28 January 2022

J.R.R. Tolkien on Conversion

I had not realised that Luthien had wanted to delay her conversion until just before the wedding but Beren said no. Fascinating story. 

From Fishing in the Tiber

By Steve Ray

Tolkien's mother, Mabel, converted to Catholicism despite serious opposition from her family. She was eventually cut-off financially when she refused to abandon her new faith. The lack of financial support was a serious consequence as she relied on her family's assistance after her husband died working in South Africa leaving her alone to raise their two young boys. Yet, she valued her Catholic faith above all else and was determined to raise her children in the Catholic Church, which she did.

Years later, when Tolkien was a young man at Oxford and was ready to marry, his future wife, Edith, was still a very active member of the Church of England. Tolkien insisted that she become Catholic before they marry. Edith was willing and believed it the right thing, but wanted to delay her conversion until just prior to the wedding to avoid the backlash of her family. Tolkien, would not have it. He stated that the Church of England was "a pathetic and shadowy medley of half-remembered traditions and mutilated beliefs" and if Edith were persecuted for becoming Catholic, why then, that was precisely what happened to his own dear mother, and she had endured it. He went on to say, "I do so dearly believe, that no half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the light unflinchingly." Edith agreed and was met with the same level of opposition from her family as Tolkien's mother had suffered through.

J.R.R. Tolkien is best remembered for his fiction, but the most important thing to him was truth.

Certain details taken from J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to deletion if they are not germane. I have no problem with a bit of colourful language, but blasphemy or depraved profanity will not be allowed. Attacks on the Catholic Faith will not be tolerated. Comments will be deleted that are republican (Yanks! Note the lower case 'r'!), attacks on the legitimacy of Pope Francis as the Vicar of Christ (I know he's a material heretic and a Protector of Perverts, and I definitely want him gone yesterday! However, he is Pope, and I pray for him every day.), the legitimacy of the House of Windsor or of the claims of the Elder Line of the House of France, or attacks on the legitimacy of any of the currently ruling Houses of Europe.