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Why Do Catholics Do That? Paperback – October 10, 1995

4.2 out of 5 stars 138 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Why Do Catholics Do That? by Kevin Orlin Johnson assumes nothing and tells all. As such, it's not only an ideal catechism companion but also a source of infinite wisdom for students of art history, politics, literature, philosophy, and pretty much any other subject connected with Catholic history. In a voice refreshingly free of condescension (and full of humor, witnessed in chapter titles such as "Saints: How You Get To Be One"), Johnson defines and expatiates upon hundreds of topics, including the Mass, the rosary, the cross, the eucharist, and the pope. Why Do Catholics Do That? is destined for the all-time top 20 list of indispensable desk references. Whether your interest in Catholicism is devoutly religious or defiantly secular, you'll be glad Kevin Orlin Johnson has fulfilled his vocation so faithfully. --Michael Joseph Gross

From the Publisher

Why Do Catholics Do That? A Guide to the Teachings and Practices of the Catholic Church, by Kevin Orlin Johnson, Ph.D., describes the various traditions and customs inherent in the Catholic faith. One section of the book that I found very interesting was the significance of numbers. Many numbers have very obvious significance, for instance seven means a complete series, whether it is the seven sacraments or the seven deadly sins. The symbolic explanation that I found most intriguing was that of the number five. The author asserts that the number is actually quite "naughty," because it is through out five senses that we find temptation. Who knew?
-- JMC

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (October 10, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345397266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345397263
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ken Fontenot VINE VOICE on March 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
During the late 90's, I was investigating a number of Christian faiths. For many years I was bouncing around from Protestant church to Protestant church with no real clue as to what I was looking for. Becoming Catholic never entered my mind. Eventually I ran into a Catholic friend who explained a few of the basics of the Church to me. Intrigued, I began to study on my own and found "Why Do Catholics Do That?" The title seemed straightforward enough, so I picked up the book and read it from cover to cover. It was amazing. Kevin Orlin Johnson's book answered all of my major questions about the Church and most of my minor questions. I had read a number of other books up to that point and none of them gave me answers as honestly or inoffensively as this one. It didn't try to hammer anything down my throat. Instead, it gave me answers in plain English and with no intent to brush me off as "just another Protestant." After reading the book, I decided to enter the RCIA process, where I entered the Church at Easter in 2000.
I can honestly say that this book was the decision maker for me. It is written in a way that isn't too "bookish" or intellectual for the casual reader, yet has a good amount of information in it. The writing style used, which has a lot of humor in it, lessened the blows of what some consider "cocky Catholicism." Another reviewer felt that in her original review this book came across as too cocky. I understand what she is talking about. I've met quite a few people with that cocky attitude. That attitude was one of the major things that turned me off from the Church originally. This book to me, however, wasn't too cocky. I enjoyed it. It gave the reader information in a straight manner.
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Format: Paperback
This is my favorite "Why do Catholics" book, and I have read quite a few, as I was raised Catholic and had to learn to defend my beliefs when my parents moved to the Bible belt in my late teens. If I had known about this book then, my life would have been much easier.

Dr. Johnson's book is much more entertaining and thorough than work of a similar nature, such as Karl Keating's better known books. Dr. Johnson converses with the reader, which makes the writing style engaging and memorable; he does not say use the dry approach of "some people think this," but rather uses and approach of "We Catholics believe." He does not discuss beliefs of other religions, except when comparing the different approach used for compilations of scriptures. This makes me more comfortable in recommending to books to other Christians, unlike Keating's work, in which the terms used sometimes appeal slanderous to people from denominations such as Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses.

This is a book of Catholic practices and religious beliefs and explores illustrates from where they came. It does not address moral theology, but is more concerned with issues such as "why does the Old Testament comprise these books," "why is there a Pope," "what is the official stances on alleged apparitions," "what is the roles of saints," ect. But is also has fun tid bits of information that many Catholic information guides fail to address, like the use of incense, the dress of clergy, and terms used for the religious. It also explains popular devotions and their history; such as The Way of the Cross and the rosary.

Amazon recommended it to me for some time. I wish I bought it sooner, but I thought that it looked too basic to be a wise investment for me.
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Format: Paperback
I was raised Catholic, and like so many of my generation, I grew up with a very weak foundation in the faith. Although I was raised Catholic and attended CCD throughout my formative years, in time I left the Church and began attending fundamentalist churches. This book was instrumental to my coming back to the Church after fourteen years away, as it was the first time that I actually read anything indepth on what we as Catholics believe and why. I did not buy the book, but rather it was loaned to me by my Mother, but God used this book to bring me back home. I highly recommend it! Although at the time I first read it, some of it was difficult to read, and some of it I did not agree with at all, it planted the seeds of desire to understand the Catholic faith which lead to the desire to return to the Catholic Church. My wife, who was Baptist, also read it and in time became a Catholic. We are both very active in our parish, and it is good to be home! Is it biased; it is a presentation of Catholic beliefs which does not seek to comprimise those beliefs. I don't know that I would call that biased. As to addressing the issues that are often brought up in arguements against the faith, I don't believe that the intent of the book is to answer protestant charges against the faith, but rather simply to present the faith, and in the latter intent, it more than succeeds. There are other books which intend to address the charges against the faith made by protestants and others, and which do a great job, but again, I do not believe that is the intent of this book. It is the Holy Spirit which touches hearts, and indeed this book can be used by the Spirit to touch hearts. I highly recommend this book to Catholics who desire to have a deeper understanding of their faith, and to Catholics who have left the Church, for they might see that the reasons they left were based on misunderstanding, and there are some truly great reasons to come back.
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