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It’s time to address the oliphaunt in the room…

Catholic bookworms everywhere have something to acknowledge.

There’s been an epidemic in Catholic communities for decades and it’s time we address it.

Catholics are obsessed with The Lord of the Rings.

What is this obsession? Where does it come from?

Well, it’s actually no coincidence that Catholics are drawn to The Lord of the Rings. It goes beyond our shared faith with Tolkien; it goes back to the nature of fantasy and fairy tales.

As it turns out, Catholicism is very compatible with fairy tales!

Fairy tales reflect the truth that the supernatural and natural exist together. In their depictions of fairies disguised in flowers, spirits in water and the wind, and ogres hiding under bridges, fairy tales recognize that the world is not exactly as it seems—that there is a beautiful spiritual reality beyond the material world we perceive.

In fairy tales, talking animals and pumpkins turning into golden carriages are regular occurrences. Although this may seem drastically different from our own reality, we must remind ourselves that things like miracles and God’s wonderful providence are just as commonplace. This is one of the things fairy tales can teach us: miracles can happen, and with help from God’s grace, all things are possible.

Beyond an awareness of the spiritual and the supernatural, fairy tales offer their readers another important lesson: good will always triumph in the end. In the best fantasy stories, the wicked witch is served justice and the virtuous prince wins the beautiful maiden’s heart.

Our favorite fairy tale author, J.R.R. Tolkien, said it best: “Fairy tales are not primarily concerned with possibility, but with desirability.”

Young J.R.R. Tolkien

In showing us the way things should be, they inspire us to make the world a better place.

So, read your children fairy tales and read them yourself! Goodness and wonder are not things one should ever outgrow!

However, keep two things in mind: 1. There are options beyond Tolkien(!), and 2. There are a lot of bad fairy tales and fantasy stories out there, so choose wisely!

Want a fairy tale collection that you know reflects the good, the true, and the beautiful? We recommend The Golden Key and Other Fairy Tales by George Macdonald. According to C.S. Lewis, there is “hardly any other writer who seems to be closer, or more continuously close, to the Spirit of Christ Himself.” Order your copy of The Golden Key and Other Fairy Tales from The Catholic Company and begin a beloved new family tradition today!

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