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Faith of Our Fathers: Being a Plain Exposition and Vindication of the Church Founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ [Paperback]

James Gibbons

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Book Description

1 May 2009
Explains the basic tenets of the Catholic Faith and why we hold them. Delves into the historical background of virtually everything people find hard to understand about our Religion, such as priestly celibacy, sacred images, the Church and the Bible, the primacy of Peter, Communion under one kind, invocation of the Saints, etc. First published in 1876, when there was much anti- Catholic sentiment in the U.S., it sold 1.4 million copies in 40 years and has been reprinted many times since.

Product details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: T A N Books & Publishers; New edition edition (1 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895551586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895551580
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 13.8 x 20.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,272,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
THE Catholic Church teaches that there is but one God, who is infinite in knowledge, in power, in goodness, and in every other perfection; who created all things by His omnipotence, and governs them by His Providence. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Over 125 years later, still a great work in apologetics 28 July 2004
By Kevin Davis - Published on Amazon.com
A year ago, this became the first book I ever read about Catholicism written by a Catholic. Numerous books and articles later, I still must say that this is the best lay-oriented book for introducing the Catholic faith to non-Catholics. Given the great amount of material covered in a single volume, Cardinal Gibbons does an excellent job in addressing the main Protestant charges against the Catholic Church.

In comparison to the more recent apologetics (like David Currie, Steve Ray, and Scott Hahn), I think Gibbons is a better writer (in both style and analysis). In fact, I prefer the 19th century apologist-theologians (e.g., Johann Adam Möhler, Matthias Scheeben, and Cardinal Newman) over the more recent. They were more critically-engaged with Protestant and Enlightenment thought and able to articulate the positions in a superior prose; as well, they demonstrate that the issues are fundamentally the same as today.

As a companion piece to this book, I would recommend Fulton J. Sheen's autobiography, Treasure in Clay, as an insight into how a Catholic lives his faith.
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catholicism without threatening the non-Catholic reader. 18 Jan 1999
By Frederick A. Costello - Published on Amazon.com
Cardinal Gibbons documents the talks he gave to mixed groups of Catholics and non-Catholics in Virginia and North Carolina. The talks explained the faith, its Biblical basis, and the supporting rationale in a way that is thorough yet palatable for non-Catholics. In replying to the common criticisms raised by non-Catholics, Cardinal Gibbons might well be responding today. The criticisms have persisted. The non-Catholics apparently ignore the replies. Because the book is so friendly, it can be safely and productively given to non-Catholics, especially those interested in the Catholic faith.
To determine if you need to read the book, consider how you would (1) explain what the Church teaches concerning the following topics; (2) demonstrate the Biblical basis for the teaching; and (3) describe the logical basis for the belief.
1. There is but one God, but three persons in this one God. 2. The true church of God must be: 1. One 2. Holy 3. Apostolic 4. Universal (catholic) 5. Perpetual 3. The Church teaches infallibly. 4. God appointed the Catholic Church to be the custodian and interpreter of the Bible. 5. God appointed St. Peter the first Pope and continues the leadership of the Church through his successors. 6. The Pope teaches infallibly. 7. The Pope's temporal power is suitable. 8. Invoking the help of the saints is appropriate and beneficial. 9. Honoring the Blessed Mother and asking for her intercession is appropriate and beneficial. 10. Statues are beneficial to our practice of the Catholic faith. 11. There is a place called Purgatory and our prayers for the dead help those in Purgatory. 12. The Catholic Church is the most tolerant of all other religions and non-religions (such as atheism), the Inquisition not withstanding. 13. Each of the seven sacraments are outward signs, instituted by Christ to give grace. 14. The seven sacraments are important, and some necessary, for our salvation. 15. Receiving Holy Communion under one species is sufficient. 16. The Mass is a divinely commanded sacrifice. 17. The vestments and setting of the Mass, including the church building and it adornments, are appropriate. 18. Indulgences are appropriate and beneficial for both the living and the dead. 19. The celibate, male priesthood is an important part of the Catholic faith. 20. Marriage is forever.
Those of you who have been schooled in Catholic apologetics will recognize that no time is given to the historicity of the Bible or Jesus' claim to divinity.
In reading the book, you will discover some of the changes that have occurred in the Church since 1876, almost all of which have come after Vatican II but not because of Vatican II. For example, we now use a lower-case C for Catholic in the Creed. We no longer use Latin, despite the arguments Cardinal Gibbons uses for retaining Latin. We no longer have Mass every day because we skip the Mass of Holy Saturday. Many prayers no longer are assigned indulgences. Even the meaning of "100 days indulgence" has changed.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review from the Publisher 8 Mar 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book is one of many TAN Books that have helped convert many to a strong Catholic Faith. In the case of "The Faith of Our Fathers," both Scott Hahn and Gerry Matatics mention it by name as having personally affected their Protestant beliefs. "The Faith of Our Fathers" is and always has been an incredibly popular and successful book explaining the basic tenets of the Catholic faith and (more importantly) why we hold them. It delves into the historical background of virtually everything people find hard to understand about our religion, such as priestly celibacy, sacred images, the Church and the Bible, the primacy of Peter, Communion under one kind, invocation of the saints, etc. First published in 1876, during the heat of violet anti-Catholicism in the United States, the book sold 1.4 million copies in forty years and has been reprinted many times since. It will confirm one's faith in the truth of the Catholic Church like no other and will arm the reader to answer the questions so often posed by skeptics and unbelievers.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book 28 Nov 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I found this book to be one of the best books on explaining why Catholics do what they do. As a new convert, I have read Scott Hahn's material and other books on converting, but this book, written in the 1800's is the forerunner to a lot of what these other people are saying. It really made me think and his reasoning was compelling. I would recommend this book first to anyone thinking of converting to Catholicism.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A precise definition of the Catholic position 15 Jan 2001
By NYJ - Published on Amazon.com
The first edition of this book was written in 1876, and the fact that you can still buy it today, and that millions of these books have been sold (over 4 million copies), are testament to the vibrancy and truth that is contained within this book.
In an age when Catholicism was the "new kid on the block" in America, Cardinal Gibbons, an Archbiship of Chicago, wrote this book to inform and educate non-Catholics on the biblical soundness of the Catholic Church. This book also has proven to be a highly rewarding read for the Catholic as well, who can always use a bit of a reminder of their faith. In addition, this is an excellent resource for apologists. The answers are clear, concise and contain scriptural support for each position. Granted, some of the material (as it relates to Cardinal Gibbons when he refers to the present-day world) is out-dated, but this is not a problem throughout the whole book (maybe a couple of references to the "present day" will need some research since they did happen over a century ago).
For those who wish to seriously inquire about the Catholic Church, this book should be able to answer most (if not all) of your questions. For those who wish to have an excellent tool available to defend and proclaim the legitimacy of the Catholic Church, this book will lend you that support and defense. However, people wishing to learn more about Marian doctrine should not go to this book to find those answers... why? Because this book does not spend much time talking about these matters.
So what topics are covered? The priesthood, celibacy, temporal power of the popes (necessity), infallibility, purgatory and scripture are a few of the topics this book covers.
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