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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Catholicism, 3rd Edition Paperback – August 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 393 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha; 3 edition (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592575358
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592575350
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bob O’Gorman holds both a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in religious education. He has published several books on U.S. Catholic history and education and teaches at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola.
Mary Faulkner holds a Master’s degree in religious education, is the director of the Institute of Integrated Healing Arts in Nashville, and is a psychotherapist in private practice.

Customer Reviews

In my opinion the book only gets better as you read it.
Mrs. Brent
The Church's teachings on homosexual acts are definitive acts regarding a moral issue; it cannot be changed!
Foye Hitomi
I would not recommend this book to fellow Catholics, who are trying to understand their faith better.
mikaela san pedro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 110 people found the following review helpful By M. Horak on May 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I opened this book, the first page I saw offered this information: upon entering Church, Catholics genuflect to show respect for the altar. Actually, we genuflect to show respect for the Eucharist, when it is present. Otherwise, we bow slightly to show respect for an empty altar.
While this example may seem minor, it is indicative of the general feeling I got as I moved through the book. In a nagging way, it seemed slightly inaccurate at times.
That's unfortunate, because I was impressed by the format and breadth of information - in a very readable form. That's a combination which is tough to find in any book about religion.
The book tries to introduce the reader to many of the cultural aspects of Catholicism such as meatless Fridays, ruler-wielding nuns, etc. This is the first time I've seen this much "Catholic trivia" in a book about Catholicism, which may be a large part of its appeal. The treatment of Catholic cultured seemed a bit cliched to me, but that's just one view. A person with a different (or non-Catholic) background may see it very differently.
Before you buy this book, you might take a look at Kevin Johnson's "Why Do Catholics Do That?" Johnson doesn't cover all the same information, particularly the cultural aspects, but his is also a very readable book which covers many of the doctrinal aspects in which Catholicism is different than most Christian traditions.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Breaux on May 15, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just read Bob's co-writer Mary's other book and you will see where her objectivity went. She is the "Earth Goddess" lady. Please read Catholicism for Dummies if you want a pretty accurate overview to Church teachings. Better yet, get the Catechism of the Catholic Church and read it yourself - I don't think you're an idiot and I think you are smart enough to be able to understand the Catechism. The Idiot's Guide is a misrepresentation of the Catholic Faith. It focuses on the authors' opinions and "Feelings" rather than official Church teachings. It wouldn't let me give it 0 stars, so I selected 1.
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43 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Foye Hitomi on April 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought the book expecting a down-to-earth explanation of Catholic beliefs and practices; was I ever disappointed.
Much of it isn't an explanation of the faith, but rather the authors' pushing of a liberal and politically correct version of Catholicism.
I can't list all the inaccuracies here -- but one glaring one occurs in Ch. 19, where one section heading reads "Abortion: A Tough Choice." A reader totally unfamiliar with Catholicism would get the idea that abortion is a valid choice for Catholics; it's not.
A little later, the authors claim that "the church allows abortions when they are necessary to preserve the mother's life." False; the Catholic Church disapproves of abortion in all cases.
There are numerous statements about the Church's roots to the Earth (is it about Catholicism or Gaia worship?) and about how Vatican II gave "shared power" to the people (it did no such thing; Vatican II reaffirmed the definitive authority of the pope and the bishops in communion with him).
There's also a claim that Christ never directed his teaching toward the authorities of his time, but only to the people. Again, false: there's more than one instance in the Gospels where Christ specifically directs his teachings toward the authorities, namely the Pharisees and teachers of the Law.
The authors give kid-gloves treatment to classic Catholic no-no's, such as abortion, homosexual acts, birth control, and the like. For instance, they write about how the Church "has not changed his view on homosexuality at the present time." Why would it? The Church's teachings on homosexual acts are definitive acts regarding a moral issue; it cannot be changed! Not to mention that such a change would not wash with the Bible. The book is littered with doctrinal errors of this sort.
Read more ›
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought this book as a new Catholic because I craved more information about the church and my new faith. It has disappointed me at almost every turn because the information given is so scanty, and often what I am looking for is not in the book. In one instance (wish I could specifically remember which subject), I found it to be incorrect. If you want a very broad overview of the faith, this book could work for you. If you want something with depth, steer clear of this one.
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful By David Ancell on July 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
I paged through this book to see if it would be good for any of the RCIA folks I work with. Unfortunately, I would have to say that I have warned them against this book because it does not put forth the authentic faith. I paged through the typical areas of dissent and found that this book teaches falsely.
For example, it mentions the facts that after Vatican II some religious no longer wore habits and some priests would advise a person that in their circumstance it is okay to practice contraception. Neither was an intended reform, and in fact Vatican II empathetically proclaimed that we must be loyal to the teaching of the Magisterium. I found no reference to Vatican II's actual teaching on the subject.
This book caters to the American disobedience by inserting the irresponsible "Don't get caught up in the rules; it's love that matters." statements without the realization that it's those laws that teach us what love is. The law is the minimum, not the ideal that we can just break at our will.
If you want a better reading, go to Catholicism for Dummies. It is well-written and loyal to the faith.
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