Newsbook: During Holy Week, Explorations of the Divine


As hundreds of millions of people prepare to celebrate Easter and Passover, here are three books that reckon with religion and spirituality.

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WHY I AM A CATHOLIC
By Garry Wills
390 pp. Houghton Mifflin Company. (2002)

Half history of the papacy and half investigation of the writer’s faith, Wills’s book is a response to readers who, after he wrote “Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit,” a critique of the Catholic church and its hierarchy, asked why he remained a Catholic. Wills has “never even considered leaving the Church,” he writes, yet he does not present himself as a Catholic missionary. What he delivers instead is a balanced critique and a defense of his view that one can be both devoted to and critical of one’s faith. Our reviewer called this book “candid, richly informative and perfectly timed.”

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MAN SEEKS GOD
My Flirtations With the Divine
By Eric Weiner
349 pp. Twelve. (2011)

Weiner, a former foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, is compelled to begin his religious exploration when, while he is enduring a medical scare, a nurse asks him: “Have you found your God yet?” Weiner grew up in a family of “gastronomical Jews,” for whom he writes, “ God resided not in Heaven or the Great Void but in the Frigidaire, somewhere between the cream cheese and the salad dressing.” This sentence might give you some indication of the humor with which he narrates his trip, which takes him to places such as Turkey to explore Sufism and the South Bronx, where he spends time with Franciscan monks.

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THE WISDOM OF SUNDAYS
Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations
By Oprah Winfrey
240 pp. Flatiron Books. (2017)

Every week, on her television show “Super Soul Sunday,” Winfrey explores spirituality with a rotating selection of star guests; Arianna Huffington, Shonda Rhimes and Joe Biden have all been guests. Here, she brings together excerpts from those conversations, as well as personal photographs taken in her home in Santa Barbara “where I feel the presence of God, and the connection to All that is greater than myself, most deeply,” she writes in the book’s introduction. She begins most of her “Super Soul Sunday” conversations with the same question: “What does spirituality mean to you?” The replies have helped Winfrey along her spiritual path, and this book explores how this wisdom has stayed with her.

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