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What Catholics Believe: A Pocket Catechism Paperback – March 1, 1999
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Well "What Catholics Believe" would be a terrific first step to get a simple, balanced overview of the essence of the faith.
In the mid-1990's the Catholic Church published its first new Catechism in 400 years, an authoritative summary of beliefs and practices. But it's a far cry from the traditional school catechisms, designed for memorization with simple question and answer format. Comprising 2,865 numbered paragraphs, its very completeness can be intimidating for many.
What Mike Aquilina and Fr. Kris Stubna have accomplished is nothing short of amazing. Returning to the traditional approach, they have distilled the entire Catechism down to 160 short, deceptively simple questions. The concise answers are perfect for memorization--even if you're not trying. The pocket size makes it easy to carry around so you can read it whenever you have the time.
The second half of this little gem includes the most common prayers, an excellent overview of the Mass, and a guide to Reconciliation (that is, going to confession). Catholics would want to know that it's based on the 1997 Edition Typica of the Catechism, and it carries the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.
I took a chance on this book, because I loved Mike Aquilina's "The Fathers of the Church" (an accessible popular overview of the first Christians, their controversies, and insights).
This easy to read book covers what one is required to believe in order to be a knowledgeable, faith filled, practicing Catholic. Catholicism for the practicing Catholic is a lifetime of ongoing prayer, study, adventure and change. This book gets one started with a good understanding of Church teachings and would be a good review for any Catholic. It is appropriate for anyone wishing complete and concise answers about the Catholic faith.
As my wife, a catechist for over 20 years, said to our catechumens..."Here, the CliffsNotes on Catholicism."