hope they proceed to do the right thing by firing the reviewer.

  • Guest


    I agree 100% John – this is absolutely scandalous. The usually silent bishops will probably remain silent. There are too few who ever open their mouths on subjects that brings heat.


    I thank God all the time that these men were not around in the 1st couple of hundred yeard AD. We'd all be pagens right now.





  • Guest

    Hmmm, that's a rather curious statement Andy. It sounds LIKE pagan belief. Most Catholics should realize the driving forces behind the foundations of our faith were propagated by the Spirit, not simply by the will of men. The USCCB reviewer will go away by that same momentum. 

  • Guest

    He outta here!

  • Guest

    God loves you .

    There are other better film critics – Greydanus and Nicolosi come to mind. The bishops can pay them to give God-fearing reviews.

    Remember, I love you, too .

    In our delighted glory in our Infant King,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell or …

  • Guest

    Before Christmas, Ho Ho Ho! Harry Forbes has got to go!

    And take your sidekick with you.

  • Guest

    I stopped using the USCCB a long time ago. I am sad to say that I cannot trust their reviews. I use and am very pleased.

  • Guest has a great movie review podcast with a Catholic perspective, as well as some great articles about the Golden Compass, and I have never found their views to be contrary to Church teachings.

  • Guest

    Unfortunately, I'm sure the main reason the USCCB pulled that review was because it caved to pressure from angry conservatives who made up their minds about the movie before it even came out. Almost every secular reviewer who saw this film said they could find hardly any pro-atheist bent to this movie, including an anti-religious reviewer from my town who wrote that he *wished the movie had had the guts to criticize religion! (I read most of the reviews through I admit I have not seen the movie myself (as I'm sure most of the previous posters have, which is how they know Forbes' review of the Golden Compass FILM, not book, is so inaccurate), but when so many reviewers agree with his assessment, it would seem that assessment is justified.

  • Guest

    For a story addressing the controversy, in which Forbes gives his side of the story, go to The story notes, "For The Golden Compass, Forbes and his colleague spent two days writing the review, seeking input from a number of sources, including priests and nuns."

    When the angry Christians spouting their knee-jerk reactions to the film have put that much effort into forming an opinion on the movie, *then they'll be able to validly debate Forbes' well-thought-out review.