The Lord of the Rings Offer Jewels of Catholic Wisdom
CINCINNATI When The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King hits theaters on December
17, moviegoers will flock to see the final installment of director Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R.
Tolkien's masterpiece. While Tolkien loyalists will pay close attention to the film's faithfulness
to the book, movie lovers will seek an entertaining film. But how many will notice the deep religious
symbolism found in it?
The Catholic symbolism in The Return of the King and its predecessors, The Fellowship of
the Ring and The Two Towers , is featured in St. Anthony Messenger 's December
article, " The Lord of the Rings Films: Splinters of the True Light." Aided by a handful of
Tolkien experts, Rose Pacatte, F.S.P., film reviewer for the magazine, explores Peter Jackson's movies
and their messages. After November 20, the article will be posted at: AmericanCatholic.org.
When Tolkien's three-part masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, was released in 1954 and 1955,
the world marveled at fiction so rich and involving. Half a century later, the films have been met
with equal scrutiny and praise for Peter Jackson's mastery of the revered material. Also remarkable
are its themes of virtue, providence, redemption and social justice.
Tolkien, who was Catholic, denied including Christian allegory in his stories, yet it's
hard to miss such themes when reading his books or seeing the films. "Like all good authors,Tolkien wrote
from his deepest beliefs," says Tolkien expert and children's literature specialist Tim Lambarski. "These
were permeated by his Christianity and his deep spirituality."
Professor Michael Forster, a representative from the Tolkien Society, believes that Peter Jackson's
films have maintained the spirit and message of the books. "It's about friendship, nature vs. the machine,
and the manifold richness of God's creation," he says. "When you discover something so good, you want
to celebrate it. ".
Seven examples of social justice found in the films are described in this article, as is a light
of truth that permeates Tolkien's stories and Jackson's movies. "If we are open," Sister Rose writes, "the
splintered fragments of the true light of truth and love will continue to enlighten us through myths
and wondrous stories told in word and image."
granted to reprint this release.