19 Sep 2010

The day Tolkien met the Pope

Today is the day when Tolkien met Pope Benedict XVI at a special Mass in Cofton Park, Birmingham. Tim Tolkien, great-nephew of J.R.R. Tolkien, was commissioned to sculpt a very special statue of Cardinal John Henry Newman. The Pope will today beatify Cardinal Newman in Cofton Park, a place J.R.R. Tolkien loved and used to visit in his early years in Birmingham. The strong connection between Tolkien and Cardinal Newman don't end here. Professor Tolkien was taught by Brother Francis Xavier Morgan from the Birmingham Oratory , founded by Cardinal Newman. Just before her death Tolkien's mother Mabel, assigned the guardianship of her sons, John and Hilary Arthur, to Brother Francis Xavier Morgan , so the boys could be brought up as devoted Catholics. Brother Francis became a very important figure and role model in the lives of the two young boys growing up in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham. Cardinal Newman's statue will be installed in Cofton Park, just a few meters away from where it was blessed by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.