Steven OSTOVICH, The Courage of Faith: Some Philosophical Reflections. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009. pp. 130. Pb. ISBN978-0-8146-1872-1.
Antoinette BOSCO, Radical Forgiveness. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis books, 2009. pp. 150. $15.95,Pb. ISBN 978-1-57075-815-7. Reviewed by Nathan R. KOLLAR, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY. 14618

Both books offer reflections on central religious attitudes: faith and forgiveness. Both engage the reader in a first person, familiar dialogue. Both are "How to" books: one how to forgive; the other, how to have courage in life. Both are written by Roman Catholics and use traditional Catholic sources for their reflections. The similarities end there. Ostovich is engaging in conversation and challenging in thought. Bosco is preachy and imposing in her opinions. Each will engage a different audience: Bosco, those who seek clear direction, witness, and emotional urging; Ostovich, those who wish to reflect, observe their choices, and make up their own mind.

Steven Ostovich's The Courage of Faith is series of thoughtful pieces, rightly called meditations rather than chapters, upon central human virtues. There are six: The Courage to Believe, The Courage to Promise, The Courage to Hope, The Courage to Love, The Courage of Responsibility, and the Courage to Think. Within each of these meditations there are subthemes seen to be essential to the main one, for example suffering seen as a challenge to belief or prayer as an expression of hope. Ostovich aids the reader's reflections by providing a clear outline of famous philosophers' thoughts, biblical themes, and personal antidotes around each topic for meditation. Why need courage? Because the world, including much religious propaganda, is not as certain and controllable as we think it is and so much modern thought and sciences pretend it to be. Reading The Courage of Faith provides the reader with the thoughts and courage to break the patterns of life that prevent us from taking the responsibility for living it in concert with others.

This is a book for those who like to reflect and are able to attend to the reading/meditative task for more than fifteen minutes at a time. The lack of an index hinders comparative thinking and following the theme of one chapter into others. While there is no bibliography and no endnotes as such a quick glance at the bottom of the page enables the reader to see the key texts.

Antoinete Bosco is a journalist who has experienced several tragic deaths in her family. Her previous books dealing with these experiences have won several awards. She also is a syndicated columnist for the Catholic News service. She offers us eight chapters with a postscript. The chapter titles are too long to list here but they deal with Jesus' command of forgiveness, revenge, why we might not forgive, how forgiveness brings peace and thus the Kingdom of God. If one is familiar with forgiveness literature there is nothing new here. Perhaps that is why so much depends on her "witness" style of writing. Many readers appreciate such a style. This reader sees the pronoun "I" used so much that he cannot see anything else on the page. Everything seems to filter through the witness in such a style. If one wishes to experience the deaths Antoinete Bosco experienced, the feelings she had when she came to forgive everyone associated with those deaths, and the role her Catholicism had, and has, in dealing both with the deaths and the forgiveness, this book is for you. The book does not have, nor need, an index. It does provide some references at the end.

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