What Makes Us Catholic: Eight Gifts for Life

What Makes Us Catholic: Eight Gifts for Life

by Thomas H. Groome
     
 

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What makes a Catholic a Catholic? According to Thomas Groome, an expert on the essential ingredients of Catholic Christianity, Catholics share certain vital features of life and identity. What Makes Us Catholic explains and illuminates that character, and invites Catholics of all kinds to connect more deeply and imaginatively with their own culture and

Overview

What makes a Catholic a Catholic? According to Thomas Groome, an expert on the essential ingredients of Catholic Christianity, Catholics share certain vital features of life and identity. What Makes Us Catholic explains and illuminates that character, and invites Catholics of all kinds to connect more deeply and imaginatively with their own culture and spirituality.

Editorial Reviews

Therese Borchard
“Groome courageously attempts and succeeds to define and explain the curious breed of people called Catholics.”
Michael Leach
"Tom Groome's celebration of what is beautiful and lasting in the Catholic tradition is a kiss of peace."
Lawrence S. Cunningham
"This crisply written and passionately presented work eloquently demonstrates why Tom Groome is considered one of our finest religious educators."
Richard P. McBrien
"In a vivid and vibrant style, Thomas Groome portrays Catholicism as a rich, multi-faceted reality."
Eugene Kennedy
“As refreshing as the Beatitudes in revealing the essentially spiritual and sacramental nature of being Catholic.”
Publishers Weekly
Groome, a theology professor at Boston College, has written this book at a time when his church is reasserting its beliefs through publication of the catechism and pronouncements on such polarizing issues as the ordination of women. He appears to be trying to assure Catholics who are disappointed with the state of their church in the wake of the reforming Second Vatican Council of the 1960s that it's still okay to be Catholic, even if they don't like the present pope and his vision for Catholic Christianity. What really makes people Catholic, he argues, are such thematic elements as sacramentality and the Catholic view of "society's function as serving the common good." Groome's vision of Catholicism seeks to reveal a more palatable side of the church as an advocate of such social values as inclusiveness and concern for the poor. He also downplays the hierarchy's teaching role by saying this function requires the participation of everyone, "not a small group doing all the teaching." Groome's reputation as an author of several Catholic school texts could make his latest book a popular resource for adult educational programs, since each chapter includes questions suitable for group discussion. However, despite the author's claim that he writes for Catholics "who span the spectrum," his views may alienate more conservative members. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In his latest work, noted Christian educator Groome (Boston Coll.; Christian Religious Education) eloquently contends that all Catholics be they faithful adherents or lapsed members share eight distinctive qualities, e.g., sacramentality, community, social justice, and reverence for tradition. To each Groome dedicates a skillfully written chapter, which opens with an anecdote from his own experience that concretizes its theological subject. Readers will find themselves pausing and engaging in the text with questions for reflection and conversation (in fact, ample room is left for making notes). This format makes the book adaptable to small faith-sharing groups for private inquiry but might compromise it in a circulating collection. To increase its usefulness, Groome kept complex religious jargon to a minimum, allowing his simple stories to resonate in the heart. For the scholar or pastoral leader, five pages of notes complete the text. Recommended for public libraries. John-Leonard Berg, Univ. of Wisconsin, Platteville Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060633998
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/18/2003
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
490,701
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.75(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"What Stories to Tell?"
Interpreting Christian Faith

What Stories to Tell Luke?

Marybeth gently cradled Luke out sideways. The priest intoned solemnly, "Luke, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Water rolled down the little head into the baptismal font below. The words echoed through the cavernous old New York church with a definitive ring, as if marking a watershed, literally, with things never to be the same again. Ten-week-old Luke rendered some top-lung protest, and then surveyed the ogling assembly as if knowing he was at center stage.

The priest lit a small candle from the big Easter one and handed it to me. "Receive the light of Christ," he said, and then, with a commissioning tone, "Parents and Godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly." I prayed in my heart to be a good godfather to this new member of the Body of Christ. I resolved to help his parents share with Luke the Christian faith into which, as the priest announced, "he has now been baptized."

The ceremony completed, and it being a lovely April afternoon, we walked up Broadway from Fifty-ninth to Seventy-first for a reception. The newly minted Christian, Luke, led the entourage in a regal-looking pram, a family heirloom. I fell into step with Peter, the proud father and himself brought up as a Lutheran. Peter said the ceremony meant a lot to him, that he thought the priest had done a good job. He was glad so many family and friends could come; likely some had never been at a Catholic baptism before. Then he added reflectively, "Yeh know, a lot of people have negative stereotypes about Catholicism. They think it's only about sin and guilt, but it's a lot cooler than that."

Ah, I thought to myself, now that's the version we should share with Luke -- the "cool" one -- the Catholic Christianity that encourages fullness of life. It has a thousand stories we could tell to this good end and some that would not serve well at all. I wondered about which is which and how to choose.

By now, however, we had reached the restaurant and I put my musings aside for another time. Then we enacted an old faith story that I would surely tell Luke someday -- we had a grand party to celebrate his baptism. With lots of good food and choice wine, laughter and conversation, his Catholic socialization had made a good beginning!

What People are saying about this

Therese Borchard
“Groome courageously attempts and succeeds to define and explain the curious breed of people called Catholics.”
Lawrence S. Cunningham
"This crisply written and passionately presented work eloquently demonstrates why Tom Groome is considered one of our finest religious educators.
Eugene Kennedy
“As refreshing as the Beatitudes in revealing the essentially spiritual and sacramental nature of being Catholic.”
Richard P. McBrien
"In a vivid and vibrant style, Thomas Groome portrays Catholicism as a rich, multi-faceted reality.
Michael Leach
"Tom Groome's celebration of what is beautiful and lasting in the Catholic tradition is a kiss of peace.

Meet the Author

Thomas H. Groome is chair of the Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry and professor of theology and religious education at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry and author of What Makes Us Catholic?

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