Why Do Catholics Do That?: A Guide to the Teachings and Practices of the Catholic Church

Why Do Catholics Do That?: A Guide to the Teachings and Practices of the Catholic Church

by Kevin Orlin Johnson

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Overview

Why Do Catholics Do That?: A Guide to the Teachings and Practices of the Catholic Church by Kevin Orlin Johnson

In Why Do Catholics Do That? renowned scholar and religion columnist Kevin Orlin Johnson answers the most frequently asked questions on Catholic faith, worship, culture, and customs, including:
* How the Church Makes Laws * The Hard-Fought Genesis of the New Testament * The Cycle of Redemption * A Short Guide to the Meaning and Structure of the Mass * Decoding Symbols of Scripture and the Sacraments * The Calendar as the Image of Christ's Life * The Rosary * The Stations of the Cross * Monks, Nuns, and the Rules That Guide Them * The Pope * The Laity in the Modern World * Saints * Fatima, Lourdes, and the Story of Apparitions * The Vatican: A Holy City * The Sign of the Cross, Christianity's Best-Known Symbol * Candles in Prayer and Liturgy * The Meaning of the Nativity Scene

Blending religious history, a deep appreciation for art and culture, and an enlightened reverence for the traditions of the Church, Why Do Catholics Do That? is the definitive resource for any one who wants to learn more about the rituals, symbols, and traditions that can strengthen our faith every day.

"Johnson offers lucid explanations of a dizzying array of customs and beliefs."
—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345397263
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/28/1995
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 158,683
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.67(d)

About the Author

Kevin Orlin Johnson holds a doctorate in the history of art, with a specialty in seventeenth-century church architecture in France and Italy. His scholarly publications appear in journals in Vienna, Rome, Paris, and elsewhere. For many years he wrote a column, Signs of Faith, syndicated in diocesan newspapers across the country, on which his book, Why Do Catholics Do That?, is based in part. Now a resident of Dallas, he frequently speaks to civic and religious groups interested in the meaning and purpose of public art and architecture.

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CHAPTER 1
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Excerpted from "Why Do Catholics Do That?"
by .
Copyright © 1995 Kevin Orlin Johnson.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface
Substance and Image: How to Tell Religion from Culture xiii

PART ONE: FAITH
Faith of Our Fathers: What the Church Has to Work With 3
Feed My Sheep: How the Church Makes Laws 12
Chapter and Verse: The Hard-Fought Genesis of the New Testament 20
That Old-Time Religion: Why the Church Still Guards the Old Testament 28
The Church's Family Albums: Other Good Books Besides the Bible 36
The Cycle of Redemption: Purgatory, Etc. 43

PART TWO: WORSHIP
In Memory of Me: A Short Guide to the Meaning and Structure of the Mass 57
Outward Signs: Decoding Symbols of Scripture and the Sacraments 69
The Sun of Justice: The Calendar as the Image of Christ's Life 78
Until We Meet Again: The Ceremonies of the Christian Funeral 85
The Stations of the Cross: The Logic of Their Development 91
The Rosary: A Garden of Christian Images 96

PART THREE: CULTURE
The Rite Stuff: The Many Faces of the Universal Church 105
The Pope: What He Does and Why It Matters 110
Priests, Bishops, and Deacons: The Church's General Staff 120
A People Set Apart: The Laity in the Modern World 130
A Different Order of Life: Monks, Nuns, and the Rules That Guide Them 137
Saints: How You Get to Be One 144
Fatima, Lourdes, and Elsewhere: The Story of Apparitions 150
Wondering About Signs: Does the Madonna Really Weep Through Images? 157

PART FOUR: CUSTOMS
How Beautiful Thy Dwelling Place: The Basic Forms of Churches 167
Priestly Vestments: Their Origins and Meanings 178
LikeUnto Pure Gold: The Meaning of the Precious Metal in the Service of the Church 186
The Vatican: A Holy City 194
Relics: The Church Remembers 203
The Sign of the Cross: The Surprising Story of Christianity's Best-Known Symbol 208
Sacramentals: Souvenirs of Sanctity 213
Water: Holy and Plain 218
The Odor of Sanctity: Making Sense of Incense 223
Let There Be Light: Candles in Prayer and Liturgy 228
A Star Out of Jacob: Why Nativity Sets Look That Way 233
Our Lady's Cloak: The Color of the Sky in Christian Art 237
The Miraculous Medal: The History of an Extraordinary Sacramental 241
Unceasingly Chant: Music in the Life of the Church 247
The Numbers Game: Symbols You Can Always Count On 254
Postscript: If You'd Like to Know More 267
Index 277

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Why Do Catholics Do That? 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an excellent resource your parish's library or your own home library. Kevin Orlin Johnson, Ph.D. is a renowned scholar and religion columnist. In his book 'Why Do Catholics Do That?' he guides the reader through the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. The four main sections of the book cover faith, worship, culture, and customs. Subtopics include how the Church makes laws, a short guide to the meaning of the Mass, the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, the Pope, the laity in the modern world, saints, Marian apparitions, sacramentals, etc. Dr. Johnson takes the reader on a fascinating journey to a better understanding of the rituals and symbols of the Catholic faith. Includes footnotes and an extensive suggested reading list.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nice read, humorous, interesting and informative. Very glad I purchased this book and added it to my collection of books on religion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I admit I approached this book with high expectations, but it fell short none the less. As a student of religion in the academic sense I was hoping that the author would approach the subject from an academic point of view, allowing the reader the chance to understand some of the customs and where they came from. Instead the author has approached the subject from a position that is clearly biased. I have no problems with anyone's religion of choice however it can be difficult when the author writes certain 'truths' according to the Church that are not supported by academic concensus. Additionally I felt that this book was much more appropriate for someone who already knew a little bit about the Catholic religion and not for someone who knew very little. You will notice that many of the reviewers that enjoyed this book said that they were Catholic (again, not stated as a reproach but as a simple fact) and I think this might have led to them following the book in a way a non-Catholic might have struggled.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a quick read and enjoyable. It is not a deep treaties of the mysteries of the faith but an overview of the culture and faith with enjoyable histories, culture, and lore. I highly recommend it for converts like myself.
P_Reader More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for Catholics and non-Catholics. It explains so many of the beliefs, practices, and customs of Catholics in a simple and easy to understand manner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thank you so much for demystifying the Church in such a carefree and humourous manner which made the book such a pleasant read. I am a lover of the humanities and all that is beautiful. I was not religious, but I was drawned by the Catholic church for its beauty, elegance, and grace; its air of sophistication and the artistic flair with which it conducts its rituals. I am a lover of simple living and high thinking. I was drawn by the Church for its intellect and simplicity; its humility and the humble way in which it cares for the poor and neglected. I did not believe in any religion per se. But as a mother of a 3-year-old, I felt I needed a place of worship in an attempt to provide my son with a sense of stability and community. I bought the book in an attempt to understand the rituals of the religion I wanted to join. What I learned from the book were the answers to the questions I thought there were no answers to. I had decided to join the Church in spite of its perceived faults and out of nothing better to join. Now I am joining the Church for its authenticity and the truths that it teaches. Now, my most important goal in life is to live in a manner that is pleasing to God according to the teachings of the Catholic church.
drinkingtea on LibraryThing 10 days ago
Not sure how a Catholic would view this book, but it answers a lot of questions one might have. And who knew that you didn't have to take formal vows to become an exorcist?!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent resource and starting point to do further study of the customs of the Catholic Church. This boook will be informative even to many cradle Catholics as to the origins of many rituals and rules of the Church.
stewardship More than 1 year ago
A very good book capturing some of the essence of the Catholic Tradition and the reasoning behind the Traditions. Refutes a lot of the protestant criticisms and explains why those criticisms came about. A good synopsis
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I really enjoyed this book. Very informative.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a Christian and I have cousins who are Catholic and I've been to their church a couple of times and they did things I didn't understand so I'm buying this book in hope that I will understand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Answers queston from new and old Catholics that are hard to phrase. Often we follow others in our faith journey. This book tell you why.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book provides the historical background for many Catholic practices. For instance, it explains -- clearly -- how indulgences came about and what they really are; why Church law is what it is; the role of the Pope (the position); how the Way of the Cross developed and even what is allowed at a Catholic funeral -- you might be surprised!