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Is Tintin a Christian?

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#21 · Posted: 1 Feb 2005 16:53
OJG, I don’t think that there was any question of Hergé just keeping Father Wallez happy. As Jyrki21 says, it would have been so automatic for any white, bourgeois, Belgian boy-scout(ish) character appearing in a Catholic newspaper, written and drawn by a Catholic, to be Catholic himself, that it wouldn’t just have been Father Wallez, but everyone who would have thought that he was “Catholic” (as much as any fictional figure has such a dimension). The idea that faith was professed through good deeds was probably enough for all concerned.

I also don’t believe that Hergé thought anything about the “religion” of the character being a turn-off – it just so happened that the subject didn’t need to come up, and that was a benefit in the long run.

I didn't mean to say that Hergé was trying to keep Father Wallez happy; what I meant was that before Tintin became a big international success, it probably never occured to him what effect portraying Tintin as a follower of a particular faith would have on readers. As you say, Jock, the readers of the first books at the time (I'm assuming Belgians, but certainly catholics) would have no reason to see Tintin as anything other than a catholic. This would mean Father Wallez being okay about the content of the stories. After Tintin started being published further afield, in places with other religions, Hergé must have become aware of how giving Tintin a religion would influence some readers. I mean, religion tends to be such a controversial subject; it divides people at the most basic levels- even on forums such as this. I don't think that Hergé ever intended to give Tintin a faith to follow as, like I said before, it was irrelevant to the adventures. Even if it wasn't though, I still think he would have trodden cautiously so to 'keep everyone happy', as it were. At this stage of his career, he could afford to. He may have done differently early on under Wallez because his job was on the line, but as it happened, it was never an issue.

What I'm trying to say is that I didn't mean Hergé was ever trying to keep Father Wallez happy, but he did so anyway because religion in the adventures is left to the imagination. I think that he may have shown Tintin as a definite Catholic if Wallez had asked for that though.
#22 · Posted: 1 Feb 2005 23:24
Me: Ramon and Alonzo being carted off to Hell would have been simply natural and without question. It would hardly look like the fanciful, out-of-place image it seems today.

rastapopoulos: Is this what Micheal Farr said? I dont think Herge was making bold statement about heaven and hell. I think it just a comical jesture that was probably copied from another artist, probably dear old uncle Walt

No, that's precisely my point (and what Michael Farr was getting at): a Catholic vision of hell and devils would not have been intended as a religiously poignant message, but rather would have been seen by the (young, Catholic) readers as a simple matter of course. "That's what happens when bad people die, end of story." Sort of like how, in an age of recycling today, Tintin throwing away a piece of paper might look anti-environmentalist, but would seem perfectly normal at the time.
#23 · Posted: 2 Feb 2005 14:08
This beautiful picture of Ramon and Alonzo in Hell has always made me feel that Hell was much more fun than Paradise...
#24 · Posted: 20 Feb 2005 16:03
The Tintin comic strips deliberately avoid religious issues. I read from somewhere that Hergé wanted a character who could experience things that everyone at some point would go through. Giving him a religion would deny a large portion of humanity from some of Tintin's experiences.

Hergé made Tintin a person without a particular nationality - in a sense, Tintin is a universal character, and giving him a particular identity (as in "Belgian", "French", or "British" versus "European"--most of his readers then were European) would kill that purpose.
#25 · Posted: 20 Feb 2005 16:24 · Edited by: jock123
I think that you are reading a lot in after-the-fact, snafu. In as much as Tintin had a purpose, he was created as a feature in a Cathloic children's paper, very much at the bidding, and under the control, of an editor who was an abbot; Hergé was also at that time a practicing and unquestioning Catholic. So while one cannot derive from that that Tintin was "Catholic", it is highly unlikely that Hergé would have been avoiding religious issues so much as taking it for granted that a middle-class, upstanding Belgian was a Catholic. It also strikes me as unlikely that non-Catholics would have been reading Tintin at the start, as they wouldn't have been buying a Catholic paper.

It is also explicit that Tintin is a Belgian - think of scenes like the school lesson in Congo - and he clearly lives in Brussels (the station he returns to is in Brussels at the end of Soviets, as is the observatory in Shooting Star, just as a couple of examples).
#26 · Posted: 9 Jan 2006 08:37
Unfortuantly there are too many stereotypes people have with Catholics. Other religions (particularly protestants) see catholics as religious obsessed and talking about God and heaven non-stop, while they think of themselves as 'normal' christians. A lot of catholics are matter-of-fact about their religion. Tintin may have been a catholic, but probably didn't make a thing about it. Like many catholics he's tolerant of other religion. He made close friends with Muslims, Hinduis, Inca cult followers, Buddhists, etc. They never once bought up their differences in religion to spoil their friendship. Just because Tintin was a catholic, does not mean he would have any more or less different if he was a protestant or Jew. This would like us talking about the religion of Batman and the Flash. Did they have religions? Did they go to church? Did it really matter?
#27 · Posted: 16 Jan 2006 08:42
I guess Tintin was a Christian,and the most simple explaination to it is that Herge himself was a Christian.But the greatness of Herge is that Tintin was not shown as a person who would go to his own religious places.Herge showed Tintin as a lover of all religions and culture.Yes,Tintin in Congo can be called 'racist',but the greatness of Herge shows up in the later Tintins....so let Tintin be what Herge probably wanted him to be,a HUMAN
#28 · Posted: 16 Sep 2007 02:30
In the early drafts, he appears to be, and he seems to believe in guardian angels, but you never see him praying, in church...
#29 · Posted: 19 Aug 2009 11:14
Juveniletintinfan said "Well, I guess everyone likes to see Tintin in their own way". I think that if you are a christian, then you see tintin as a christian. If you are particularly violent, then you relish in the moments in which tintin punches that guard, fires at Allan etc, because you think that that is how he should be. Basically, what I'm saying is that you see yourself reflected in tintin.
#30 · Posted: 1 Sep 2009 23:09
Hergé's parents, Elisabeth and Alexis Rémi, were simple workers in the sewing and printing bussines.

They would go to church only on great occasions.

Hergé was indeed baptised.

He first went to a laic school an was member of the Boy-Scouts of Belgium (laics).

But in 1920, his father's boss, Henri Van Roye-Waucquez, a fervent catholic, advised his employee to change school at the Institut Saint-Boniface were the teachers were priesters, one year later he was encouraged to become a member of La Fédération des Scouts Catholique de Belgique.

I do not think that Hergé was particularly catholic but I am sure that he was very open-minded and concerned by the protection of the weakest and the children.

Tintin could be a scout leader, see how he protects Zorino in The Temple of the Sun.

More than a catholic, I think he is a great defender of human rights and democracy.

But it is not incompatible of course.

Sorry for my English ;-)

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