Robert Barron | – Bishop Barron on J.R.R. Tolkien, Evangelist

Friends, with the new “Tolkien” film out in theaters, I wanted to share this clip from our documentary, “CATHOLICISM: The New Evangelization,” where we reflected on J.R.R. Tolkien as not just a great author, but a master evangelist.

“CATHOLICISM: The New Evangelization”: [support us]

About The Author

Bishop Robert Barron These are brief and insightful commentaries on faith and culture by Catholic theologian and author Bishop Robert Barron. The videos complement his weekly sermons posted and podcasted at

Comment (48)

  1. Mr. Tolkien proved you can create fantasy fiction that could gain mass popularity on its own merit. Without the smut and nonsense we see today in the genre. God bless his soul and message. Mr. Tolkien stories from the similarian to LoTr enriched my childhood and my imagination into adulthood immensely. Thank you Mr. Tolkien and Bishop Baron for sharing.

  2. Well, I got interested in Christianity as a young boy because of the Christian themes in the stories of J.R.R Tolkien and C.S Lewis. So they truly succeeded in evangelizing me, I guess. I am so grateful for that.

  3. Awesome choice Fr. Barron I love J.R.R. Tolkien's works. He based his stories from his time serving in the British Army during WWI and from his Catholic faith. His mother was a devout Catholic before she died she requested a Priest to adopt her sons, they were raised by a Catholic Priest.

    It was J.R.R. Tolkien whom helped convert C.S. Lewis an Athiest to Christianity.

  4. Tolkien said explicitly that he did not like allegory in literature and chided CS Lewis on that point. An example here is the bishop saying that Frodo is a Christ figure. Well Frodo completely failed at the last moment and if it wasn't for Gollum that ring would not have been thrown into Mount Doom to be destroyed. You see folks Tolkien was not into allegory and yet the bishop here is reducing tolkien's work to just that.

  5. Let us not forget also The Oxford Movement- began in 1833 under the leadership of John Keble, E.B.Pusey and John Henry Newman. Another movement which began in Oxford a century later and which has given us shelves of great books is that of The Inklings . I've never read any of Tolkien's books, however it's my understanding he gave significant input to The Jerusalem Bible which is a Roman Catholic translation of the Old Testament of the bible. Its sources were the original Hebrew and Greek texts, with some contribution from later Greek and Latin translations. J.R.R. Tolkien was among its contributors, as translator and lexicographer. I wonder if Tolkien ever wrote his cliff notes on them very pub tables. x

  6. New doctrines, new revelations and new gospels are springing up almost daily.And it's going to get much worse. The Bible clearly warns that in the last days strange doctrines will come forth — introducing another Jesus, another Spirit, another gospel! For that reason I don't roll with toilken, but I kinda get his thoughts with Lord of the rings ect. Galatians 1:8, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." I'm not deep enough(intellectually) to sail my ship by another compass point. JESUS is personally everything to me . The Holy Mass the centre point of my existence & I pray Gods mercy on the years I spent irresponsibly, and unconsciously in total spiritual blindness.

  7. I always knew that Mr.Tolkien in his subtle ways, injecting christian morality in his work. I always admire him for his craft yet his greatest ability is to influence the people in every generation that a bible story can literally be a favorite storyline of all time.

  8. Very interesting. I'm a screenwriter and was trying to write an adventure story with Christian themes within it, but wasn't sure I was doing it right. In fact, I was concerned I was perpetuating more evil by writing it the way I did.

    Now I realize all I was doing was re-shaping the Lord of the Rings story. I still may be doing it wrong, but at least I'm willing to go back to it and try again. Thanks and God bless you!

  9. Did they ever even READ Tolkien?!
    Frodo did NOT succeed in destroying the Ring! The Ring was only unmade because Gollum stole it from him at the last moment!
    Hello Future Me did a good video on that scene in Mount Doom.

  10. I have nothing bad to say of this writer but he got caught up inthe world life by telling stories instead of getting down to the nitty gritty your all Catholic if your a religion your all Catholics and Anglicans u can tried to try but that's the truth and nothing but and this is from true old whose been a Baptist seven day Adventist church of God not Antioch church of Christ Pentecostal Church of almighty God of China t least thru the internet all them prosperity religion s on u tube latter day Saint boy did Joseph Smith wrote a book even Santeria even non denominations As the Catholic ritual s I don't know if that's the right word but they try to camoflauge them but to all Its ok Catholic and ANGLICAN there LOVE there LOVE and live John17 the one body HalleluYah Amen

  11. Christian themes have shown through fiction to be what we across cultures find to be the proper/right narrative.

    All good narratives explore some aspect of catholic theology.

  12. Tolkien, like Graham Greene or Dante, is not in the business of encapsulating Catholic theology in tasty pills — they’re Catholic storytellers. The schematicism on show in this clip is unworthy of great writers and the •mysteries• they lose themselves in.

  13. Catholicism is flooded with pagan ideas and images borrowed from the local culture to 'explain' the Gospels. Tolkien is just the latest. Instead of adding crap (goblins, magic rings) maybe we should throw out crap (Christmas trees, Easter eggs).

  14. Gandalf is one of my altimeter favorite characters. I love Tolkien’s version of a wizard as an angelic savant of god disguised as an old man. I also see a lot of parallels between Gandalf and the Norse God Odin, which reminds us that while Tolkien was indeed a Catholic, he also loved Norse Mythology and I think in his work he drew a lot of connections between Christianity and Norse myth.

  15. Hmm. Tolkein said it was a Catholic book. But I doubt that he wanted to sneak a message in. He said he disliked and distrusted allegory, but liked a good story well told. I think the book flowed out of who he was: he was not trying to communicate his faith in an accessible way. A subtle distinction but important I think.