While the core truths of the Catholic Church do not change, Dynamic Catholicism outlines one thinker's view on how the interpretation and emphasis of various teachings evolve with historical context. I would not characterize Dynamic Catholicism a "catechism" per se, but a "perspective," and should be taken as an opinion on, not a definition of Catholicism. I find its value is enhanced when juxtaposed with its criticism, pro and con. Even the most conservative of Catholics must accept that the human element in the Church is capable of error by act or omission, even blunder, when viewed through the lense of historical hind sight. Pope John-Paul II himself has issued regrets for some of these human errors in recent years, which is in itself an implicit example of the dynamic nature of Catholicism. I found Dynamic Catholicism refreshing as a perspective.
Yes, buy and read this book, and a dozen others as well to get differing perspectives. Catholicism is the richest religious tradition ever, in my estimation, where even its faults are instructive as reflections of human nature in the historical context. Its dynamic evolution of understanding and expression is a reflection of the human's capacity to grow over time. Its teachings, intellectual debates and struggles are most valuable and challenging -- a fantastic Way to meld faith, intellect and human purpose.
Dynamic Catholicism by Thomas Bokenkotter is a breath of fresh air. When I have shared the title of this book with friends and told them I thought it is a great book they may want to read, they say "Catholicism --- dynamic?" It's inconceivable, to my circle anyway, to put those 2 words together positively. However, I feel it's a book that opens the windows of time and humanity and allows a review of historical events and how they shaped what we now call Catholicism which is still growing under Vatican II.
It appears that a lot of folks think that the reference in the Nicene Creed to "one, holy, catholic and apostolic church means 'their' Catholic church. A sincere reading of Dynamic Catholicism will clearly expose that attitude to be very narrow and uninformed. We could just use one example to make this point. Christianity (Catholicism) before Emperor Constantine verses after Constantine made Christianity the state religion. Before and after, is it still valid Catholicism / Christianity?
Oh, here's another : the dialogue that was engaged in by Luther, Calvin and others and the Roman Catholic Heirarchy in their day. Were they all wrong, some of them partly wrong or did they all really care about the practices of faith in their time?
I want my faith to be like that of the thief that hung next to Christ and believed He was the Son of God. A faith based on the risen Christ that I can express with the Apostles or Nicene Creed and I don't have to be worried about all the other rules and regulations created by a group of people who's opinions change with time (albeit centuries).
I can now be free in Jesus' Love and not bogged down by the 'laws' which He came to set us free from in the first place. This book has helped me struggle for the faith.
Let all the modern day Pharisees lighten up and let the Holy Spirit do His work in the spirit of love and understanding that Jesus' promised us before He left this earth.
Amen Brothers and Sisters