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Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Catholicism (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)) [Paperback]

Ph. D. O'Gorman , M. a. Faulkner
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 Aug 2006 Complete Idiot's Guide to
How can the Catholic Church be both hugely popular and widely scorned? How can it hold onto its ancient roots and be forever changing? This updated guide tells the story of being Catholic as Catholics themselves live their faith, every day of their lives. More than ever before, this edition speaks to interested outsiders, non-clergy and practising Catholics, as well as to religious professionals and members of the clergy.

This book explores:

The various stances within American Catholicism today

Recent Catholic history, most notably, the death of John Paul II and the succession of Pope Benedict XVI

The seven sacraments

The present state of Catholic education, Catholic identity and Catholic social teaching


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Product details

  • Paperback: 393 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha Books; 3 edition (1 Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592575358
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592575350
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 18.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 785,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Bob O'Gorman holds both a Master's degree and Ph.D. in religious education. He has published several books on U.S. Catholic history and education and teaches at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola. Mary Faulkner holds a Master's degree in religious education, is the director of the Institute of Integrated Healing Arts in Nashville and is a psychotherapist in private practice.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars everyday how to be a catholic 2 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback
A greatlayman guide to unanswerable questions on living a a Catholic life. This book reveals myths and answers questions that many cardle catholics feel unable to give clear answers to. I rate this book as exceeding useful when interested in becoming a catholic very practical
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Amazon.com: 2.9 out of 5 stars  126 reviews
96 of 110 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Format, but not always correct 12 May 2000
By M. Horak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When I opened this book, the first page I saw offered this information: upon entering Church, Catholics genuflect to show respect for the altar. Actually, we genuflect to show respect for the Eucharist, when it is present. Otherwise, we bow slightly to show respect for an empty altar.
While this example may seem minor, it is indicative of the general feeling I got as I moved through the book. In a nagging way, it seemed slightly inaccurate at times.
That's unfortunate, because I was impressed by the format and breadth of information - in a very readable form. That's a combination which is tough to find in any book about religion.
The book tries to introduce the reader to many of the cultural aspects of Catholicism such as meatless Fridays, ruler-wielding nuns, etc. This is the first time I've seen this much "Catholic trivia" in a book about Catholicism, which may be a large part of its appeal. The treatment of Catholic cultured seemed a bit cliched to me, but that's just one view. A person with a different (or non-Catholic) background may see it very differently.
Before you buy this book, you might take a look at Kevin Johnson's "Why Do Catholics Do That?" Johnson doesn't cover all the same information, particularly the cultural aspects, but his is also a very readable book which covers many of the doctrinal aspects in which Catholicism is different than most Christian traditions.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars You'd have to be an idiot to believe this book. 15 May 2006
By Lynn Breaux - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just read Bob's co-writer Mary's other book and you will see where her objectivity went. She is the "Earth Goddess" lady. Please read Catholicism for Dummies if you want a pretty accurate overview to Church teachings. Better yet, get the Catechism of the Catholic Church and read it yourself - I don't think you're an idiot and I think you are smart enough to be able to understand the Catechism. The Idiot's Guide is a misrepresentation of the Catholic Faith. It focuses on the authors' opinions and "Feelings" rather than official Church teachings. It wouldn't let me give it 0 stars, so I selected 1.
43 of 53 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I give it 1 star, and that's being generous 22 April 2003
By Foye Hitomi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I bought the book expecting a down-to-earth explanation of Catholic beliefs and practices; was I ever disappointed.
Much of it isn't an explanation of the faith, but rather the authors' pushing of a liberal and politically correct version of Catholicism.
I can't list all the inaccuracies here -- but one glaring one occurs in Ch. 19, where one section heading reads "Abortion: A Tough Choice." A reader totally unfamiliar with Catholicism would get the idea that abortion is a valid choice for Catholics; it's not.
A little later, the authors claim that "the church allows abortions when they are necessary to preserve the mother's life." False; the Catholic Church disapproves of abortion in all cases.
There are numerous statements about the Church's roots to the Earth (is it about Catholicism or Gaia worship?) and about how Vatican II gave "shared power" to the people (it did no such thing; Vatican II reaffirmed the definitive authority of the pope and the bishops in communion with him).
There's also a claim that Christ never directed his teaching toward the authorities of his time, but only to the people. Again, false: there's more than one instance in the Gospels where Christ specifically directs his teachings toward the authorities, namely the Pharisees and teachers of the Law.
The authors give kid-gloves treatment to classic Catholic no-no's, such as abortion, homosexual acts, birth control, and the like. For instance, they write about how the Church "has not changed his view on homosexuality at the present time." Why would it? The Church's teachings on homosexual acts are definitive acts regarding a moral issue; it cannot be changed! Not to mention that such a change would not wash with the Bible. The book is littered with doctrinal errors of this sort.
The authors also assert that the Church's survival depends on its people; another "Catholic LIte" and "power to thee people" push. This directly contradicts Christ's promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against his Church.
For the authors Christ's words apparently mean nothing in their "power to the people" scheme.
In this case (and in several others too numerous to mention here), the authors are pushing "facts" that are entirely contradictory to Scripture.
In Ch. 25 the authors state that women have moved into the mainstream of society "with the exception of the Catholic Church." This is ridiculous; women are just as much a part of the Church as of any other institution.
They complain that all the "leadership positions" are filled by men. Wrong again; lots of leadership positions in the Church (Catholic hospital directors, school principals, social service agency directors, diocesan chancellors, etc.) are open to women.
In Ch 25 the authors complain about women not being priests, ignoring the fact that John Paul II and every other recent pope has stated definitely that the Church has no authority to ordain women. This isn't explaining; it's pushing an agenda -- one that's at odds with authoritative Church teaching no less. It has no place in a book that supposedly explains Catholicism to the uninitiated.
Much of this book is but a screed pushing the authors' "Catholic Lite" view of what the church should be; in so doing, they make numerous factual and even doctrinal errors. This book bears no bishop's imprimatur; plus the title page has a statement saying that the opinions in the book are solely those of the authors.
Want to buy a book on Catholicism that explains our faith (all of it) as it really is, rather than how the "progressives" want it to be? Make sure it has a bishop's imprimatur; ask the publisher or Amazon if it does, before you buy it.
Many problems in the Church, such as the sex-abuse scandal, are the direct result of the very sort of "Catholic LIte" version of the faith that the authors are pushing. The sort of agenda pushed by the authors, and those who share their opinions, has done estensive damage to the Church and its faithful.
The book's title is a misnomer; it's not a guide to true Catholicism. It's a guide to what the authors want Catholicism to be -- a feel-good, morally relative, politically correct, overly tolerant, "lite" religion that makes people feel better about their sins, rather than strive to turn from them. Do not buy nor read this book.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Limited--not always correct--information 9 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I bought this book as a new Catholic because I craved more information about the church and my new faith. It has disappointed me at almost every turn because the information given is so scanty, and often what I am looking for is not in the book. In one instance (wish I could specifically remember which subject), I found it to be incorrect. If you want a very broad overview of the faith, this book could work for you. If you want something with depth, steer clear of this one.
35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Contains false teaching 15 July 2003
By David Ancell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I paged through this book to see if it would be good for any of the RCIA folks I work with. Unfortunately, I would have to say that I have warned them against this book because it does not put forth the authentic faith. I paged through the typical areas of dissent and found that this book teaches falsely.
For example, it mentions the facts that after Vatican II some religious no longer wore habits and some priests would advise a person that in their circumstance it is okay to practice contraception. Neither was an intended reform, and in fact Vatican II empathetically proclaimed that we must be loyal to the teaching of the Magisterium. I found no reference to Vatican II's actual teaching on the subject.
This book caters to the American disobedience by inserting the irresponsible "Don't get caught up in the rules; it's love that matters." statements without the realization that it's those laws that teach us what love is. The law is the minimum, not the ideal that we can just break at our will.
If you want a better reading, go to Catholicism for Dummies. It is well-written and loyal to the faith.
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