Friday, December 07, 2007

Three Cheers For Bishop Burbidge!!
Two excellent pieces of news from The Head-Shed... oops, I mean the Chancery
Helmet tip to Mr&MrsNYPD

There's an old saying we have in the Marine Corps; everything that goes right... and wrong... in a command is the direct responsibility of the Commanding Officer. Even though this letter has the signature of the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Raleigh, I have a funny feeling that His Excellency is the mover and shaker here.

From the website of the Diocese of Raleigh.

Diocese of Raleigh Office of Catholic Formation and Education
715 Nazareth Street · Raleigh, NC 27606-2187 · (919) 821-9749 · Fax: (919) 821-8140

Dear Pastors/Pastoral Administrators:

On December 7, New Line Cinema will release a heavily promoted film titled "The Golden Compass," which is based on the first of three books in a series written by avowed atheist Phillip Pullman.

The movie features well known actors Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Sam Elliott, providing it with "star power." Reviews of the film note its artistic quality and enticing appeal to a younger audience. Therein rests the concern among Catholics and other Christian groups.

Pullman’s trilogy is titled "His Dark Materials." The book upon which "The Golden Compass" is based is titled "The Northern Lights." In interviews, Pullman has expressed that one of the purposes of the books was to "kill God." His writings portray God as a fraud, while they promote atheism. His writings are considered anti-Catholic, challenging many of our basic beliefs and teachings.

New Line Cinema says changes have been made in adapting the book to film. It says anti-Catholic/anti-Christian elements have been removed however, the word "Magesterium" (the teaching authority of the Church) remains in the film. In the books, the Church, through it cardinals, bishops and priests, is portrayed as the villain.

This week Ignatius Press is releasing a book titled The Pied Piper of Atheism: Phillip Pullman and Children’s Fantasy. It is co-authored by Peter Vere and Sandra Miesel, who warn that the Pullman books should be of major concern to parents.

"It's very clear that what is being portrayed in the books and the film is a caricature of the Catholic Church, which is pictured as evil" Vere said in a recent interview. "Children are kidnapped and tortured. They're severed from their souls in occult experiments. Some of this is done in more detail than what I would consider appropriate for children nine to twelve years old, who will want to see the film."

Vere notes Pullman has patterned The Golden Compass after C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, even to the detail of having the young girl in the film finding herself in the closet of an old professor, similar to the beginning of the Narnia film. Vere points out that in Pullman’s book the 12 year old girl "sets off on quest to overthrow God, the Kingdom of Heaven and the Church."

With the promotional appeal of the film parents will be well-advised to avoid The Golden Compass, and the books upon which the film is based. New Line Cinema has indicated if the movie is successful at the box office, it will consider adapting the two remaining books to film. The concern is that once a child gets ‘hooked’ on the film or the books, then the next film could resort to the true atheistic nature of the books.

I ask that you inform the faithful, especially parents, about the dangers of this film and the series of books. Raising children in a faith filled environment is a major challenge in today’s society.

Additional information and stories on the film and the books will be available on the diocesan website at

Dr. Michael J. Fedewa
Superintendent of Catholic Formation and Education
Diocese of Raleigh
Now if we can get ALL of Pullman's publications pulled off the shelves of all the Catholic schools in this diocese. By the way, additional information on this subject from the Diocesan website.

And then there's this bit of exciting news;
Forma extraordinaria scheduled at four Diocesan parishes

Three churches in the Diocese of Raleigh have scheduled regular celebrations of the Forma extraordinaria in addition to the weekly celebration that has been taking place at Sacred Heart Church in Dunn.

At Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh the Forma extraordinaria of the Mass will be celebrated on the first Sunday of each month at 4:30 p.m., beginning on January 6, 2008 on the Solemnity of the Epiphany. Father Paul Parkerson, pastor of Sacred Heart in Dunn, will be the celebrant for this Mass in the presence of the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge.

St. Therese Church in Wrightsville Beach will celebrate the Forma extraordinaria on the last Sunday of each month at 3:30 p.m. beginning on December 30.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rocky Mount will celebrate the Forma extraordinaria on the second Sunday of each month at 4:00 p.m. beginning December 9.

The Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Dunn, which had been celebrated each week at 4:00 p.m., is now celebrated at 12:00 p.m.

In his letter announcing the implementation of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum on September 7, 2007, Bishop Burbidge said it was his intention “to make the Forma extraordinaria more available to the faithful.”

He noted resources would be made available “to those priests who are able and choose to study how to properly celebrate the Forma extraordinaria of the Mass so that he and the people of God will be best served.”

As priests receive the necessary formation to celebrate the Mass, it will be made available at more parishes in the Diocese, where possible.
The seeds have been planted. Things will only get better from here.

In all sincerity... thank you, Your Excellency.


Blogger Father Ken Parker said...

We could not ask for a more faithful and excellent Bishop. I didn't know they made bishops so good! We are truly blessed! May Bishop Burbidge be with us for many years to come.

Father Ken Parker,
Diocese of Raleigh

9:18 PM  
Blogger Guy said...

Go to the library and read the books (so that you don't actually pay for them). Other than the use of the word magisterium it's not much of an attack on the Catholic faith. The evil church is in a parallel universe. In our universe the book presents the academics as the bad guys. At the end of it all, I'd say that the book is Budhist in tone. Good to see you are obedient to your bishop. Probably best to avoid the movie as it certainly adds nothing to the faith.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Fr Parker,
That's the problem... he's so good that he may be gone before we know it. I forsee him leaving in a few short years to square away a more... shall we say... "troubled" diocese elsewhere.

I could easily see him taking over a certain Archdiocese just north of where I grew up (San Diego), but I wouldn't wish that one anyone!!

But then again, Bp Burbidge is a warrior. He'll go to the sound of the guns.

Other than the use of the word magisterium it's not much of an attack on the Catholic faith
I gotta disagree with you. An attack on God is an attack on God's Church.

But thanks for sending a thought provoking comment.

5:59 AM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Ahhh, a bishop who is a leader, not a manager!

Great news about the new TLM/EF parishes -- now if they'd just offer it on Sunday morning when most Catholics traditionally go to church.

9:25 PM  

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