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4 Stars Out Of 5
You'll learn a lot that you can use.
April 11, 2013
Remember how I planned to more thoroughly investigate authors if I had any doubts? Well I found this, and called it all good. And look at these sparkling names of guys who wrote blurbs for the back: Archbishop Charles Chaput? Scott Hahn? Brant Pitre? George Weigel? Raymond Arroyo? Mike Aquilina? And on the inside front flap? Cardinal Timothy Dolan, still identified as an archbishop! Not a loser in the bunch. (At least not on a professional level!) Speaking of Dolan, not long after I chose this book I heard Barron speak on Sirius's The Catholic Channel. One does wonder, though, why Barron didn't identify himself as "Father" on the cover of the book.
So was this book as bland as its title? In a word, no. My first impression was that this book's a tough one. Stick with it. It gets much easier. And it's loaded with insight about subjects you thought you knew. You're going to feel like you're listening to a Jeff Cavins or Steve Ray talk, or Catholic Answers Live.
Near-identical message to gods at war in the chapter "Happy Are We: The Teachings of Jesus." And it hits just as hard. I love this quote from Barron:
"Once we envision our own existence - and indeed the being of the entire universe - as the gift of a gracious God, we gladly resolve to give our lives away as a gift in love. And when we do that, we find ourselves increased thirty-, sixty-, and a hundredfold, the divine life continuing to flood into us."
This next part's my favorite: "Once we see that God is love, we are no longer afraid to risk the path of love."
"Idolatry" is clearly a hot topic right now. (Or God's trying to tell me something. Or both.) I checked out from the public library Dee Brestin's incredible Idol Lies: Facing the Truth about Our Deepest Desires. It must be new because it is a 14-day loan. I've sort of told my acquaintance about it, but I still need to give her the title and author. And she did, by the way, return gods at war. I recently bought online Kyle Idleman's other book not a fan and also, after Brestin's endorsement in her book, Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken.
Back to Catholicism: Barron delivers a one-two punch near the end: lives of four saintly people (Mother Teresa and Saints Katharine Drexel, Therese of Lisieux and Edith Stein) followed by a chapter on prayer and those who were good at it! I ate those up. This is what an anthology of saints' lives should be!
As Weigel says in his blurb, "Catholicism is one of the most significant efforts ever to advance what Pope John Paul II called 'The New Evangelization.'"
Read Chapter One
I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Catholicism by Father Robert Barron is a gorgeous and comprehensive tome detailing the intricacies and many layers of the Catholic faith. Having grown up Catholic, I am always fascinated that there is always more to learn about our faith. There is much I did not know about our faith traditions and history, and having read this complete resource, I feel much more knowledgeable about the special details of our faith.
This book was designed to accompany a film series of the same name. Fr. Barron compiled the book from scripts, and the topics are wide-ranging. I have not viewed the series, but from what I have read, it is a ten-part documentary, and it is likely that each of the ten chapters in the book correlates to a part of the series.
There are a mulititude of black-and-white photos of saints, statues, churches, stained glass, crucifixes, locations, and mosaics illustrating the text throughout. In addition, in the center of the book is a multi-page insert of full color photographs. The chapters investigate and elucidate everything from the teachings of Christ, to the role of Mary, to the significance of the Eucharist to Catholics, to the significance of eternity and heaven.
Each chapter is a mini-book that can stand on its own. It is clear that Fr. Barron is enthusiastically knowledgeable about the Catholic faith, and if you would like a deep and broad view into our church, cannot think of a better book to read and then place on your shelf, beautiful cover facing out, to refer to time and again.
Waterbrook Multnomah provided this book to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review.