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Truth of Catholicism: Ten Controversies Explored [Paperback]

George Weigel


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Book Description

11 Jan 2001
What does being a Catholic mean? Is there a distinctively Catholic way of seeing things? What does the Catholic Church teach about the human condition -- about our lives, our loves, and our destiny? In The Truth of Catholicism, best-selling author George Weigel explores these perennial questions through the prism of ten contemporary controversies. The Catholic Church may be the most controversial institution in the world. Some find its teachings inexplicable, puzzling, even cruel. George Weigel suggests that we look at Catholicism and its controversies from "inside" the convictions that make those controversies not only possible, but necessary The truths of Catholicism then come into clearer focus as affirmations and celebrations of human life and human love, even as they challenge us to imagine a daring future for humanity and for ourselves. Is Jesus uniquely the savior of the world? Does belief in God limit our freedom? What are we doing when we pray? Is the moral life about rules or about happiness? Doesn't suffering contradict the biblical claim that God is good? How does the Catholic Church think about other Christians and about other great world religions? Are Catholics safe for democracy? What will become of us? In an engaging, accessible style, George Weigel leads us through these and other questions into the truth of Catholicism: the truth about a God passionately in love with his creation, the truth about a love that creates a vast, liberating terrain on which to live a fully human life.


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About the Author

George Weigel is one of the world's foremost authorities on the Catholic Church and the author of the New York Times bestseller Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II. He is a Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and a consultant on Vatican affairs for NBC News.

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First Sentence
In September 2000, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, often described as "the successor to the Inquisition" caused a global uproar by issuing a doctrinal dec, Dominus Iesus [The Lord Jesus], which vigorously reasserted the classic Christian teaching that Jesus Christ is uniquely the savior of the world, for everyone everywhere. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
95 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Intoxicating Nature of Catholicism 5 Jan 2002
By Conor B. Dugan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
George Weigel has written a little masterpiece here. The Truth of Catholicism is a gem with a simple premise: accept an invitation to examine Catholicism from the inside and one might likely end up staying. Like Witness to Hope his authoritative biography of Pope John Paul II where Weigel successfully attempted to understand the Pope from the inside, Weigel here looks at the central principles and beliefs of Catholicism and how these radiate outwards to create a cohesive and compelling engagement with the world-in short he examines Catholicism from the inside.
One of the book's great gifts is the accessibility of the writing. I am always struck by how Weigel can take the complex and lengthy and render it understandable and concise. Weigel does not avoid the thorny issues either; rather, this book is about the thorny issues, about how Catholicism's primary convictions lead to convincing answers about the tough questions. Take for instance the often debated question of women's ordination. In just a few short pages, Weigel offers a persuasive answer to why the Catholic Church teaches that she cannot ordain women. (I will let you read the book to get his answer).
Truth of Catholicism is a great gift for inquiring minds of any or no faith. For those who are puzzled by the paradox of a person like Cardinal O'Connor who could be a forceful teacher of the Church's sexual doctrine while changing the bedpans of AIDS patients, this book explains that there is no paradox. Catholic Christianity when lived to its fullest does not lend itself to the neat labels of the secular press. The book is also a great read for the average Catholic who like me is the product of poor catechesis. In a short 180 pages, Weigel teaches more than one is likely to learn in most Catholic religious education programs over one's childhood and adolescence.
In short, I cannot recommend Weigel's book highly enough. It paints a picture of an intoxicating adventure-the adventure of Catholicism.
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sophisticated and Philosophical Presentation 28 Dec 2002
By Oswald Sobrino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
George Weigel presents ten controversies involving the truths of Catholicism in a highly persuasive and thoughtful manner. One example will illustrate how his approach sheds light on usually intractable and emotional issues. On the issue of priestly ordination of women, Weigel cogently points out that before getting into mutual recriminations, people should first consider the Catholic view of the ordained priesthood. It is not viewed as just another job or as just being a mere delegate of an assembly of Catholics. The priest is an icon of Christ who represents Christ the Bridegroom in his ministry to the laity. In Catholic understanding, the ordained priesthood is primarily sacramental, not functional. To fulfill that iconic and sacramental role, the Church reserves ordination to males.
By elucidating controversial issues in this manner, Weigel sheds light that can expose the unexamined assumptions that usually make useful discussion impossible.
50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex Issues Explained Simply and Clearly 14 Feb 2002
By Steven K. Szmutko - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a short book, and it is not comprehensive with respect to ALL of the issues which confront Catholic's today. It is not intended to be. Nonetheless, "The Truth of Catholicism : Ten Controversies Explored," provides a clear presentation and lucid, (relatively) easy-to-understand explanations of many of the controversies, problems and challenges facing the Catholic Church.
Unlike some books in the old-style apologetic tradition, this book presents the various topics with a reasoned prose so that the reader understands not only WHAT the position of the church is, but the HOW and WHY the church holds its positions. As a result, both faithful Catholics and skeptics alike can develop a deeper understanding of the Church.
49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great service to the Church!!!! 15 Jun 2002
By Richard A. Libby - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Mr. Weigel has written a fine synthesis of Catholic teaching, which is not an easy task. His book is not too long; it's easy to read and very informative.
Weigel's book has two distinct advantages that might set it apart from some others. First, Weigel is a layman, rather than a priest or religious. This removes the appearance of self-interest and marks it as a labor of love. Second, Weigel doesn't address individual issues at length, but tries to convey the Catholic "big picture". He shows that being Catholic involves every aspect of one's life, and not just what we believe, what we don't believe, how we practice our faith, and so forth. (He does address a number of individual issues, but none of them at length. Instead, he situates them within the bigger picture.)
Weigel's book is an invitation. It is neither triumphalistic nor condescending. A sincere non-Catholic seeker will find food for thought here. Mr. Weigel has done the Church a great service.
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book pulls no punches 9 Oct 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
An excellent book that directly and succinctly explains many issues at the heart of Christianity today....and one that doesn't water down matters. To the reviewers who feel snubbed by Weigel's work I would suggest you re-read the book. As a Christian I didn't perceive any arrogance in his 'apologia'.
Perhaps some Catholics have a mistaken understanding (or under appreciation) of the Church as the Bride of Christ. This would go for many non-Catholic Christians as well. However, this is most likely attributable to our age's poverty when it comes to appreciating all things transcendent. This book is well worth a read, and frankly, a re-read and reflection. And if you liked this book, Weigel's other works, consider his biography of JP2 'Witness to Hope' and his 'Courage to be Catholic'. Weigel is one of the most approachable and competent Catholic apologist on the scene today, as is Peter Kreeft.
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