Reconciliation Through Beauty?

Reconciliation Through Beauty?
Jacqueline Dormer/The Republican-Herald via AP

By and large, the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation hasn't passed very happily. Based on my observations, day-to-day relationships between Protestants and Catholics seem worse than ever. Well, not ever, obviously. We're a long way off from a second St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, and nobody's nailing anything to any doors. But people I know have raised the question if those of different confessional traditions even can truly be friends.                           

Perhaps for this reason, this year I've found myself thinking often about a strange little German novel from the 1950s, Bach and the Heavenly Choir. Though its author, Johannes Rüber, seems to have had a fairly lengthy career in his native Germany, the book itself didn't make much of a splash when it arrived in English. (Curiously, one place it was reviewed at the time was, as it happens, Commonweal.) And as far as I know, it's the only one of his books ever to be translated.

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