A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail
Publication Date: November 16, 2017
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I highly enjoyed reading this latest of Mr. Coulombe's works. This book did several things for me: 1.) it made the realities of the Faith more real to me via its discussion on relics and Eucharistic miracles 2.) it provided a history of all the major relics, explaining why they are important and significant 3.) it incited a fervor in me, to go on my own quest for the Holy Grail in my own way. Thank you Mr. Coulombe for another classic!
I was beyond surprised to receive this book for my birthday and couldn't wait to see what it was like. It turns out it was an exciting quest through Grail mythology, separating fact from fiction and revealing the true Catholic roots of the story. The writing is unapologetically and unashamedly Catholic, which is refreshing to find. This book is not just for people who are interested in King Arthur and legends of the Holy Grail; it's for anyone who wants to see how Catholic culture helped shape some of the most popular stories of our time.
My first thought when I received this book was simply wow, for it is gorgeous. This is a hardcover that puts other hardcovers to shame and I wish all were of this quality. Not that aesthetics do not matter, for they do, but I will now move along to the content of the book, which is of far greater importance. As is to be expected from Mr. Coulombe, this book is overflowing with Catholic history. For someone as unlearned as myself, I am sad to say, due to my own fault, that it is overwhelming at times.
But! But but but! Read it through, for the end wraps everything together in a way that absolutely caught me off guard - Mr. Coulombe's conclusion to the Quest was a wonderful surprise. Read it not only for that wonderful surprise, but for the motivation it gives to go on that Quest and to enchant your life with the mysterious beauties of Christ and His Church.
I've only read the first chapter so far and I've already learned something I didn't know. I'm a medievalist (not specializing in Arthur) so I find this book very helpful.
I am enjoying this book very much. Born in'81, I dare say I grew-up with Mass on Sunday, pop/rock-culture during the rest of the week culminating in Friday's and Saturday's where all bets were off and trying to make sense of the two worlds (Church and Society at large) in some way, much to my defeat! I found this book helped project those two worlds as anti-thetical. I feel like Perceval waking in empty Montsalvatch castle and on my journey to find it filled once again saying "Slay me if you will!"...
Charles Coulombe hits the proverbial ball out of the park with this 2017 release from TAN Books! Throughout the course of its pages readers will discover the history and location of the Holy Grail, and so much more. As Thomas Johnsen mentions below, a lucid summation of the various Grail Legends both starts and finishes the book. The effect of this is to place our historical quest alongside and, in a sense, within, the journeys of Camelot's heroes.
Thus with Perceval and Lancelot we head out through the ages in search of the Chalice used by Our Lord at the Last Supper. From Saint Peter of Rome to the Nazis, legends and stories abound about the Grail! Mr. Coulombe manages to cut through both the modern skepticism and entertaining conspiracies in a manner and for a result that is decidedly Catholic. In doing so he explores the connection between the Sacred Heart, Precious Blood, Passion Relics, Our Lady, Catholic Monarchy and the cup in which the marvelous drama of our salvation was first offered to the Father. The result of this quest will be pleasantly surprising, if you're anything like me.
However, Charles also manages in this book to impress the reality of Divine Revelation on his readers. If you enjoy or would like to understand "Off the Menu" and the other works put out by Tumblar House, this text offers a wonderful articulation of the worldview behind them. Ours is an age of half truths and full-sale falsehoods. In response to this "dictatorship of relativism" our author leaves us this stirring challenge: "Why not? Why not, as individuals, study the Faith as completely and in as much detail as others study sports, the latest movies, or the law? Why not run our own lives according to the fasts and feasts of the Church? Why not attend Masses done in the true spirit of the Liturgy, be they Ordinary Form, Extraordinary Form, Anglican Use, or Eastern Rite?” (“A Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail,” page 179). God love you!
I had very little knowledge Catholic or otherwise of the Grail Legend. The legends of Perceval and the Quest delivered as bookends at the beginning and end of this book were well written and very moving. I was consistently in tears for both. A beautiful introduction to the legend. In fact I'm glad I never encountered them before reading this work.
The body of the book focuses on what the Grail is and where it actually is today. It focuses on the Grail, relics of the passion, and devotion to the Precious Blood, Sacred Heart and Our Lady.
It is a bit prosaic and cursory at times. But this is not all bad. The book serves as a jumping off point for further reading, research and devotion especially considering the good bibliography and geographical index of relics located at the back.
The faith and devotion of the author shines through and makes this book a real treasure. Devoid of any pandering to popular academic and intellectual scepticism and unbelief. The simple belief implicit in Charles' coverage of every topic is a cool glass of water to the faithful soul.
Absolutely stirring and thorough treatment of the Grail Mythos. It will make one desire to pledge oneself to the secret of the Grail every time the consecrated chalice is held aloft in the hands of the priest at Mass. The book is beautiful to look at as well.
As an American and a new Catholic (relatively speaking), I found The Catholic Quest for the Holy Grail highly enlightening. So much about the Grail legend I had no idea how much was connected to relics that one can presently witness, that it took me by complete surprise after reading this book. And I appreciate Charles Coulombe's approach to this and other folklore, taking an approach that is, shall we say, more skeptical of the skeptics rather than of the very people who were there at the time handling these precious artefacts with love and faith. It makes me want to take another trip to Europe in the hopes of seeing these relics.
All correspondence, purchases from Tumblar have always been excellent. Buy with confidence!