J.R.R. Tolkien: 3 Shocking Quotes!


April 14, 2013 by mattfradd

Tolkien the Catholic

Tolkien the Catholic

Many of you are aware that J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, was a faithful Catholic.

I’ve often seen quotes attributed to him on Facebook, without knowing if they were genuine—turns out, to my shock, they were!

Here are three quotes from Tolkien on the Pope and the Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and The Eucharist.

The Pope and the One True Church

“I myself am convinced by the Petrine claims, nor looking around the world does there seem much doubt which (if Christianity is true) is the True Church, the temple of the Spirit dying but living, corrupt but holy, self-reforming and rearising.

But for me that Church of which the Pope is the acknowledged head on earth has as chief claim that it is the one that has (and still does) ever defended the Blessed Sacrament, and given it most honour, and put (as Christ plainly intended) in the prime place.

“Feed my sheep” was His last charge to St. Peter; and since His words are always first to be understood literally, I suppose them to refer primarily to the Bread of Life. It was against this that the W. European revolt (or Reformation) was really launched—“the blasphemous fable of the Mass”—and faith/works a mere red herring.”

Can be found in, Tolkien: man and myth – Page 193.

The Virgin Mary

“I think I know exactly what you mean by the order of Grace; and of course by your references to Our Lady, upon which all my own small perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded.”

Can be found in, The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings – Page 76.

The Eucharist

“Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament . . . There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death.

By the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste -or foretaste- of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man’s heart desires.

The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion. Though always Itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise.

Frequency is of the highest effect.

Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals.
Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children – from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn – open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them).

It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people.

It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand – after which our Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.”

Can be found in, The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings – Page 219.

8 thoughts on “J.R.R. Tolkien: 3 Shocking Quotes!

  1. dmdsk says:

    Well Any body can say anything As for me, pope or preists , all are humanbeings. Nothing should decrease our faith in Jesus.

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

  2. Gabriel B.G. says:

    Thank you Matt , the last part was and is always the one reason I go to Mass , to hear ,see that their is Beauty in the people that may or not annoy you , I also pray for them . Again Thank you for sharing this . I pray that my familia y amigos will also like and share on FB. God Bless , your brother in Cristo .

  3. Gerald McGrane says:

    Great quotes, Matt. Thank you for sharing. I know Tolkien was a devout Catholic, but this is th first I have seen any direct comments about his faith.

  4. Tolkien was influential in convincibg C.S.Lewis of the truth of Christianty.

  5. Rachel says:

    So eye opening and insightful, especially the “feed my sheep” part, because I always took that part of the Bible to mean that Jesus was telling Peter (the Rock, our first Pope) to simply look after us, which of course he did mean that as well, but Tolkien here is saying he took it to mean that Jesus was “literally” telling Peter to feed to us the Bread of Life, and that is exactly what the Pope and all priests do at each and every mass they say when they give us Holy Communion. Fabulous.

    I love Toklien. He was such a cool old dude who took no nonesense. He also taught Sister Wendy Becket at Caimbridge Universtity.

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