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And soon the darkness

The Golden Compass, the film adaptation of Philip Pullman's fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, has been hitting the headlines, with the Church of Scotland declaring itself against the boycott urged by some religious groupings who believe it contains anti-Catholic messages.

Released on December 5, the film stars Nicole Kidman (pictured above with Dakota Blue Richards) and Daniel Craig. It has attracted opposition for its thinly-veiled critique of the Roman Catholic church, represented by the evil, child-kidnapping Magisterium.

The US-based Catholic League has urged parents to ban their children from seeing it.

However, the Kirk's Mission and Discipleship Council has taken the opposite view, and said it believes that the film provides a golden opportunity to stimulate discussion on a wide range of moral and spiritual issues.

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: "As a trilogy, the books present the struggle between good and evil as an adventure story featuring a streetwise girl as heroine. Lyra Silvertongue is a subversive figure, one of the powerless who turns out to be a saint, and so the film is an invitation to dialogue on human purpose and destiny, the abuse of power, the making of choices and the meaning of life."

The Scottish Catholic Church declined to comment.

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