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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A universally accessible book on Catholicism
Catholicism is a word that encompasses many distinct meanings: a religion, a church, a way of life, a geographical region perhaps. Catholicism is all of these things and much more - it is a Christian sect (to most of its members THE Christian sect) that strives to be all encompassing and universal, as its very name implies. And yet it is probably the form of Christianity...
Published on 18 April 2011 by Dr. Bojan Tunguz

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Limited Introduction
I bought this short book with the aim of finding out more about Catholicism. To be honest it didn't tell me much that I didn't already know.I was looking for a book that would explain such Catholic beliefs as purgatory and the Assumption of Mary in more detail,but this book didn't go into too much detail about these two issues and a lot of other things as well . However...
Published on 3 May 2012 by L. Davidson


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A universally accessible book on Catholicism, 18 April 2011
By 
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catholicism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Catholicism is a word that encompasses many distinct meanings: a religion, a church, a way of life, a geographical region perhaps. Catholicism is all of these things and much more - it is a Christian sect (to most of its members THE Christian sect) that strives to be all encompassing and universal, as its very name implies. And yet it is probably the form of Christianity that invites the most controversy. To the outsiders it can seem imposing and even threatening, and many groups implicitly or explicitly define their raison d'être as the opposition to Catholicism. The opposition is not limited to the outsiders, and there are many who call themselves Catholics who have serious issues and misgivings about certain aspects of Catholic teachings. And yet, for millions of people around the globe Catholicism remains a cornerstone of their lives and a source of great joy and fulfillment. It is often said that the Catholic Church is much vaster from the inside than it is from the outside. For all these vastly different points of view, be they opposing or promoting, it is useful to get themselves familiarized with what Catholicism really is. They owe it to themselves to understand this Catholicism better, and in achieving that goal I cannot think of a better first step than reading this slim yet informative book.

The book is written by Father Gerald O'Collins, S.J. research professor of theology at St. University College, Twickenham, and formerly the dean of the Faculty of Theology at Gregorian University in Rome. He is obviously a Catholic "insider," but that does not prevent him from making a book that is readable by and aimed at the general reader. The advantage of a Catholic theologian writing a book on Catholicism is that the reader is guaranteed to get a full picture of how Catholics understand themselves, their faith and their Church.

The book's chapters cover a handful of main themes - the history of Catholicism, Catholic Theology, the sacraments and church practices, the spiritual life, the moral and social teachings, the organization of the Catholic Church and the future of Catholicism. Each one of these topics could easily occupy vast number of volumes or even whole libraries full of books, and it is not always the easiest thing to exercise prudential judgment in choosing how much space to devote to each one of them. Many things will necessarily be omitted or just mentioned in passing. Overall, however, Father O'Collins does a remarkably good job of covering all the essential features of Catholicism.

The book is easy to read. It is written in an easy-going and legible style, but it is not condescending to the reader. It assumes a willing and interested reader who wants to learn about a new (or perhaps an old) subject.

Overall, this is a splendid book and another publishing success for the Oxford University Press. If you have any interest in Catholicism, this is a worthwhile volume to read. And just like the Catholicism itself, the appeal of this book is truly universal.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent introduction to Catholic history and beliefs, 18 July 2010
This review is from: Catholicism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Despite the fact that this is a very short book (as the title implies), I found it full of useful information.
It briefly outlines the history, practices and beliefs of Catholics impartially and honestly.
Furthermore, the author doesn't shy away from tackling the most troublesome issues related to the Church, including the lack of priests and the possible future ordination of women as deacons.
As a former Catholic for 23 years, I can say that this book does not contain any exageration or propaganda, but only real, proven facts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Limited Introduction, 3 May 2012
By 
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catholicism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I bought this short book with the aim of finding out more about Catholicism. To be honest it didn't tell me much that I didn't already know.I was looking for a book that would explain such Catholic beliefs as purgatory and the Assumption of Mary in more detail,but this book didn't go into too much detail about these two issues and a lot of other things as well . However the book outlines the history of Catholicism in some detail and expounds well it's core beliefs and practices, so it is useful if the reader knows nothing at all or very little about the religion. But for those seeking more detail and knowledge , I believe that it is of limited use only.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad!, 28 Mar 2013
By 
Mr. C. J. Murphy (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catholicism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Well written and simple guidebook to the worlds biggest religion. Not particularly easy reading, and very dry, but given this book involves Theology that should be expected.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No Imprimatur. Not Catholic., 5 Dec 2012
This review is from: Catholicism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
This short introduction to Cafeteria Catholicism is good in places but should be noted is without an Imprimatur by a serving Bishop. This leaves it free to gives false positions that are justified by the 1960s logic of rebellion and dissent in the name of freedom of choice. Morality as an absolute from God has no place in the authors Universe. Notably on page 101 the author gives scandal to the suggestion that artificial contraception is OK - encouraging an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil and thus breakings the Sixth Commandment.

By conflating Vatican II statements and elevating a married couples individual's conscience above the encyclical of Pope Paul VI,Humanae Vitae, he uses sophistry and twists arguments from John Paul I to justify, condone and promote artificial contraceptive methods. This approach is the apoethesis of liberal Cafeteria Catholicism from the 1960s and has been condemned roundly and clearly by every pope including Benedict XVI as disruptive theology. The only birth control method recognised is Periodic Continence (Catholic Catechism 2nd ed. 2370).

Read this if you want to understand a bit about the brand of theology that has led the Church to the precipice in the last fifty years. Cardinal Josef Ratzinger(Pope Benedict XVI) noted that sin will continue to the end of time and the only way to eradicate it would be to eradicate Free Will. Gerald Collins has found a quicker and easier way to eradicate Sin. Conscious denial of Sin makes one a deadly enemy of Christ's Holy and missionary Church, whereas being a sinner makes a living soul a candidate for mercy and salvation. Traditional concepts such as the Church's Mission, Salvation and Sin are notably scant. The Church exists not to court the popularity of the World but to save souls.
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Catholicism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Catholicism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Gerald O'Collins (Paperback - 27 Nov 2008)
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