The 'Golden Compass' is no treasure for children
By Mary Regina Morrell
"It is not possible for a Christian to live in modern, secular culture and not be affected by it. The predominant mentality has ways of inserting itself into our ways of seeing things." Father Richard Veras, Jesus in Israel
Many years ago, while teaching pre-school in a local Catholic school, I asked my small charges to draw me a picture of God. I gave them no introduction to God, no adult explanation of who God was or hints about how to draw their pictures. Some were from worshipping families, but others were not.
As they set about creating their masterpieces, they worked in almost complete silence, totally engaged in the process. One budding artist with a profound love of purple had filled up his page with rainbow trees and purple animals, candy cane clouds and butterflies too numerous to count - purple, of course. Sunbursts and flowers and smiling children danced on the page.
"Where is God?" I asked.
"Here," he said, picking up his whole picture and holding it close enough to my nose to smell the crayon. For him God was all things beautiful, all things good, all things that made him happy.
His little friend sitting next to him, all of four years old, had created something different. She had drawn herself in the center of the page with a pink heart on her chest. Inside the heart were a pair of lips.
"How beautiful!" I exclaimed. "Does your heart talk?"
"No," she laughed, "That is God. He talks to my heart."
The hair on my arms stood up and I filled with tears at the privileged glimpse I was given into a child's intimate relationship with the transcendent.
These children are not the exception, but the rule. Anyone who has read the works of Maria Montessori or Sofia Cavalletti would be well acquainted with the idea that children are graced with a metaphysical intuition and that their relationship with God is a mystery that must be respected.
Yet, in this day and age, in this culture, the religious dimension of the child not only garners little respect, it is obviously under siege.
Take for example, The Golden Compass, the newest fantasy epic due out in theaters in early December. The movie is based on the first book of a trilogy, His Dark Materials, written by Philip Pullman, a British author and avowed atheist. To date his trilogy has outsold the Harry Potter series and has won both the prestigious Carnegie Medal for childrens' literature and the Guardian Award.
Pullman's own words from his Carnegie Medal acceptance speech explain his desire to use stories to teach: "All stories teach, whether the storyteller intends them to or not. They teach the world we create. They teach the morality we live by. They teach it much more effectively than moral precepts and instructions."
So just what is the intended lesson of The Golden Compass and His Dark Materials trilogy?
Pullman, himself, says it in a 2003 interview with the Sydney Morning Herald: "I'm a great fan of J.K. Rowling, but the people - mainly from America's Bible Belt - who complain that Harry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven't got enough in their lives. Meanwhile, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God."
Killing God? Obviously this storyteller has a very intentional lesson, one which evidences a profound disrespect for the interior life of children; a storyteller who, again in his acceptance speech, highlights what he really thinks of the young people who will read his books and bring him untold profits in the box office: "Now I don't mean children are supernaturally wise little angels gifted with the power of seeing the truth that the dull eyes of adults miss. They're not. They're ignorant little savages, most of them."
Another story told. Wise parents won't miss the lesson, but hopefully, they will skip the movie.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus told stories as well, but always with the intention of leading us into a loving relationship with God, being especially attentive to the children.
For those who do otherwise, his lesson was clear: "It will be better for you to have a millstone tied around your neck and to be thrown into the depths of the sea than to lead any of these little ones astray." (Luke 17:1-2)
Diocese of Metuchen
http://www.diometuchen.org NJ, US
Mary Regina Morrell - Associate Director, Office of Religious Education, 732 562.1990
Golden Compass, children, treasure, God, stories,
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, December 13, 2017
- Is Facebook ripping apart human civilization? HD Video
- Daily Reading for Thursday, December 14th, 2017 HD Video
- Pope Francis wants to change the Lord's Prayer, but what do the new ...
- How does the Vatican fight money laundering?
- Here's when you'll see the first self-driving trucks on the road
- St. Lucy: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, December 13, 2017
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 HD
- Attempted terror attack fails in Manhattan as pipe bomb explodes early HD
- Here's how Pope Francis wants to change the Lords Prayer HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way