Saturday, November 25, 2017

Should Tolkien Be Canonized?

Question: Should Tolkien be canonized?
Short Answer: No.

So, I was asked by not one but two people at Thanksgiving what I thought about the move to have Tolkien declared a saint. What movement? was my reply. The next day a few minutes on google reminded me that I'd heard the first rumblings of this a while ago when a group of Tolkien's admirers in Brazil decided to take the first step back in 2015: contact the bishop of Tolkien's own diocese, Archbishop of Birmingham Bernard Longley, who replied that he was hesitant to act on his own authority until the church had officially begun the process.

Accordingly, the pro-canonization group has studied the actual process and are now officially launching their campaign, with a website ( ).  Thanks to Mike Glyer's FILE 770 for his report ( ), "Tolkien: An Unexpected Sainthood" (Oct 25th 2017). For those of us (like myself) who know little about how the church operates in such matters, here are the four stages in the official recognition:
 (1) Servant of God, (2) Venerable, (3) Blessed, and (4) Saint
The current effort is the first step in getting Tolkien declared a Servus Dei (Servant of God).
I'm personally skeptical (coming from a denomination that doesn't do saints), but we'll see how it goes.

--John R.
current reading: A TIME OF HARVEST (CoC), still

The Tolkien Canon just took on a new meaning.


David Bratman said...

I was not asked this question at Thanksgiving, possibly because the people who'd be asking are Catholics and know that I'm not, so while I may know my Tolkien, they'd be aware that I don't know dip about canonization of saints.

Paul W said...

I would think there are many isses involved here, not least being the need for 3 (IIRC) confirmed miracles. But some of the theology beneath the surface in various works could also be an issue.

I'm skeptical as well, and I think its bad theology - he was a very good Catholic, the Church should not try to make all good Catholics saints.

i'm not overly familiar with servus dei, it seems likely it might get that far and stop, as I imagine it does with many people.