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The Truth of Catholicism: Inside the Essential Teachings and Controversies of the Church Today

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Product details

  • Library Binding: 208 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439568456
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439568453
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Product Description

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very good insight into the truth of Catholicism. Would recommend it to anyone interested in finding out about the faith.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x95a2b72c) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95d96438) out of 5 stars Eye opening 24 Jan. 2003
By just bein' Frank - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr. Weigel, an eminent Catholic theologian, truly does the Church a service by explaining in depth the reasoning behind some of Catholicism's most controversial positions. Whether you are a committed Catholic or an ex-Catholic, you will benefit from this book.
The one aspect of "The Truth of Catholicism" that stands out in my mind is its philosophical/theological approach to issues. This isn't a conventional book in the sense that one can "open" to "the" chapter on, say, contraception and find answers. Mr. Weigel's book is brilliantly cumulative; that is, understanding of succeeding topics depends on understanding of certain Catholic principles and concepts that he spells out before discussing the actual "controversies." "The Truth of Catholicism," for me, was eye opening because it explained these bedrock principles that, as a Catholic, even I had not understood or been aware of. It really gave me an appreciation for the sheer depth of Catholic philosophy and thinking.
My only complaint is that the book was just too short! Regrettably, the author leaves some to be desired on the issues of divorce and ordination of women. As I was reading I wanted to dialogue with Mr. Weigel, ask him questions about this or that conclusion. But I do recommend the book wholeheartedly!
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a5a327c) out of 5 stars Apologetics with Panache 13 Sept. 2004
By Rich Leonardi - Published on
Format: Paperback
Weigel explains the ten "controversies" that critics of the Faith usually challenge Catholics to defend, e.g., the all-male priesthood, the Church's teaching on sexuality, and the Church as the sacrament of salvation.

In less than two hundred pages, he provides succinct, faithful explanations footnoted to official documents like the Cathecism of the Catholic Church.

This book is highly recommended to the lightly-catechized as a way to explore the Faith "from the inside", as Evelyn Waugh once put it, and to other Catholics seeking a chartitable way of explaining truths to critics both inside and outside the Church.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96f65900) out of 5 stars A teaching essential for students of Catholicism 6 Jan. 2005
By Kathleen D. Pacyna - Published on
Format: Paperback
Thank God someone has finally stepped up to the plate and dared to take on the questions of "What do Catholics actually believe and WHY do Catholics believe this?" in a tone that suggests there might actually be some meaning behind the doctrine of this monumental institution. From the first page, Weigel establishes exactly how he will respond to the ever-present critics and cynics who keep the Catholic Church constantly in their sight: truthfully, carefully, and without apology. What a refreshing change in a cultural climate that suggests the Church exists for something other than the mission on which its foundations were originally established.

While I ultimately love and appreciate the content of this book, especially a light but accessible treatment of the true theology behind Catholic doctrine, I give the book four stars and not five because of a specific detail that, for me, detracts a bit from the overall point of the book. Weigel's clear and undying devotion to Pope John Paul II, a figure who was also the focus of a Weigel biography, clouds any attempt at an objective treatment of problematic doctrinal issues. I think some of the problems that create such cynicsm when it comes to the Church today are glossed over in an attempt to "protect" the portrayal of this man. While I completely understand the intention, this fact does seem to taint some of his credibility in reaching the people who may be questioning some of the decisions of the hierarchy of the Church. While Pope John Paul II has been a great positive force in the Church, he hasn't been the sole positive force in the Church which is a claim that Weigel implies at times.

Overall, this is the best book I've found for answers to some very complex questions. For a faith that, at times, appears completely countercultural, often for no good reason, this book gently but surely straightens out any misconceptions and paints a reasonable picture of the thought behind the belief.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95d968f4) out of 5 stars A Solid Introduction 28 Sept. 2007
By Kevin Birnbaum - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Truth of Catholicism is a good introduction to some of the Catholic beliefs and issues that are most commonly misunderstood and opposed by both non-Catholics and Catholics. George Weigel provides clear explanations of the Church's positions on such hot-button issues as the all-male priesthood, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, ecumenism, and salvation. Weigel writes with wit, style, and charity, and he never dumbs down the truth of the Catholic faith, which is the great strength of his book. I would recommend this book to curious Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
By Steven H Propp - Published on
Format: Paperback
Author George Weigel is a theologian and author of books such as Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church, The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform And The Future Of The Church, etc. [NOTE: page numbers below refer to the 196-page hardcover editon.]

He wrote in the introductory section of this 2001 book, "This small book explores ten of the controversies provoked by Catholicism today, from inside the convictions that make those controversies necessary. It is intended for Catholics who are anxious, curious, or unsure about what their Church really teaches and why, and Catholics who want to share their beliefs with friends and family, especially the young. It is equally intended for the many people who find it difficult to reconcile their admiration for certain Catholics---Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pope John Paul II, their next-door neighbor, or their coworker---with what seem incomprehensible, even cruel, doctrines. By coming inside and seeing how the Catholic vision of the human condition and the human prospect fit together, both the curious and the discontented will, it is hoped, be able to see affirmation and celebration of the human project in Catholicism, not condemnation and mindless prohibition." (Pg. 3)

He says of the liturgical changes after Vatican II, he says, "Though a small minority continues to find these changes difficult to accept, most Catholics have welcomed them enthusiastically, according to available survey research. It is true that Catholic practice, attendance at Sunday Mass and reception of the sacrament of penance ... has declined since Vatican II, in some instances precipitously. It would be a logical fallacy to assume that what happened after the Council always happened because of the Council, however. In the broadest terms, liturgical renewal has been widely accepted, and it is nostalgic to imagine a return to the way things were." (Pg. 61)

He observes, "The judgment that the Catholic Church is both prudish and sex-obsessed is deeply entrenched in the Western world today... But it's not the way things really are... the Church itself contributed to the myth's formation... Catholicism taught that marriage was a vocation, included marriage among the seven sacraments, and insisted that the couple... were the ministers of the sacrament of matrimony. Yet for centuries the Church also taught a theory of the ... purposes of marriage that too often turned into a denigration of sexual love... The Catholic Church never officially taught that sexual love within the bond of marriage was inherently and intrinsically darkened by sin. To the contrary, the old marriage ritual included an instruction to the newlyweds in which they were told that 'no greater blessing can come to your married life than pure, conjugal love, loyal and true to the end.'" (Pg. 92-93)

He points out, "the Catholic Church believes that ecumenism and interreligious dialogue are not like old-fashioned labor negotiations. Ecumenism and interreligious dialogue are not, in other words, zero-sum games, in which one side's loss is necessary for the other's gain... If the Catholic Church would just give a bit on the unique salvific role of Jesus Christ, then Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus could concede that Jesus might be the savior of Christians, if not their own savior. It sounds reasonable---if you think religious truth claims are of little consequence, or if you think there is no such thing as truth. From the Catholic point of view... the labor negotiation model of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue doesn't work....If there are truths at stake, then anyone's loss is everyone's loss, and a gain of insight is everyone's gain." (Pg. 130-131)

Weigel’s provocative and informative book will be of great interest to anyone (particularly conservatives) interested in contemporary Catholic issues.
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