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For every taste and budget, a paperback

The Clowns of God, by Morris West. New York: Bantam Books. 402 pp. $3.95.

A fictional Pope is forced to abdicate because the cardinals don't know how else to cope with his apocalyptic vision of the approaching end of the world and second coming of Jesus Christ. He sets off on a lonely pilgrimage to find a way to proclaim his vision without sending his cherished world into chaos and hysteria. Readers may not agree with author West many theological points. But at a time when millenarianism appears to be making a comeback, West is at least raising thought-provoking issues.

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