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Posted May 21, 2007

An Excellent book for RCIA [The Rite of Christian Initiation] and also adult education classes

Book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Catholicism
Authors: Bob O’Gorman and Mary Faulkner
Penguin Group. New York. 2006. Pp. 393

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

You’re no idiot, of course. You know that Catholicism is one of the largest denominations of Christianity, and that the pope represents the leadership of the Church. But there is much more to being a Catholic than saying your prayers and going to Sunday Mass.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Catholicism, Third Edition, will show you exactly what it means to be a Catholic — from its ancient origins to its role in modern times. This revised and updated Complete Idiot’s Guide explains:

The modern-day Catholic Church — following the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

How “Vatican II’s” revolution changed the face of Catholicism

The present state and effectiveness of Catholic schools, education, identity, and social teaching.

The seven Catholic sacraments and the “Catholic Bible.”

The various stances within American Catholicism

An Excerpt from the Book:

Jesuits: The Pope’s Foot Soldiers

Jesuit is the popular name for the Society of Jesus (S.J.), a religious order founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1540. Among other religious orders, Jesuits were a fundamental part of the Catholic Reformation. There motto is “For the glory of God.” Ignatius, a military man, imbued the order with his fighting spirit. The Jesuits marched to Rome and put themselves at the disposal of the pope, declaring that they would not be “chanting the Office,” like the other religious orders. Instead of chanting, which represented to them a passive type of spirituality, they declared that their work would be action for the advancement of Catholic doctrine and life. They vowed to go anywhere in the world the pope chose to send them. In addition to poverty, chastity, and obedience, Jesuits have a special fourth vow of obedience to the pope. Like the Dominicans and Franciscans, the Jesuits have a social ministry and have established many orphanages and other agencies for social assistance.

Table of Contents:

Part I: What’s a Catholic?

1. Can you judge a Catholic by the cover?

2. The people: many faces, many flags

3. Catholicism: it’s a big tent

4. The Vatican: the church that’s a country

5. The 60's: seeds of revolution

Part 2: Putting the “ism” in Catholicism: becoming Catholic, becoming different

6. “It’s elementary, my dear Watson”

7. The bible

8. Jesus: Spirit of a new religion

Part 3: The sensuous side of Catholicism: how Catholics experience God

9. Catholic imagination: the sacred space of ritual

10. Jesus: the original sacrament

11. Seven sensual sacraments

12. Who is Mary?

Part 4: Imagination and prayer

13. Feeding the imagination

14. Catholic prayers and music: tangible poetry

15. The Mass: the Catholics’ big dinner party

Part 5: Catholic identity: how are Catholics wired?

16. It’s a tribe

17. The teaching church: more than just a slap with the ruler

18. The Catholic Church’s best-kept secret: social justice

19. The teachings of the church: moving beyond sin

20. The church: moving from steeple to people

Part 6: The Church’s history

21. The Roman establishment

22. Division, debauchery, and reform: the Church’s second millennium

23. The birth of the church in the new land

24. Catholics earn their citizenship

Part 7: A look to the future

25. Catholic sexuality: the Church’s dirty little secret?

26. Face-to-face in the third millennium: the Church looks to the future