Books: Body of Christ

REAL PRESENCE

by Richard Bausch

Dial; 279 pages; $9.95

Something is wrong with the crucifix. Hanging in the tiny church in a Virginia country town, it distresses the new pastor. The wooden corpus, Monsignor Vincent Shepherd observes, has "square, unsuffering eyes" that symbolize to the priest so much that is wrong with his church and his world. The sense of crucifixion is gone. Instead, he reflects, "it was as if Christ had never really suffered and died, but had only had the Last Supper, with twelve smiling men of social commitment and three folk guitarists, and then...

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