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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for the soul and its thinking parts..., 16 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Catholicism (Hardcover)
Catholicism is a thorough guide to the spiritual context of Christianity as a whole and provides a detailed description of what the Roman Catholic Church is about. Non-Catholic Christians may demur about the author's definition of the difference between the RC crew (and I'm a member!) and the other constituent parts of the Christian world, but it should be worth your while persevering. Some Catholics may also be surprised about what they are supposed to believe, especially as quite a lot of us are lazy about faith and practice. This book gives people an opportunity to reflect on many things.

Catholicism is the core material for a DVD-based programme of study now on offer in parishes throughout the UK. I have read the book as an alternative to the course, mainly because I don't want to see the filmed version which, from the preview, is likely to be a bit BBC with landscapes, art and "uplifting music". I imagine the book, the DVD and the group discussions would be the whole package. You can choose: Catholicism - the book, the DVD and even the faith itself - is no longer compulsory, which is wholly good and proper.

This is not a book that will explain (away) the Catholic Church's serious crimes and lapses over its history. There are references to those issues but the book is not for that purpose, so if you're looking for a critique of the bad stuff, this is not for you. In a sense, this is quite brave because the behaviour of the Church gives plenty of ammunition to those who reject it: invective sells better. The author, however, is aiming to reveal the love and purpose of Christ and to inspire reflection and even return for those who no longer practise their faith.

It would be a shame if this book were left to practising Catholics looking for a recharge of batteries. This is an opportunity to explore the nature of Catholicism and the way Catholics think, and even Catholics will be surprised at what they should be thinking because our actions don't always make this clear.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Mar 2014 15:59:08 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Mar 2014 16:05:47 GMT
Out of interest, is there a book that explains away the Catholic Churches crimes? I'd like to read it. Presumably, the author would have a bit of a job on his hands if he had taken that task on. I expect that if this book is aimed at Catholics, they may not want to be reminded of the church's crimes, and as such the author isn't being brave, he's ducking the issue. I would still like someone to explain why Gallileo was classified a heretic by the Catholic church until 1992.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Mar 2014 20:09:41 GMT
T. ORR says:
The author's task was to explain the religion, practice and beliefs, and perhaps the psyche of the Catholic. There is mention of the many crimes and failings of the Church, but that would, as you say, be a bit of a job. Galileo is my pet example too of the Church being totally wrong about something and taking aeons to revise its position. In religion, the message often gets sidelined by meanness or madness, so a book on Catholicism about how things should be and why they should be can be a good thing for Catholics ignorant of some of the fundamentals and for the curious seeking to understand. We don't hear about the people who sacrifice their lives for the good of others, just the pathetic or nasty ones that fail the vulnerable. it's not just faiths that suffer that affliction...

I wouldn't recommend reading this book to anyone seeking apologies of any sort!

The trouble with religion and the hackles it raises, is that dialogue can get a bit fractious. My example would be people who say that religion causes war and we'd be better off without it. I give you fascism and communism which managed to kill millions in the last century, only trumped by the 'flu.
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