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Why Do Catholics Do That?: A Guide to the Teachings and Practices of the Catholic Church Paperback – October 10, 1995
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Top Customer Reviews
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. I also found nothing anti-Semitic about this book, as another reviewer mentions.
With this book, I learned that a number of the things that I was taught as a child about the Catholic Church was mere propaganda or, in most cases, misinformation. A lot of what I thought I knew about the Church was actually a misunderstanding of practices and beliefs.
I believe this book, with its simplicity, could easily challenge some of the harder hitting Protestant theories about the Catholic faith. Although it doesn't really go into any major theological arguments, it openly explains why Catholics do the things they do. It's hard to argue with someone when they are straightforward and honest with their beliefs. Perhaps that's what we need a little more of in the world today.
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. Then some one gave me a gift certificate for Christmas and this book was at the store; I flipped though it and found so much entertaining trivia, that I purchased it on the spot- wishing I had listened to Amazon sooner.
I have since given them as gifts to people who wanted to learn more about Catholicism, and contrary to a few opinions expressed form other reviews here, they did not find the book offensive, but appreciated it. I highly recommend it. The broad range of information it contains makes it an ideal reference for the uninitiated and curious, as well as for the person who has had much experience and education in Catholicism seeking to fill in any gaps of knowledge.