Re: Catholicism and Lord of the Rings
Christina just posted an excellent article that delves
into this question, and Carl has also just hinted at the
many Catholic aspects of LOTR.
I don't think any objective reader of LOTR _and_ Tolkien's
letters could possibly doubt the Catholicity of the work. Yet,
as with so many other aspects of fallen human nature, there is
a natural inclination to deny the obvious if it doesn't conveniently
fit into our worldview.
I've seen this over and over again with Tolkien fans who are
anti-Christian (and who often profess to adhere to some flavour
of neo-paganism). They _will_ _not_ see what is before their very
eyes, rather like the dwarves in C.S.Lewis'"The Last Battle". Likewise with popularizers of Tolkien, who seek to avoid any mention
of the fact that he was Christian, much less that he was a
devout and very orthodox Catholic.
I understand that we all try to make over our heroes in our
own image, but to do so in Tolkien's case seems disingenuous at
best and deliberately mendacious at worst, especially when we find
ourselves not only denying clear facts, but also the unambiguous statements of Tolkien himself.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Vincent Ferré <ferretolk@...> wrote:
> yes, but do we have to believe writers's statements about their own work ?
> and who Tolkien was writing to, in this letter ?
> I think this statement has always been over-commentated, and that it does not solve the problem at all.
> From: jef.murray
> Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 2:17 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Catholicism and Lord of the Rings
> This from Tolkien's Letters, edited by Carpenter:
> "The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work," wrote Tolkien, "unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like "religion", to cults or practices, in the Imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism."
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Alana Joli Abbott <alanajoli@> wrote:
> > Hello all,
> > I had a conversation recently in which a Catholic friend said she felt that
> > the Lord of the Rings wasn't Catholic at all, and I said that I believed
> > Tolkien himself had thought it was a Catholic work. I can't remember off the
> > top of my head where that quote comes from (the letters?), but I'm sure
> > someone here knows without even having to look it up. :) I'd love to be able
> > to pass the citation along to her!
> > Many thanks, collective brain!
> > Best,
> > Alana (#2)
> > --
> > Alana Joli Abbott, Freelance Writer and Editor (
> > http://www.virgilandbeatrice.com)
> > Author of "Nomi's Wish" (
> > http://coyotewildmag.com/2008/august/abbott_nomis_wish.html), featured in
> > Coyote Wild Magazine
> > Contributor to Serenity Adventures: http://tinyurl.com/serenity-adventures
> > Contributor to Ransom: The Anthology: http://tinyurl.com/ransombook
> > --
> > For updates on my writings, join my mailing list at
> > http://groups.google.com/group/alanajoliabbottfans
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Luthien: Alas! My beloved has perished! I must go to the Halls of Mandos to beg --
Beren: I'm not dead yet.
Luthien: Shh! To beg Mandos to bring him back --
Beren: I don't want to go on the cart.
Luthien: Shut up! I'm having a dramatic moment here.
Beren: I feel happy...
Luthien: (Nods to nearest elf with big club)
Big Club: Thud.
Luthien: Okay, I'm off to the Halls of Mandos. See ya. (Falls down)
>From: John Davis <john@...>________________________________________
>Sent: Jun 15, 2009 3:48 AM
>Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Catholicism and Lord of the Rings
>Perhaps he was just mostly dead.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: scribbler@...
> To: email@example.com
> Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 4:40 PM
> Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Catholicism and Lord of the Rings
> > I've always wondered -- was Beren really dead? Or was he merely so close
> > to death that no one around could tell the difference? Was he really
> > resurrected, or simply revived?
> > If the Gift of Men is beyond even the Valar's understanding, it doesn't
> > make sense that Mandos would have the power to give Beren back his life,
> > no matter how persuasively Luthien sang.
> > emerdavid
> Well, it would seem incongruous that Mandos himself would not be able to
> distinguish between a "nearly dead" mortal soul and a "dead" one. Mandos
> is made anxious about the situation because Beren WILL NOT GO ON the way
> he is supposed to.
> It seems to me, that Beren's soul held onto the world to an unexpected
> degree, instead of passing out of the world. If he had passed out of the
> world, then I agree, Luthien's singing would have been tragic in that it
> would be to no point -- Beren would not be *there* to be returned. But
> that's not what Tolkien sets as the situation. He has Beren "hanging
> around" unexpectedly.
> I say - Beren was dead, but not "departed". A unique situation that the
> Valar could actually address.
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