Several people have written to me about a lecture on the web by a Catholic, a priest I believe, who attacks Tolkien’s work and attacks me (apparently) for claiming that Tolkien’s work is Catholic. I do not have the time or the inclination to listen to the lecture. I will, however, insist that it is Tolkien himself who claims that The Lord of the Rings is “a fundamentally religious and Catholic work”. It is also Tolkien himself who states that his Catholic faith can be deduced from his work. My own works on the subject simply seek to show how the work is fundamentally Catholic and how such Catholicism can be deduced from the stories.
I am also astonished by the claim made by this lecturer that nobody every converted because of The Lord of the Rings. I can state emphatically that Tolkien was a significant influence on my own conversion and I have met numerous other people who cite his influence on their conversion or his role in strengthening their faith. The most recent case of someone informing me of Tolkien’s role in their conversion happened only two nights ago, in Memphis, after I had given a talk in the city.
As I’ve stated, I have no desire to listen to the lecture, nor do I intend to expend any more time responding to it. I will, however, point people to Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s excellent post on the subject: