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On Being Catholic Paperback – February 1, 1997
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"Would it be brash to say that Thomas Howard is an American counterpart of C.S. Lewis? I think not. Thomas Howard's intelligent, literate and erudite approach to the experience of faith and all of the challenges that faith brings will be enlightening to anyone who takes the Gospel seriously."-- Fr. Benedict Groschel, CFR
"Tom Howard has done it again. With gentle and compelling wisdom, he shows the Catholic faith for what it is, the grandeur of the biblical gospel and a reflection of the immensity of God's wisdom and grace. On Being Catholic is an apologetic and literary gem."--
Scott Hahn, Ph.D.
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Top Customer Reviews
Howard's style reminds me a lot of C.S. Lewis'. When I first read of this comparison on the back cover I was dubious. However, his writing is laced with references to classical literature and a variety of philosophies. His knowledge of secular and Christian thought is quite impressive, as is his Latin and English vocabulary. Like Lewis, he seamlessly and clearly articulates his thoughts in a way that is quite beautiful without being superficial. Like Lewis, he also handles objections to his ideas as he writes, anticipating the objections various types of readers might have. While it is likely that Lewis will be read long after Howard, this is no reason to dismiss the importance of what Howard has to say.
For me, what makes his work so impressive is that he appeals to the deep need that humans have for tradition, religious encounter, symbol, sacrament, ritual, etc. Much of the book is based not on cold logic, but on human need and longing. A good example is when he explains the need that humans have for ceremony and ritual, and how eventually we "give external shape to what is in our hearts." He explains how when we internally remember a birthday, we give visible and external shape to this inner matter through common birthday rituals like candles, cakes, and presents. These rituals do not supersede the inner reality, but give meaningful shape to it.Read more ›
That doesn't exhaust where you may have come across Thomas Howard, but those are a few places I ran into him. He described himself once in the New Oxford Review as sitting on a cliff overlooking Rome, dangling his legs off the end, and wondering how long it would be until he jumped. As it turned out, not only Howard, but editor Dale Vree, and everyone else associated with that publication jumped--with the magazine shifting from lively Episcopalian discussions to lively Catholic ones. Eventually I followed Howard and another favorite writer, Malcom Muggeridge, and jumped off myself.
Fortunately, my sponsor gave me this book as a confirmation gift. I say fortunately, because Howard describes a worst-case church service of the sort I experienced as a new convert in a new church. If not for this book, I would never have gone back, and never found the sort of joy and belonging that follows the awkwardness and discomfort of exploring something new.Read more ›
Howard's approach to Catholicism is deeply rooted in his former life as a Protestant Evangelical, and indeed, he still has a great love and respect for that period of his spiritual development. This is by no means an anti-Evangelical book. Howard often prefaces each chapter by outlining the objections that Protestants hold regarding each topic, which allows him to illustrate Catholic beliefs with greater clarity while still retaining what is good about the Evangelical approach. The fact that he once shared these objections gives added weight and authority to his discussion and shows how deeply Catholicism has been misunderstood by many Christians. Howard's tone is always optimistic, always passionate, and always informative. He brings to this book a clear love for Christianity in general and for the Catholic faith in particular that readers of any faith will likely find contagious.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am a convert to Catholicism. I frequently find myself unable to put into words the beauty of what it means to be Catholic. Mr. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Deborah J. Diem
Great insight into God's gracious gift of Jesus Christ and His Church as described through the eyes of one who: asked, sought, and found (Matt 7:7-8).Published 10 months ago by John Pen
I only had time to glance at the book but it's in very good condtion. I am happy with itPublished 23 months ago by Sharon McVeigh
A wonderful book. I am re-reading it for a second time. I'm a baby boomer who got only a surface understanding of some of the concepts of my Catholic faith. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Barbara B. Reid