From a 1963 letter from J.R.R. Tolkien to his son Michael. Michael was out of sorts and doubting the institution of the university, and the institution of the Church. Tolkien responded that the unavoidable truth is that if we want to preserve the living tradition of learning, we need the institution of the university; and likewise with the tradition of Christianity. Our task, said Tolkien, is to love and support these institutions in spite of their many, many failings — failings which are our own, if we think about it.

Tolkien goes on about scandals within the Church, and how to resist them. For Tolkien, the Eucharist was the summit of his Christian life, and he recommended to his son to receive it often:

The only cure for sagging of fainting faith in Communion. Though always Itself, perfect and complete and involate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise. Frequency is of the highest effect. Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals. Also, I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children — from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn — open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to Communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. (It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand — after which [Our] Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.