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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Catholicism (Complete Idiot's Guide To...)

by Robert T. O'Gorman, Mary Faulkner, Bob, Ph.D. O'Gorman

Buy the book: Robert T. O'Gorman. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Catholicism (Complete Idiot's Guide To...)

Release Date: 05 August, 2003

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Robert T. O'Gorman. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Catholicism (Complete Idiot's Guide To...)

Nice Format, but not always correct

When I opened this book, the first page I saw offered this information: upon entering Church, Catholics genuflect to show respect for the altar. Actually, we genuflect to show respect for the Eucharist, when it is present. Otherwise, we bow slightly to show respect for an empty altar.

While this example may seem minor, it is indicative of the general feeling I got as I moved through the book. In a nagging way, it seemed slightly inaccurate at times.

That's unfortunate, because I was impressed by the format and breadth of information - in a very readable form. That's a combination which is tough to find in any book about religion.

The book tries to introduce the reader to many of the cultural aspects of Catholicism such as meatless Fridays, ruler-wielding nuns, etc. This is the first time I've seen this much "Catholic trivia" in a book about Catholicism, which may be a large part of its appeal. The treatment of Catholic cultured seemed a bit cliched to me, but that's just one view. A person with a different (or non-Catholic) background may see it very differently.

Before you buy this book, you might take a look at Kevin Johnson's "Why Do Catholics Do That?" Johnson doesn't cover all the same information, particularly the cultural aspects, but his is also a very readable book which covers many of the doctrinal aspects in which Catholicism is different than most Christian traditions.

From Amazon.com

Watch out for errors

While the book gives a good idea of what the Catholic faith is, I noted after buying the book that it has some grave errors in its interpretation of Vatican II council documents. It tends to water-down the faith, which does not make the faith more attractive to non-believers--just more vague.

As a Catholic, I was disappointed at the authors' explanation of the sacraments and other beliefs..sometimes, they label as "mythology" what is in reality a "mystery." They also do not expound clearly on the mysteries of the Incarnation (i.e. When the 2nd person of the Trinity becomes true Man) and other dogmas of the faith.

I would not recommend this book to fellow Catholics, who are trying to understand their faith better.

From Amazon.com

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