20 years on, Harry Potter still captivates fans, cultivating theological debates

WASHINGTON – Two decades since the publication of its first book, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling continues to draw countless readers into its pages, gaining ground among some faithful initially put off by the much-debated themes of magic and witchcraft.

Art experts solve Renaissance mystery in papal palace

VATICAN CITY – Two works painted by Renaissance master Raphael have been newly identified after art experts restored famous frescoes in the Apostolic Palace of Vatican City.

Boy choristers from Spain called 'messengers of peace, beauty'

WASHINGTON – Since the 13th century, the Escolania de Montserrat has sung daily for pilgrims at Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey in Catalonia, Spain.

Art as you've never seen it: New film highlights Pope Francis' vision

VATICAN CITY – What do the Sistine Chapel, a used car with 186,000 miles on the odometer and a statue of Our Lady of Lujan made out of metal from an abandoned factory have in common?

Syriac Christian artist calls paintings of war 'a cry for help'

LANCASTER, England – A huge plume of grey smoke billows into a vivid blue sky as rooftops and buildings buckle into twisted iron and debris and then begin to fall. Beneath the smoke, human wreckage of the blast is visible: faces of victims contorted in pain and others dead, lying in pools of their own blood.

Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

NEW YORK – There's much to like about the vibrant comic-book adaptation Spider-Man: Homecoming (Columbia). Besides an unslacking pace and a clever central plot twist, there's the fact that the mayhem on display is kept virtually bloodless.

Review: Despicable Me 3

NEW YORK – Director Pierre Coffin's animated comedy "Despicable Me 3" (Universal) – the second direct follow-up to the 2010 original – turns out to be something of a disappointment, falling short when compared to its predecessors.

Scorsese says a boyhood of church and movies continues to inspire him

QUEBEC CITY – Faith and films have been lifelong obsessions for director Martin Scorsese, obsessions that he said have given him moments of peace amid turmoil, but also challenges and frustrations that, in hindsight, he will accept as lessons in humility.

Review: Transformers: The Last Knight

NEW YORK – Grown-ups who yearn to connect with their inner 11-year-old boy are given a two-and-a-half-hour window of opportunity to do so in Transformers: The Last Knight (Paramount).

Book: A compelling, critical look inside Canadian prisons

Down Inside: Thirty Years in Canada’s Prison Service by Robert Clark (Goose Lane Editions, soft cover, 265 pages, $22.95).

Winston Churchill reminded us many years ago that the way we treat crime and criminals is a reliable test of the civilization of any country.

Book: The rise and fall of the Evangelicals

The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, Frances Fitzgerald, Simon and Shuster, 2017, 740 pages, $35.

Although a child of evangelicalism (my father J.H. Hunter was the longtime editor of a magazine The Evangelical Christian), I learned much about the origins and development of evangelicalism from this incisive and fascinating book by Pulitzer Prize winning author Frances Fitzgerald.