REVIVAL OF BLACK MAGIC
Superstition and Magic, by Philippe Schmidt, S.J. trans. by Marie Heffernan and Rev. A. J. Peeler (Mercier Press, 7s. 6d.).
Gospel Pages Read in Galilee, by Mgr. George Hakim, Archbishop of Galilee (distributed by Rev. Leslie Cole, 60 Rylston Road, S.W.6, 155.).
Valiant Men or God, VOIS, .1 & 2, by Doris Burton (St. Paul Publications, 4s. each). Reason in Religion, by N. F. S. Ferrd (Nelson, 36s.).
DISTURBING reports have
been increasing of late about burglaries committed in churches. The nature of the thefts. objects used in worship rather than articles of value. suggest that the thieves may be interested in black magic. There can be no doubt that apart from this more sinister species. the more idiotic kinds of superstition are as rampant now as ever they were.
Father Schmidt's handbook provides some interesting information on the multifarious branches of superstition and magic, and readers will be surprised to find how much even of the cruder kinds of practices still go on under the civilised veneer of our western culture. Nevertheless the account is romantic rather than scientific. in spite of explicit attempts to assess superstitions from a scientific point of view. In the foreword occultism is equated with parapsychology and the same lack of precision iv evident in other parts of the book.
There are general references to the various possible natural origins of superstitions. but the clues are not followed tip with any vigour, which is rather surprising in view of the obviously didactic purpose of the hook. ff one Wishes to discredit magic this would seem to he the obvious course to follow. Finally there is no discussion of that blackest of all magics. the 'Black Mass' --a quite incomprehensible omission.
-Uncomplicated Monsignor George Hakim. the Mclkitc Archbishop of Galilee has for his flock a community consisting mainly of Christian Arabs. When he reads the Gospel he sees it through the eyes of a people whose way of life has hardly changed from the time of Our Lord and has much in common with the ancient Jewish way of life.
Things in the Gospels which form the subject of learned researches by our scholarly exegetes are for him still matters of everyday occurrence. This fresh and uncomplicated approach to the New Testament is further assisted by a generous allowance of photographs.
It' any further inducement to buyers is needed 1 ought to mention that Archbishop Hakim will devote the proceeds from the sale of his book to the building of a seminary in Nazareth.
The Valiant Men of Droie Burton's two paperback volumes are eleven priests who during the last hundred years or so have shown that holiness has by no means been wanting in the Church in the modern age.
Heroes of the plague, daring missionaries, victims of persecution from Indo-China to Dachau. they offer a proud and varied picture of the life of the Church told in a vivid style that will appeal mere to .younger readers.
• Dr, Ferres study of the part played by Reason in Religion I am sure, he given a careful examination in all the big theological journals. It is an old question and has been worked over many times, but this latest study is a profound and original one which faces up to the problems raised for believers by modern science and philosophy.
Closely argued. it is hardly a book for the general reader since it demands study and concentration, but it will he richly suggestive for the theologian.