You would NOT think being placed in solitary confinement for six months would be a good thing. Yet Our Lord knew it would be just the thing to turn around the life of a man who is now filming yet another series for EWTN!
Joseph Pearce – now a college professor, author, and host of the popular EWTN series “Lord of the Rings: A Catholic Worldview,” “The Quest for Shakespeare,” and more – is back at EWTN this week filming a second “Lord of the Rings” series as well as a series on “The Hobbit, which will also feature the excellent Actor Kevin O’Brien of Theater of the Word Inc.
Expect to see “The Hobbit” air near the end of this year; EWTN has scheduled it to coincide with the Hollywood premiere of “The Hobbit” movie. EWTN is also scheduling Pearce’s second “Lord of the Rings” series to coincide with the big screen debut of the newest “Lord of the Rings” movie next year.
So how in the world did Pearce go from inmate – imprisoned twice as a young man – to pillar of the Catholic community? If you suspect “Lord of the Rings” had something to do with it, you’re right on target!
Pearce says he wasn’t – and still isn’t – “a fantasy nerd.” But, he says, in the prison where he was incarcerated, prisoners were allowed to have up to three books a week sent in from the outside. Someone, he no longer even remembers who, sent him “Lord of the Rings.” He had friends who had read it so it was on his reading list, but the book is over 1,000 pages long.
“I never had time to read it,” Pearce said. “But when you’re stuck in solitary [where you can have books and paper to write, but not television, or radio, or other electronics – no human contact], you have time to read. For the first time ever, I could see the attraction to the monastic life. I gained a sense of serenity, space and time I never had before. It’s as if your life starts to move in slow motion. You have more time to think, to get yourself sorted out.”
Pearce says “Lord of the Rings” has consistently been voted the greatest work of the 20th Century – “by amazon.com, British TV and literary societies – one opinion poll after another Even if you haven’t read it, you have to show it the respect and deference it deserves.”
Pearce says some Evangelical Protestants have said that Tolkein’s work (and his friend, C.S. Lewis’ work) is satanic because there are wizards and dragons in it. “I don’t want Catholics to be misled by that misunderstanding. I want all Catholics to understand how profoundly Catholic these books are.”
He also says: “Wherever you are when you read ‘Lord of the Rings,’ you will move closer to the Church. You won’t go from atheist to Catholic, but if you’ll get 10 percent closer to becoming Catholic, and you will read books you wouldn’t have been interested in before you read ‘Lord of the Rings.’”
Hmmm… I’m not a fantasy nerd either, and I’ve never had the slightest inclination to read these books, but after this interview, I may just have to check them out!
You can see all of Pearce’s EWTN DVDs as well as some of his books at http://www.ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com/shop.axd/Search?keywords=pearce.