147. Catholicism for Dummies by Rev. John Trigilio Jr.

Catholicism for Dummies by Rev. John Trigilio Jr., PhD, ThD and Rev. Kenneth Brighenti, PhD
Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur

Pages: 394
Ages: 18+
Finished: Aug. 16, 2009
First Published: 2003
Genre: Non-fiction, Religion, Catholic, Theology
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

Being Catholic means living a totally Christian life and having a Catholic perspective.

Reason for Reading: I bought this book when I decided to convert to Catholicism last year. I never did read it but used the index frequently, looking up topics, especially during RCIA classes and now that I've been Catholic since last Easter I've decided to devote some time to reading about my religion and thought this would be a great place to start.

Comments: This book is a great big overview of what it means to be Catholic from the basics, to the rituals, to the Sacraments, to the most sacred beliefs, to the most misunderstood traditions and ends with brief bios of famous Catholics and Saints and a whirlwind history of the Church. Chockful of all sorts of information! Written in a easy going narrative, open to any level of reader, even when the topics take a turn towards the theological easy everyday analogies are made to reach the understanding of the layperson. The authors also have a sense of humour which turns up every now and then causing a smile and each Part is started with a Rich Tennant "The 5th Wave" comic.

A blurb on the front states the book is for "all ages and beliefs", but honestly I don't think this is the type of book that just anyone would want to pick up and read for the fun of it. While it does cover basic Catholic believes it also does get quite deep into Catholicism and controversial subjects and is written from the point of view of Catholics, thus, that the truth is being presented. So, if you have no real interest in the Catholic faith this book will not be of use to you. However, it is the perfect book for someone who is considering converting, someone already taking RCIA classes, a new convert or someone who has a close friend or family member who either is Catholic or is converting and you seriously want to understand their faith and finally I would also recommend the book for cradle Catholics who have left the Church and are returning or thinking of returning, as a refresher.

Personally, I read a lot of things I already knew. I also finally saw the light on several subjects that I never truly really understood before such as why exactly the real *need* for infant baptisms among others and while I've always believed in purgatory (even as a Protestant {gasp}! now I *really* get it). I discovered many new things, particularly concerning the history of the Church. We don't learn this in RCIA and they certainly don't teach it in public education. Truly fascinating stuff! Not only the history of the Church but the history of the Sacraments themselves and the traditions that come straight from Jesus and the disciples. One of the most fascinating things I learned of was the Incorruptibles which I've been googling ever since and will certainly read more about later on.

The only negative remark I have is that this book was printed in 2003. I bought my book last year (2008) and received the 10th printing. It's certainly more than time to update to a 2nd edition as there are many instances in the text that could do with updating and of course Pope Benedict XVI needs to be included.

Now that I'm finished with this book I am left with many page corners dog-eared because they reference topics or writers that I want to read about in the future, a short list of theological questions that I'll be taking to my priest and a great desire to continue reading. Highly recommended for that "first" book you pick up on Catholicism.

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  1. Hmmm, probably not the place to spout my thoughts, but honestly, I think people could stand to know a little more about the religions they choose to practice (and preach). Good for you Nicola, for wanting to know and understand all you can. I've been hearing things about this book lately and I'm glad you found it mostly useful and informative.

  2. Glad our book was of some assisstance on your journey of faith. We also wrote "CATHOLICISM ANSWER BOOK: 300 of the most frequently asked questions"


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