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The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins: A Vital Look at Virtue and Vice, With Quizzes and Activities for Saintly Self-Improvement (Bad Catholic's guides) Paperback – November 1, 2010


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The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins: A Vital Look at Virtue and Vice, With Quizzes and Activities for Saintly Self-Improvement (Bad Catholic's guides) + The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Catechism: A Faithful, Fun-Loving Look at Catholic Dogmas, Doctrines, and Schmoctrines (Bad Catholic's guides) + The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living: A Loving Look at the Lighter Side of Catholic Faith, with Recipes for Feasts and Fun
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Product Details

  • Series: Bad Catholic's guides
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082452585X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824525859
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #585,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"John Zmirak's Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins is both wickedly funny and (surprise!) a sound guide to living a life that won't end in misery and bitter regrets, but in joy. One of our best writers produces another little classic."  —Mark P. Shea, author, Mary, Mother of the Son


"Silly some of the time, respectful most of the time, and hilarious all of the time, even the squirrel recipes sound delicious and will have me driving slower through the red states, chumming for low-cost snacks on the two lane all the way to Mardi Gras."  —Mario Batali, author, The Babbo Cookbook on The Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey, & Song

About the Author

John Zmirak is an editor, a journalist, a college teacher, and a political commentator. He is the author of The Bad Catholic’s Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins and the coauthor of The Bad Catholic’s Guide to Good Living; The Bad Catholic’s Guide to Wine, Whiskey, and Song; and The Grand Inquisitor. He has contributed to Investor’s Business Daily and the National Catholic Register. He lives in New York City.

More About the Author

John Zmirak received his B.A. from Yale University in 1986, then his M.F.A. in screenwriting and fiction and his Ph.D. in English in 1996 from Louisiana State University. His focus was the English Renaissance, and the novels of Walker Percy. He taught composition at LSU and screenwriting at Tulane University, and written screenplays for and with director Ronald Maxwell (Gods & Generals and Gettysburg). He was elected alternate delegate to the 1996 Republican Convention, representing Pat Buchanan. He has been Press Secretary to pro-life Louisiana Governor Mike Foster, and a reporter and editor at "Success" magazine and "Investor's Business Daily," among other publications. His essays, poems, and other works have appeared in "First Things," "The Weekly Standard," "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "USA Today," "FrontPage Magazine," "The American Conservative," "The South Carolina Review," "The Atlantic," "Modern Age," "The Intercollegiate Review," "The New Republic," "Commonweal," and "The National Catholic Register," among other venues. He has contributed to "American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia" and "The Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought." From 2000-2004 he served as Senior Editor of "Faith & Family Magazine" and a reporter at "The National Catholic Register." He works now as an editor for several publishing companies.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It's funny, witty, and awesome.
Cheyenne Harris
This is the second book by this author that I have read, and it's just as good as the first ("Bad Catholic's Guide to the Catechism" was first).
Brian ó Séaghdha
I was laughing out loud at the airport... people must have thought I was a nut.
Emma

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Emma on January 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was initially kind of skeptical of this book because of the title. Why a "Bad" Catholic's Guide? But I ordered it because it promised to be fun--and I was not disappointed. I was laughing out loud at the airport... people must have thought I was a nut. The book is part sober theological treatise (lots of Aristotle and Aquinas), part crackpot memoir (the author illustrates the virtue of Patience by telling tales of his destructive adopted beagles), and part self-help book (chapters end with insightful quizzes that test the reader on each deadly sin--offering practical steps on how to overcome them). The zany illustrations, fascinating historical vignettes (this may be the only book to contrast, at length, Mother Angelica and Andy Warhol) and just plain wonderful writing made this a painless, but finally edifying, walk through the moral life. After reading it, I ordered the author's two previous Bad Catholic's Guides, and they were every bit as good. This book makes perfect reading in preparation for Lent--or a long airplane ride.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By L. Eastman on January 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recently joined the Catholic Church. As part of this conversion, I wanted to read more about the faith on a regular basis. One of my good friends recommended "Bad Catholics Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins." I am glad she did, as it is one of the best books on ANY SUBJECT that I have been privileged to read -- and I am a book-a-holic.

The wry and witty writing style of John Zmirak was a key element in my enjoyment. He extracts a tidbits of information form more ponderous literature and theological discussions of the "Seven Deadly Sins", and uses humorous and meaningful examples from his own life to make the point. Two other factors were also exceptional: 1) The use of great graphics that help underscore a point; and 2)The use of references to literature and biographies that help direct me to other resources that I want to read in the future (e.g., The Church and the Market).

It is hard to imagine reading about the "Seven Deadly Sins" being a pleasurable experience, but it was. However, there were some challenges presented to me in chapters I didn't expect. I am a very busy person, so I didn't think the chapter on sloth would really impact me. Reading about shortcuts taken in the kitchen, which disconnects us to God's bounty, and shortcuts taken in faith (e.g, prayer) were eye-opening.

I was planning to pass this book along to other friends, but I am keeping it as a reference for my own writing and benefit. No, I am not giving into the sin of greed -- I am going to by copies for others who might also enjoy Zmirak's book. I can't say enough good things about this book; it is well worth your time and money.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mick, OFS on April 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Bad Catholics Guide To The Seven Deadly Sins reminds me of the "for the complete idiot" books of years past. What made these "how to" books great was the fact they had no information gaps. You could repair almost anything because they never skipped a step in the instructions and identified necessary parts with colors, illustrations, and pictures. Who would have thought that a theological subject, the Seven Deadly Sins, could be written with no information gaps and be accompanied by classical and commercial art, posters, portraits, and my personal favorite, cartoons!

This is the first book where I actually laughed at the Table of Contents especially chapter fourteen: Pack a Magnum in your Animus. You have to read this wonderful chapter to realize how funny and how important the virtue of Magnanimity is. John Zmirak lets us know in his introduction what he intends to accomplish: "... this book is meant to help its readers stay out of hell ... but even bad Catholics should aim a little bit higher than that". The use of hilarious and insightful quizzes helps us determine where we land on the Virtue, Vice, Neurosis spectrum.

Zmirak uses the Aristotelian concept of the Golden Mean which hangs in tension between virtue and vice while keeping us on the path to heaven. This book is decidedly masculine, don't take my word for it, read chapter two on Chastity where the author admits to his manly bias and explains "The Orange Traffic Cone Hypothesis". Chapter thirteen Envy: I See You in Hell, brilliantly teaches us the damage caused by this deadly sin "that craves evil for its own sake". This same chapter explains how "Envy worms its way into the nooks and crannies of Catholic discourse" which Zmirak bluntly calls "The Amazing Catholic BS Generator".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bachelier on August 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
John Zmirak's "The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins" (BCGSDS) is a tonic for our age. As with all his works, I often think Prof. Zmirak wrote this book just for me: Joe Six-Pack pew warmer: not merely grudgingly faithful, nor as lukewarm about my faith as your average Zombie Catholic, but also not as fire-bellied as Michael Voris. Apparently slackadasical Catholics of my type and station in life are thick on the ground, which is among the reasons this work is so excellent because the author is both so insightful, his prose so engaging, and the lessons here so useful.

BCGSDS has humor that hits you right in the kisser, but at the same time is sound as a twenty-dollar gold piece when it comes to the theological teaching. For this is a remarkable book that is both a pedagogic tool and funny as hell.

Except Hell isn't funny.

Which is why this book is so important.

Zmirak's tour of the seven deadly sins is an expansion and recasting of articles for Inside Catholic in the Crisis publications universe and serves as a welcome update for modern ears and idiom after St. Thomas Aquinas's more (eh-hem...) "Scholastic" treatment (read: booorrrinngggg). (Yes I subscribe to Crisis, also The Remnant and The New Oxford Review, and also a host of True-Latin-Mass-In-Our-Basement mimeograph fanzines (and also "Grabbin' The Magazine for Catfish Noodlers...), don't post comments on my review of what a Novus Ordo sell-out I am and "Deal-Hudson this-and-that" ...I've heard it all).

Zmirak correctly points out the dangers of pietism, Jansenism, or scrupulosity (and indifferentism) when addressing the seven deadly sins. Thus he covers the dangers of Frigidity to overcome Lust, Servility to conquer Wrath, Fanaticism to counter Sloth, etc.
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