Catholicism For Dummies

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Overview

The easy way to grasp the ins and outs of Catholicism

Catholicism For Dummies is not a catechism or religious textbook, but a casual, down-to-earth introduction for Catholics and non-Catholics. It gives commonsense explanations of Catholic weddings, Baptisms, funerals, Confirmations, and First Communions. You'll also discover other important topics that can help you better understand the Catholic culture—from morality and devotions to worship ...

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Overview

The easy way to grasp the ins and outs of Catholicism

Catholicism For Dummies is not a catechism or religious textbook, but a casual, down-to-earth introduction for Catholics and non-Catholics. It gives commonsense explanations of Catholic weddings, Baptisms, funerals, Confirmations, and First Communions. You'll also discover other important topics that can help you better understand the Catholic culture—from morality and devotions to worship and liturgy.

There are more than one billion Catholics in the world, and each one shares a foundational set of basic beliefs and practices that he or she follows. Some of the teachings of Catholicism are thousands of years old, while others are more recent. So what is the Catholic culture like and what do they believe? Catholicism For Dummies answers these and many other questions.

  • Various stances within American Catholicism today
  • Covers the death of John Paul II and the succession of Pope Benedict XVI, who has supported the return of the Latin Mass among congregations who desire to celebrate it
  • Expanded information on baptism, confirmation, and the other sacraments
  • New information about the priesthood and religious life today
  • Twenty-first-century issues and questions modern Catholics face, including gay marriage, abortion, and the death penalty

Catholicism For Dummies presents a rich tapestry and history of the Catholic faith—from devotions to doctrines. This intelligent and faithful look at Catholicism will open your eyes to this religion and answer many of the questions you may have about it.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118077788
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/8/2011
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 35,508
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Rev. John Trigilio, Jr., PhD, ThD, is President of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and co-hosts with Fr. Brighenti several programs on the Eternal Word Television Network.

Rev. Kenneth Brighenti, PhD, is a member of the Board of Directors for the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and was a U.S. Naval Reserve Chaplain.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I: What Do Catholics Believe? 7

Chapter 1: What It Means to Be Catholic 9

Chapter 2: Having Faith in God’s Revealed Word 21

Chapter 3: In the Beginning: Catholic Teachings on Creation and Original Sin 37

Chapter 4: Believing in Jesus 47

Chapter 5: Defi ning "The Church" and What Membership Means 65

Chapter 6: Who's Who in the Catholic Church 73

Part II: Celebrating the Mysteries of Faith 95

Chapter 7: Body and Soul: Worshipping Catholic Style 97

Chapter 8: Entering the Church: Baptism, Communion, and Confi rmation 107

Chapter 9: The Sacraments of Service and Healing 125

Chapter 10: Celebrating the Catholic Mass 145

Part III: Living a Saintly Life 173

Chapter 11: Obeying the Rules: Catholic Law 175

Chapter 12: Loving and Honoring: The Ten Commandments 187

Chapter 13: Being Good When Sinning Is So Easy 203

Chapter 14: Standing Firm: The Church's Stance on Some Sticky Issues 219

Part IV: Praying and Using Devotions 245

Chapter 15: Growing in the Faith 247

Chapter 16: Showing Your Love for God 261

Chapter 17: Expressing Affection for Mary 275

Chapter 18: Honoring the Catholic Saints 291

Chapter 19: Practicing Catholic Traditions 311

Part V: The Part of Tens 329

Chapter 20: Ten Famous Catholics 331

Chapter 21: Ten (Plus One) Popular Catholic Saints 341

Chapter 22: Ten Popular Catholic Places 351

Part VI: Appendixes 361

Appendix A: A Brief History of Catholicism 363

Appendix B: Popular Catholic Prayers 391

Index 399

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Interviews & Essays

Rev. John Triglio, Jr. and Rev. Kenneth Brighenti, co-authors of Catholicism for Dummies, 2nd Edition,answer questions about the Holy Trinity, the sacraments, the third edition of the Roman Missal in English, and more.

Q: Why do Catholics believe that God is three Persons, called the Holy Trinity? How can God be three Persons and still be one God?
A: The 28th chapter of Matthew's Gospel has Jesus say to His Apostles: 'go baptize in the name of the FATHER, and of the SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT.' The ecumenical council of Nicea in 325 affirmed that there is ONE GOD IN THREE PERSONS as stated in the Nicene Creed (formulated by the Council) Thus both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition affirm the Trinitarian dogma. Any denomination that denies the divinity of Christ and/or the dogma of the Holy Trinity (one God in three Persons), is NOT Christian. Each Person is distinct from the other two but none are separate from the rest. There is on God, so that means ONE DIVINE INTELLECT and ONE DIVINE WILL. Yet three Persons are in God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Each person RELATES to the other two. FATHER is a word which bespeaks a relationship. There can be no father if there is no child. Without a son or daughter, there is only a husband or just a man but Father demands a relationship. Likewise, the word SON bespeaks a filial relationship. Sons exist because they had a parent (mother and father). If the Father is eternal, so is the Son. If there is one second where there is no Son, then at that very moment there is no Father. Fatherhood and Sonship are a relationship. AS the Father and Son share the SAME substance (and not merely a similar one), we say the Son is CONSUBSTANTIAL with the Father. Sharing the same intellect and will, the Father and Son LOVE each other PERFECTLY as God and that mutual act of divine love spirates the Holy Spirit.

Q: Why do Catholics believe that their Church is the one true Church of Jesus Christ?
A: Jesus Christ founded the Church in Matthew 16:18 on the rock of Peter. Peter was the first pope and first bishop of Rome. There have been 266 successors of Saint Peter as bishops of Rome who simultaneously were head of the Church. That continuity for two millennia cannot be denied or disputed. The link from Pope Benedict XVI to Saint Peter can be historically proven and documented. As Jesus said that the gates of hell shall not prevail over His Church, not even the East-West Schism in 1054 nor the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century could dissolve the foundation established by Christ Himself. The Church Jesus established was ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC and APOSTOLIC. The Catholic Church has one supreme head and that is the Pope, the Bishop of Rome. All popes trace their lineage back to Saint Peter, the first pope and first bishop of Rome. Other patriarchs existed, in Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople (later Moscow). But only the bishop of Rome was the Pope and supreme head of the Catholic Church. One leader is complemented by one set of laws and rules (Code of Canon Law) and one set of Seven Sacraments.

The Catholic Church has the FULLNESS of GRACE (all seven sacraments rather than only two) and the FULLNESS of TRUTH (Sacred Tradition AND Sacred Scripture rather than sola scriptura, or the bible alone). Other Christian churches have SOME grace insofar as their baptisms are valid and they have SOME truth insofar as they accept the inspiration and inerrancy of Sacred Scripture (but they lack Sacred Tradition) So it is not a matter of Catholicism being right and Protestantism being wrong, rather, it is that Catholicism has the FULLNESS and Protestantism has SOME or PARTIAL grace and truth. In areas where Catholicism, Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy agree in doctrine, then we say there is PARTIAL UNITY among the Christian churches. Where there are differences in doctrine and discipline, that is where prayers for reunion are directed.

Catholicism sees the herself as the Bride of Christ and as the Mystical Body of Christ. The Church is the societas perfecta (perfect society). This does NOT mean all the members and leaders are perfect. What it means is that the Church provides ALL the spiritual needs for her members. They do not need to go anywhere else. Faith and morals, doctrine and discipline, prayer and worship, are all provided, celebrated and protected by the Church.

Q: Where does the Pope get his authority to rule over the Catholic Church?
A: Jesus Christ Himself entrusted to Simon Peter the office of head of the church as stated in Matthew 16:18. Jesus said that Peter was the rock upon which He will build His church. The church was founded by Christ and the church belongs to Christ. It is His church. He also founded it on the rock of Peter and entrusted to him the keys of the kingdom. "whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven." The KEYS were not actual physical keys like we use to lock doors and turn on automobiles. The keys are SYMBOLIC. They represent AUTHORITY. In ancient times a king or emperor would select a trusted man to be his lord chancellor. This guy was literally given two keys. One, typically gold, was the key to the royal treasury where the king's gold was stored. The chancellor would deposit collected taxes and pay soldiers their salaries from that treasury in the name of the king. The second key, typically silver, was the key to the royal prison where the king's enemies would be kept. The chancellor would incarcerate convicted criminals and would release pardoned prisoners. Hence, he was the vicar for the king, his personal representative. That is why Jesus used the same imagery and verbally says to Peter that He gives him the KEYS TO THE KINGDOM and explicitly states that this authority is both on EARTH and in HEAVEN. Consequently, Peter and his successors (the popes) possess full, immediate, universal and supreme jurisdictional authority and are infallible on matters of faith and morals. Saint Peter founded the Christian community in Rome where he was also martyred by crucifixion on Vatican hill. As such, he is considered the first bishop of Rome. All subsequent successors of the bishop of Rome are simultaneously the supreme head of the Catholic Church with the title of Pope.

Q: Why do Catholics believe in seven sacraments, while Protestants believe in only two?
A: Catholic Christians believe Jesus instituted all seven sacraments. These sacred ceremonies were entrusted to the Church and the Church can neither add nor subtract from them anymore than she can to the Ten Commandments. Protestant Christians only believe in two sacraments (Baptism and Eucharist) because Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Hus, Cranmer, et al) broke from Rome and repudiated many doctrines including the teaching on seven sacraments. Besides the scriptural references to all seven, there is the testimony of Sacred Tradition. Divine Revelation comes through both Sacred Scripture (Bible) and Sacred Tradition. And there is also a logical explanation for having seven rather than two. The Seven Sacraments correspond to seven aspects of human life. On the natural level, every man and woman is physically BORN. On the spiritual and supernatural level, every Christian is BORN AGAIN in baptism (water and the Spirit). Next, after birth, a baby needs FOOD. Spiritually, Holy Communion (also called Holy Eucharist) is food for the soul. Children also GROW and MATURE and likewise this happens in the spiritual life when a baptized person receives the sacrament of CONFIRMATION. During one's life, sickness and accidental wounds occur and thus a person needs physical HEALING. Spiritually, sin is a disease to the soul and it is healed by the sacrament of PENANCE (also called Confession). Finally, before someone dies, they make preparations for their surviving family and for where they will be buried. People take out life insurance to cover their funeral costs and to provide for their loved ones. On a spiritual level, a believer prepares for death by the sacrament of the ANOINTING OF THE SICK which gives strength in time of pain and suffering and which gives grace to be prepared to meet one's maker at the moment of death. These five personal aspects are complemented by two communal ones. Men and women unite in marriage to have children and start new families. Spiritually, the relationship of husband and wife is raised to the level of a spiritual reality in the sacrament of MATRIMONY so the two can enter a permanent, faithful and fruitful union. On the natural level people select leaders to govern the community and on the spiritual level this happens in the sacrament of HOLY ORDERS from whence the hierarchy of the church originates (bishop, priest and deacon).

BAPTISM: Matthew 28:19-20
HOLY EUCHARIST: Mark 14:22-24. Matt. 26:26-28, Luke 22:19-20, John 6:52-54, 1 Cor. 10:16
CONFIRMATION: Acts 8:14-17; 19:6
ANOINTING OF THE SICK: James 5:14-15
PENANCE & RECONCILIATION: John 20:22-23
MATRIMONY: Matt. 19:5-6. Mark 10:7-9, Eph. 5:22-32
HOLY ORDERS: Heb. 5:1-4. Acts 20:28, 1 Tim. 4:14

Q: Exactly what is a sacrament, and what does it do for a person?
A: Sacraments are outward signs of invisible grace instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church. Each sacrament confers a special grace to help that man or woman do what the Lord wants them to do. Baptism and Penance confer SANCTIFYING GRACE which makes a person holy and thus able to go to heaven. The other sacraments confer SACRAMENTAL GRACE which empowers the person to do what is expected of them as a Christian (love God and love neighbor) in their specific vocation in life. Therefore, MATRIMONY confers the grace needed for a man and woman to be a good husband and wife and then a good father and mother. HOLY ORDERS confers the grace needed for a man to become an ordained minister and best serve the spiritual needs of the people entrusted to his care. Sacraments not only signify divine grace, they actually confer it. That is why sacraments are valid even if the minister is unworthy or if the recipients are unworthy (i.e., in the state of mortal sin). So, a bride and groom who are living in sin still validly marry in the sacrament of Matrimony and a priest guilty of mortal sin still validly celebrates the sacraments. This is an in built guarantee that the sacraments are not contingent on the spiritual state of the minister or the recipient. Receiving unworthily is a sin of sacrilege but does not invalidate the sacrament. Sacraments are necessary since they confer grace not available elsewhere.

Q: Why do Catholics confess their sins to priests?
A: Catholic Christians confess their sins to priests to fulfill and affirm the gift Jesus gave to the Apostles and Disciples and their successors (bishops and priests) when He said in the Gospel after the Resurrection on Easter: "He breathed on them and said "'Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, shall be forgiven. Whose sins you shall retain, are retained.'" (John 20:22, 23) Jesus thus gave the power to forgive sins to those ORDAINED as Holy Orders gives a special grace whereby a man acts IN PERSONA CHRISTI (in the Person of Christ) when he celebrates the sacraments. That is why the firs person singular pronoun is used: "I absolve you" or "this is my body ... this is my blood" or "I baptize you" When the ordained minister speaks these words, he is acting in the Person of Christ who is the main celebrant of every sacrament.

As the Church in the United States awaits the reception of the third edition of the Roman Missal in English, can you explain:

Q: Why is there a new translation?
A: Pope John Paul II promulgated a revision of the Roman Missal in the Jubilee Year of 2000. This was the third edition since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). The first was in 1970 and the second was in 1975. After each typical edition is done in Latin, a vernacular translation follows upon approval of the Vatican. The English translation of the 2000 Missal was printed in 2011 and will take effect the first Sunday of Advent, 2011 (November 27). This new English translation includes the changes in the rubrics that were made in the 2000 Latin text and most of all uses a more accurate and precise translation from Latin into the English vernacular. Previous English translations used a dynamic equivalence whereas the new text uses a formal correspondence. This means that the revised English translation is more literal to the Latin text and corresponds more to the other vernacular translations (Spanish, Italian, German, French, Polish, Portuguese, etc.) and the text also is more in sync with the Magisterial teachings of the church.

Q: Why are changes being made?
A: Changes were necessary to eliminate pedestrian language and restore a sense of sacred language appropriate for divine worship. Changes also needed to reiterate defined doctrines like the Incarnation. Hence, adjectives and adverbs which occur in the typical Latin text and which were dropped in the first two English translations are now reinserted. These modifiers mostly conveyed the sense of the sacred, holy and transcendence of the Almighty.

Q: Who makes those changes and what criteria do they use?
A: The American Bishops form a national conference called the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and they have a Committee on Divine Worship which oversaw the translation using Vatican rules in Liturgiam Authenticam (2001). Vox Clara was a Vatican commission that worked with ICEL (International Commission on English in the Liturgy) to translate the third edition from the official Latin. The goals were accuracy to the Latin text and correspondence to other contemporary vernacular translations as well as maintaining integrity with official church doctrine.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 17, 2009

    After years of study, we still find this book has a lot of food for thought as well as information for informed and uninformed alike.

    My husband and I have gone through various programs and courses of formation and study including a Ministry Formation program and his studies to prepare him for his ordination as a Deacon. There was a lot of tedious reading. This book is not tedious and gives a good brush up for Catholics, but we also use it to instruct RCIA Candidates and Catechumens who may not have read much about what the Catholic Church teaches. It certainly is not the Catholic Faith in its entirety and in detail, but there is enough information there to give those new to the faith a very solid base, and to give accurate and adequate information on the Catholic faith to those inquiring about what the Church really teaches or to those who are seeking to become Catholic. We find it a good springboard for deeper study and great for discussion in our classes. We have bought and given many copies, and will probably continue to do so.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2004

    Comments from a Protestant

    I noticed that the reviews of this book were written by Catholics (I'm assuming), so as a Protestant (raised in the Evangelical church) I thought I'd offer my comments on it. I've had a strong interest in Catholicism since my teens (I'm in college now), and this is one of the best and most complete books I've read on the Catholic faith. The authors explain everything in clear english and its style is not too sophisticated for common people, nor is it too simple for scholars. I enjoyed that the authors compare and contrast Catholic doctrines and Protestant doctrines. The authors also treat Orthodox and Protestant groups with respect and seem to want to promote unity among the devided Christian churches. I like the Dummies books verses the Complete Idiot books because there are less side bars to distract the reader and words are defined in the text rather than in a side bar or glossery. However, one feature of the Complete idiot books that I liked was that they sum up the main points of the chapter at the end of the chaper. I would also of liked this book to provide a recommended reading list or an index of places to get more information in Catholicism. But all of those faults can be easily forgiven. This is a excellent resource for those who want to know anything and everything about Catholicism. The book is arranged so that you can start at any section and not be confused (although, if you read it straight through, you will probably grow weary of constant repetitions and references to other chapters)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2012

    A fun read! A great lesson.

    Concise representation of Catholic teaching in common language. Some great examples. Much easier to read than the Catechism, but consistent with that, and includes references to it. We use it for RCIA classes, and though I'm one of the Catechists, I find this book clarifies what is sometimes vague in my own understanding. Highly recommended for any Catholic, and anyone else who wants to understand Catholic teaching. If more people read this, there would be very few who find offense at what the Church teaches.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    Good detailed overview

    Great for answering questions for a non-Catholic who wants to know why the church does things in such a distinct way. Explains the meanings and dispels myths about many Catholic misconceptions to include, sacraments, rituals, Mary, the Apostles and the origination of the Catholic faith and reasons that led to protestant splits.
    For a Catholic who feels their education is lacking, it explores many things not covered in contemporary Catholic schools. This includes the history of the Church, its hierarchy, and many failings and differences in the Catholic Bible

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2010

    Catholicism at your fingertips!

    Easy to use for beginners searching for answers in Catholicism. I think the title is condescending for the subject, but the "Dummy" series have been very popular for introductions of various subjects. This book, which I probably would not have purchased, was actually recommended to me by Sister Donna. It does not give you all the answers, but it does give you brief ones with maybe a direction to keep researching in. There is humor added to it, so it's not too dry. I haven't read it page by page, but if there is a something I am questioning or need an answer to, it does help summerize it on a surface level. This is not by any means a meaty book with all the answers. It does, however, canvas a lot of information on Catholicism. It's a good intro. book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    Great for converts

    All you want to know and in short simple sections

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012

    Great book & easy to understand!

    My mother refered this to me when I said I was interested in the catholic church. All I can say is mother does know best. A easy to read and understand book that helped me start my journey with a good overview.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2011

    Excellent resource

    Easy to read and great explanations and descriptions of the Catholic christian faith. Highly recommended, and not just to 'dummies'. : )

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    A terrific Catholic primer!

    Whatever you want to know about Catholicism is found in this book. Easy to read, with concrete examples. The difference between dogma and discipline, the priest sex scandal, the history of the Church, and clear explanations of the Sacraments makes this a winner. Whether you want to know more about your Catholic faith, or are a non-Catholic looking for answers, this is the book for you. We used this in my parish's RCIA classes with great success.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    A resource for everyone

    This is a great resource for everyone who has a question about the Catholic faith. This book provides great insight into the Catholic faith.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great survey of the Catholic faith

    It may be called "Catholicism for Dummies", but there is nothing dumb about this book. It gives a very clear and concise survey of the Catholic faith. As one who has a Master's Degree in Divinity and who is called on regularly to instruct people in the truths of the Catholic faith, I invariably use "Catholicism for Dummies." It is readable and very "user friendly." It presents Church doctrine in clear and concise terms. I give it my highest recommendation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2010

    HELPFUL

    My grand daughter just started at a Catholic School. This book has been very helpful to her especially since she had not had the experience of growing up as a Catholic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    Easy to read refresher course!

    We use this book for our adult classes for those who wish to become Catholic. It is very accurate and true to Church teachings. It is not at all dry, there are excellent anecdotes and "charms" throughout the book. Faithful practicing Catholics find it to be an excellent refresher. Packed with interesting information, history, tradition and why we do what we do as Catholics.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2009

    Informative and Easy to Read

    Catholicism for Dummies is a great book for those interested in learning more about the Catholic faith. It is easy to read and very informative. I often did not want to put the book down; quite an odd reaction for a book of this nature! The book answered all of the major questions I had about Catholocism. I even started attending RCIA classes soon after finishing Catholicism for Dummies. It has provided me with a great background on which to build my knowledge of and faith in the Catholic Church.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great for resource newbies and those returning to the Catholic faith.

    This book is great for someone new to the faith as well as someone who is returning after a time of separation. Well thought out explanations of the basics of the faith in terms even this dummy could understand ;) The authors also give great history references of the Catholic Church and where some of the traditions and rituals come from. It's a great springboard for anyone who wants to delve deeper into the Catholic faith.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2009

    Amazing how few people know their own faith....

    This book has been very helpful to me and quite a few of my friends. This book is accurate and easy to read. If you grew up anytime after the 60's your faith formation was questionable at best with all of the "feel good" faith influence. This book taught me so many things that 4 years of Catholic grade school, 4 years of CCD and 4 years of Catholic college classes never taught me about my faith. After reading this I discovered how so many people are uninformed about their faith.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2005

    Great book

    Very well written and easy to understand.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2004

    Great addition to your Catholic resource library

    I am always on the lookout for resources that will assist me in learning about my own Catholic faith and in sharing that faith with my children, family and friends. I find this book an excellent resource for both my own research and for teaching the faith in a straightforward manner. Written in a concise, organized fashion, the book offers practical information on all of the most basic elements of Catholicism, including - but not limited to - the Four Marks of the Church (One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic), the structure of the Church, basic beliefs, worship types, the Sacraments, the Mass, and much more. Timely issues of concern (and sometimes controversy) to all Catholics are discussed. I found especially enjoyable the 'Part of Tens' which relates the stories of remarkable Catholic role models and landmarks. The two appendices, one detailing the popes and a second outlining a brief history of the Church, are helpful additions. Buy this book for your own Catholic library, or as a gift for a friend interested in exploring our Catholic faith.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2004

    Some Parts are Great -- Others are Not

    This book has the potential to be really helpful for catechists, non-Catholics, and even cradle Catholics seeking to broaden their fundamental understanding of Catholicism. One caveat: I am really disturbed by what appears to be the book's political bias, i.e. to placate right-wing American Catholics. The authors state unequivocally and thoroughly the Church's position on subjects like abortion, euthanasia, and women in the Church. However, they considerably soften their rhetoric and their theological rigor when it comes to subjects like capital punishment and war. They even refer anecdotally to military tribunals and terrorists, seeming to suggest that summary executions may be morally permissible under certain circumstances.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2004

    Fair, well-balanced and very orthodox

    I found CFD to be faithful to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is neither conservative nor liberal, neither republican nor democrat, and neither American nor European. The bias and heterodoxy found in other versions ('The Complete Idiots Guide to Catholicism' and 'The Everything Catholicism Book') is absent in 'Catholicism For Dummies.' I am Canadian and I found the book to be wonderful even though I may not share a 'right-wing American' political ideology. Besides the down-to-earth approach in explaining the doctrines, liturgy, morality et al. of the Catholic faith, the authors also have a great mini-history of the Church in the appendix which I found fascinating. The 10 famous Catholics, 10 favorite saints and 10 places Catholics visit were equally enjoyable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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