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  • Book describes Counter-Reformation content of Catholic art

    "How Catholic Art Saved the Faith: The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter-Reformation Art" by Elizabeth Lev. Sophia Institute Press (Manchester, New Hampshire, 2018). 310 pp. $18.95. The best part of this book is the collection of glossy photos showing masterpieces of 16th- and 17th-century Italian art. The sculptures and paintings exemplify how artistic geniuses delved into Catholicism's deposit of faith to convey biblical and theological themes and events.

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  • Fictional dialogue shows Catholic, Protestant beliefs on Eucharist

    "Symbol or Substance? A Dialogue on the Eucharist with C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham and J.R.R. Tolkien" by Peter Kreeft. Ignatius Press (San Francisco, 2019). 232 pp., $16.95. Peter Kreeft offers an accessible and believable portrayal of the two great English apologists, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, in a fictional ecumenical conversation that includes the Rev. Billy Graham. The three (along with Rev. Graham's imagined chauffeur, "Guy") focus principally on the Eucharist. The dialogue format offers Kreeft, a philosophy professor at Boston College, the opportunity to make focused remarks on significant theological or philosophical issues without the usual scholarly structures of footnotes, theological and philosophical background, and literature reviews. Kreeft avoids confusion by keeping his characters more or less on target, with notable and interesting digressions.

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  • Novelist looks at writings, influence of Trappist monk Thomas Merton

    "On Thomas Merton" by Mary Gordon. Shambhala Publications (Boulder, Colorado, 2019). 160 pp., $22.95. Perhaps best known for her novels and short stories, Barnard College English professor and New York state writer -- a title bestowed in 2008 by retiring Gov. Eliot Spitzer -- Mary Gordon here turns her attention to Trappist monk, author, poet and social critic Father Thomas Merton.

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  • Books on Catholic customs, although beautiful, fall short on history

    "Catholic Traditions and Treasures: An Illustrated Encyclopedia" by Dr. Helen Hoffner. Sophia Institute Press (Manchester, New Hampshire, 2018). 109 pp., $19.95. "Celebrating a Merry Catholic Christmas: A Guide to the Customs and Feast Days of Advent and Christmas" by Father William Saunders. Tan Books (Charlotte, North Carolina, 2018). 173 pp., $27.95.

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