With 1 billion Catholics in the world -- and 57 million in the United States alone -- Catholicism is the world's most familiar religion. Yet many facets of this varied and dynamic tradition remain unknown or poorly understood. Now The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism offers a one-volume comprehensive and authoritative guide to the people, doctrines, history, worship, art, spirituality, literature, theological developments, and changes that have shaped the Church over nearly two millennia.
Led by general editor Richard P. McBrien, bestselling author of Catholicism, an editorial team drawn almost entirely from the University of Notre Dame has collected more than 4,200 entries written by 280 leading experts from around the world and across the theological spectrum, including Benedict Ashley, Gerald O'Collins, Sandra B. Schneiders, Hans Küng, Walter H. Principe, Elizabeth Johnson, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Virgilio Elizondo, Catherine Mowry LaCugna, Robert F. Taft, Peter Hebblethwaite, Dermot A. Lane, Francis A. Sullivan, Robert F. Trisco, and John Strynkowski. A concise reference for understanding Catholic terms such as vigil light and maniple, The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism also offers superb feature-length entries on subjects ranging from the seven sacraments, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Peter, Paul, Augustine, and Aquinas to prayer and Christian spirituality, Catholicism in the United States, women in the Church, and Vatican II.
Treating Catholicism as a unique tradition, community, and way of life, the encyclopedia defines and describes topics such as Eastern Catholicism, canon law, devotions, religious orders and lay organizations, and saints, angels, and archangels. Also included are tables of the liturgical calendar, ecumenical councils, and a list of all the popes, complete with a brief biography of each.
A convenient and reliable source of information regarding every aspect of Catholicism, past and present, The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism covers the controversy and dissent within the Church as well as its teachings and beliefs, providing a balanced and unparalleled resource for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Catholic life.