VATICAN, Feb 26, 03 ( — In a highly favorable review of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the official Vatican newspaper has said that the work carries “echoes of the Gospel.”

L’Osservatore Romano remarked that Tolkien’s creative work– now being made available on film– has an “enchantment with which is seduces us, and helps to highlight a significance deeper than what is immediately apparent.” The fantasy world of Tolkien’s work is “like a projection of the real world, where men are agitated by passions, driven by sentiments, slaves to egoism, but open to values of friendship, loyalty, generosity, love– stronger than the will to power that devastates mankind.”

The anonymous article in L’Osservatore Romano said that Tolkien’s work shows “a sort of theology.” The Lord of the Rings speaks through images and signs, the reviewer observes, but the author concludes: “When faith inspires one’s thought and one’s life, there is not need to call attention to it; it shines through everything.”