I am not going to deny that the author of "The Golden Compass" is an atheist nor will I deny that he has been quoted in the past as being anti-Catholic. I will not say that I believe in what he says considering I believe that all persons should practice the spirituality that is right for them, should it be Catholicism, Judaism, Muslim, or Pagan....or no belief at all, as long as it does not hurt others in the process.
Having watched the movie "The Golden Compass" but not reading the book yet, I cannot say how watered down Phillip Pullman's intent was. The movie seems to have rather vague references to the Catholic Church except for the bad guys looking like bishops and the bad guys being called the Magisterium. You see, I am not a Catholic and did not know that the Magisterium was the teaching authority of the Catholic Church until today when I read it in an article. I suppose the fear of the Church is that no matter how sanitized the message is in the movies, it will bring people to read the books, which has the harder anti-Catholic message.
But what does a boycott do? In my opinion, if a person finds that they want to convert to a new religion because of what they read in a fantasy novel, then that person was not strong in their faith to begin with. Is this a true case of being concerned for the attack on the church, or is it guilt on the part of the Catholic Church for some of the scandals and harm that they have in fact had a part in. Could it be that some people have left the Catholic Church for far bigger reasons than a fantasy novel? Has "The Golden Compass" become another scapegoat for the Church? Wouldn't it be easier to blame a book or an author for your troubles than the very foundation of the trouble itself?
To me, this isn't any different than the ruckus that the Harry Potter books and movies brought about. How many bulletins and boycotts were called for those when people believed that the Pagans put Harry Potter out to lure kid's into witchcraft (which, for the record as a Pagan, we don't do that).
If one blindly follows a book, it is no better than one blindly following a person or a religion.
Church bulletin warns of 'evil' film