What Part of Catholic Do You Not Understand?

Someone needs to ask the US bishops conference (USCCB) movie reviewer, Harry Forbes what part of the concept "Catholic" he does not understand. Mr. Forbes gave a glowing review to the film, The Golden Compass, and put all American Catholic bishops on record as supporting the work of an atheist! Subsequently, New Line Cinema attempted to do a full-scale promotion of the movie using diocesan newspapers claiming that the bishops' movie office had declared the film to be "entirely in harmony with Catholic teaching." Just to set the record straight: this movie has been condemned or criticized by at least one Cardinal, several Archbishops and Bishops in the US and the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. In fact, the latter called it "the most anti-Christmas film possible," referring of course to its deliberate release during the Advent season. Wisely, the USCCB removed Mr. Forbes' positive review of the movie from their website as soon as the controversy started.

Mr. Forbes is entitled to his own opinion on any matter, but he is not entitled to give his own opinions in the name of our bishops. The bishops deserve better — Mr. Forbes deserves to be fired.

This matter goes deeper than just one incident. We can rightly tolerate honest mistakes and errors of judgment when they happen. We are all human, and we would all like that same tolerance directed toward us for our mistakes. What is less tolerable and cause for appropriate action is a pattern of malfeasance. Mr. Forbes has a track record of shaming our bishops with his upbeat reviews of films that do not remotely reflect the values of any Christian let alone the bishops.

In 2005, Harry Forbes gave such a positive review to the homosexual promotional film, Brokeback Mountain, that the bishops had to withdraw the shameless review and replace it with another. Still stinging from the priest scandals of 2002 and beyond, the review was not only morally wrong, it was imprudent, ill-timed and embarrassing. In his original review of the two homosexual lovers and their infantile problems, Forbes soft pedals the gross man-on-man sex scenes and ends by saying that the bishops' rating of the film indicates that "some adults" may have problems with the moral content of the movie. That's like saying that "some wives" may object to their husbands having affairs with other women.

Forbes' track record does not stop there. It has recently come to light that in 2005 he issued another glowing review for a salacious homosexual movie called Rent based on a Broadway production of the same name. LifeSiteNews has recently documented the offensive commentary which was posted on the Catholic News Service website; suffice it to say that the bishops should not have to be on record as supporting that one either.

 What we are expecting is standard practice in the business world: namely, that those who present their company's (or church's) views to the public represent the views of their employers faithfully. If they make a mistake they can be forgiven and the damage repaired; but if they misrepresent their bosses consistently and on fundamental matters, they should be fired to defend the very integrity of those who they speak for in public. Simple as that!

Join me in defending our bishops from further travesty; please respectfully petition the USCCB to give this Forbes guy a nice shove out the door.

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

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  • Guest

    I totally agree with your editorial. I'm very surprised and shocked at the rating this movie received. It needs to be reversed.


    They now have my two cents in their inbox. Thanks for the article.  


    God Bless,


  • Guest

    Thank you for this. Personnaly I dont understand why Mr. Forbes would bite that hand that feeds him. But then again does the USCCB like the pain ?

  • Guest

    You can contact Harry Forbes at hforbes@usccb.orgIf you contact Cardinal Francis George's office at the other email address today, (Dec. 24) you will get automatic message that staff are not in.

  • Guest

    Dear Father, As always you are right on the mark just as Fr. Marx was before you.  FYI Saint Anthony Messenger also reviewed this attack on our faith favorably and gave out WALMART! gift cards for Christmas.  When I asked how these things could be justified as faithful to the church I got alot of excuses but no real reasons …how I wish I could come back to work for HLI! Semper Fidelis, In His Service,  Shawn Nolte

  • Guest

    Thanks Father for writing about this.  My family was so upset that the USCCB allowed Mr. Forbes to write and post another embarrassing piece that seemed to have the automatic endorsement of our Bishops. Fortunately the review was FINALLY pulled after what seemed too long. Unfortunately, our family cannot rely on the USCCB movie reviews as a source for guidance. Decentfilms.com (and a few protestant sources) will do just fine until our Bishops can regain our confidence in this area. Are we left to believe that U.S Bishops want a movie reviewer who has no Catholic moral beliefs?  Are there not enough Catholic film critics to do the reviews for USCCB? Do they not screen his reviews? Or should we worry that maybe they do?God bless.

  • Guest

    It is strange that our Bishops would allow such a review that they "endorse" via their appointed reviewer.  But what is equally distressing is that Nicole Kidman that starred in the movie is a Catholic.


    basically our Bishops need to find a "Hard line" reviewer of movies and then have someone in charge of the reviewer. 


    And as Catholics we should send a 'message' to actors and actresses, that are Catholic and non-Catholic that we won't support anti-Catholic movies.  One Billion Catholics will be listened to!



  • Guest

    Well, this is one in a series of huge doctrinal screw-ups that have come from the USCCB. Remember the questionare during the last presidential election, that favored John Kerry.  And we'll never forget :Always Our Children, an overtly pro-homosexual document.


    But this is the pattern.  Documents and information against traditional Catholic values are frequently released from this organization.  The bad information does damage, and then it's removed.  There evidently is no one accountable there , and worse, it is designed to be  destructive to Catholic teachings.  It is worrysome that a determined group of people in that organization are attempting to drive a wedge between the Majesterial teachings of the church in order  to move the Her toward a pro-contraceptive, pro homosexual, pro culture-of-death organization.  Christ will win but how much more damage can the Church in America can withstand?

  • Guest

    "Mr. Forbes is entitled to his own opinion on any matter, but he is not entitled to give his own opinions in the name of our bishops. The bishops deserve better — Mr. Forbes deserves to be fired."

    Fr. Euteneuer, it appears that the bishops have agreed that Forbes's opinion is their opinion for the most part. It also appears that nobody is getting what they deserve. Certainly, the faithful are not getting what we deserve. Then again considering the sorry state of affairs maybe there's no other, more deserving outcome possible at this time.

  • Guest

    mraiello- Sadly, there does seem to be a pattern.  We need to pray for our Bishops.

  • Guest

    No wonder the protestants are taking a commanding lead in taking people out of the faith.  Just look at this from the outside-in.


    We can't get our act together.


    How is a Father and Mother suppose to raise their children in the obedience of the Church when the church fails to realize their transgressions with acts such as this?



  • Guest

    Sometimes I wonder if the Vatican needs to take a closer look at some of the bishops here in the US.  Our US Bishops need to speak with one voice, a voice that echoes and resonates the Magisterium and the Vatican.  They do that in many cases but fail miserably when it comes to movie reviews.

    And jcstab you are correct in that it is hard to teach our children if our appointed leadership is in what appears to be in state of confusion over issues that affect us today.  But as parents we must remain faithful and firm and teach our children our faith with the wealth of great information that is out there today.  I really don't "advertise" what the USCCB releases about movies to my family anyway.  After some of the faux pas they have done recently I try to do that myself.



  • Guest

    I just went to the St. Anthony messenger review —


    Dont these people do any research befor they look at these films.

    I quote "The mysterious dust is self-awareness or consciousness" this IS NOT what the  mysterious dust is. In the books it is the God figure that is to be distroyed. I am sorry, but when peole like Mr. Forbs and Sister Rose Pacatte, F.S.P. mislead their readers with their mis infromation, where are we to go for the truth ?

    BTW even this is not true "The Golden Compass is a faithful cinematic interpretation of the first of Philip Pullman’s trilogy" — from other interviews it has been boted that the movie was "sanitized" a bit. I think this woman's wimple is on too tight.


  • Guest

    jcstab..:  you said, "

    "How is a Father and Mother suppose to raise their children in the obedience of the Church when the church fails to realize their transgressions with acts such as this?"

    Remember, Jesus chose Judas and Peter!  Explain to your children that Christianity is not to be judged by those who don't practice the faith.  Therefore, Follow Peter and follow his successors! 


    Do not despair!  Be faithful yourself and seek out priests and Catholic Organizations that are faithful to the magisterium.  Pray for Wisdom and prudence and most of all that your Faith, Hope, and Love may be strengthened.

    Merry Christmas!  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God! 



  • Guest

    Hi Bdavis,


    I have lived in 5 dioceses in the last 20 years and attend weekly Sunday mass.  In that time I have not heard 1 homily on abortion,birth control, pornography, premarital sex or homosexuality.


    The USCCB is like a casket.  Beautiful on the outside and corrupt on the inside.  It is an opportunity for window dressing.  A chance for the bishops to give the appearance they are faithfully upholding the teachings of the church when they are doing nothing of the sort in their own dioceses.  It is also foolish and illtimed to advocate for Catholic teachings on a national level, and do nothing to educate the laity on these issues on a local level.


    Our country is falling.  Almighty God has blessed us with incredible gifts.  Only the USA was untouched through 2 world Wars. 


    But there is a determined group of politicians,teachers,atheists, gay and lesbian advocates and media representatives to move the country from a God centered to a wacko centered nation.  It seems they are slowly winning.


    I am afraid God will "Spank" our nation for abandoning Him.


    We looked to our bishops and religious leaders for assistance but sadly, they have either been silent or worse, sided with the culture -of-death.


    Christ will win in the end but I wonder if there will be a USA as we know it to see this.


    God bless.




  • Guest

    Forbes needs to be fired because of his blatant disregard for Catholic teaching. Why is the USCCB advocating his point of view?

    I also believe this means we can disregard the USCCB's insight on illegal foreign migration to this country which downplays the effects had by MS-13 criminal gangs, and the 60,000 Americans killed by foreign nationals the past 5 years.

    Where is Bill Donohue on this?


  • Guest

    The St. Anthony Messenger thing doesn't surprise me a bit. They've been way off base on the Catholic Faith for YEARS. St. Anthony Messenger Press frequently publishes dissenting materials.

  • Guest

    Dear Lord bless and forgive ALL of us when we fall short. Amen.

  • Guest

    Oy . . . I just read the St. Anthony Messenger review.  What surprises and saddens me is that the sister who wrote it is a Daughter of St. Paul, a community I happen to be discerning.

    Granted, the review doesn't paint the reviewer as dissenting, just misguided.  She basically claimed that any anti-Catholicism found in The Golden Compass (and the entirety of His Dark Materials?) is all in our heads.  Instead, she thinks of it positively as the battle between free will and an oppressive organization.

    Um, hello?  That's exactly what athiests think of the Church.