Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tolkien and Gnosticism

Fr. Angelo Mary of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate explains why, contrary to what some claim, the author J.R.R. Tolkien was thoroughly Catholic, and not gnostic. To quote:
As a good Catholic, Tolkien believed in the power of divine providence, present throughout history, stemming from the “unexpected” turn of the Resurrection.  And so while many times history seems to be a long defeat we know the story that really matters and is woven into the fabric of our existence “begins and ends with joy,” that is, with Christmas and Easter.  Myth has truly entered history and has transformed it.  It is beyond our wildest imagination and hope, and yet it has “the inner consistency of reality.”  Tolkien writes:
There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath.
So even when we feel trapped, or are convinced quite justly that the world around is a “dangerous place” we have reason to know that loyalty is more determinative, and that there is a “glimpse of victory” couched even in the “fool’s hope.”  Joy will have the last word.  That is our hope against hope (Rom 4:18), and the lesson of Tolkien’s work. (Read more.)

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