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The Good Enough Catholic: A Guide for the Perplexed [Paperback]

By Paul Wilkes (Author)
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Item description for The Good Enough Catholic: A Guide for the Perplexed by Paul Wilkes...

Offering a fresh, dynamic vision of what it means to be a Roman Catholic in today's world, the author explores the enduring desire of Catholics for a relationship with God and the question of the Church's authority. Reprint.

Publishers Description
Many Catholics face a dilemma: how can one be faithful to traditions, yet remain open to new discoveries, both about yourself and Catholicism?

In The Good Enough Catholic, Paul Wilkes plumbs the hunger in Catholic souls for a relationship with God and a spiritual life, and boldly confronts the controversial issue of Church authority. After each chapter, there is an invitation to put into practice what has been explored through a rich mixture of doctrine, history, current thinking, and the personal experiences of "good enough" Catholics across America.

With this book, Wilkes beckons us to look to the essence of our religion for the guidance and strength to live lives filled with spiritual transcendence.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ballantine Books
Pages   768
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.68" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.94"
Weight:   1.09 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1997
Publisher   Ballantine Books
ISBN  0345409620  
ISBN13  9780345409621  

Availability  0 units.

More About Paul Wilkes

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Paul Wilkes is an American writer, speaker, and filmmaker who is best known for his focus on religion, especially Roman Catholicism and its monastic tradition. Wilkes has written for the New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, and Atlantic Monthly. His book, In Mysterious Ways: The Death and Life of a Parish Priest, won a Christopher Award. In addition to Merton, his PBS documentary, Paul was host and writer of the acclaimed television series Six American Families, which won a duPont-Columbia award for documentary excellence.

Paul Wilkes currently resides in Wilmington, in the state of North Carolina. Paul Wilkes was born in 1938.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Inspirational
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > Roman Catholicism
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism

Reviews - What do customers think about The Good Enough Catholic: A Guide for the Perplexed?

An Owner's Manual on How to Sin  Mar 1, 2007
Well written, but troubling book that encourage Catholics to be...well, not Catholic. As Catholics we are all called to become saints. While for most of us (myself included) that is a slow and laborious process, and most of us are far, far from being saints, the reality is that "good enough" simply isn't good enough. I remember when I was in school, if I aimed just for a pass or a B, I usually got a poor result. If I aimed for a perfect test paper, I would usually get an A.

Catholic truth and dogma has stood the test of time (2000 years). That it is difficult to adhere to, there is no doubt. I prefer to try to configure my life to an ideal, rather than to being just "good enough".

I recommend that faithful Catholics stay away from this book, or simply read it as a testament to what is wrong in our society today. Do NOT read it as a guide for configuring your lives.
Dangerous to your soul-negative stars  Feb 16, 2007
Mr. Wilkes has a somewhat engaging way of writing, in my opinion, and enough good stuff in the book to make it DANGEROUS. Because some of what he says is valid, it would appear to the uneducated reader that he is correct on all of it, but that is FAR from the TRUTH! He advocates being a dissenting Catholic and works his best to convince the reader that it's fine to make one's own decision on abortion, birth control, etc.

Mr. Wilkes was recently the keynote speaker at a conference at our FORMER parish, a parish that is losing Catholics in droves as it seeks to fill itself with "Good Enough Catholics" who will write a check and pat themselves on their back after they hear the "feel-good" homily. I have no doubt that Mr. Wilkes' influence on the pastor of our former parish is causing our pastor to lead many souls astray.

Any follower of Christ continues to seek to better him or herself and wants to reflect the light of Christ as best s/he is able at that point in his or her journey. To think that being a "Good Enough Catholic" is good enough is to be sadly and dangerously misled. In this case, settling for mediocrity can be settling for Hell...
No such thing as a "good enough" Catholic!  Apr 17, 2006
When people of other faith's wonder why so many Catholics do not understand their own religion it is because of books like these that water down the dogma. The Catechism does not come with a disclaimer- `read this, but what ever you feel will be good enough.' It sets forth the truth of the faith. When you take bits and pieces of Catholicism (like this book does) and make believe that you are Catholic then you have missed the mark. This book unfortunately helps people feel good or ok about missing the mark.

I was once a fallen away Catholic and what brought me back was the Truth of the Church, not some watered down version or excuse for my shortcomings. I connected with the Truth and I had fallen away because I was taught something more lukewarm growing up.... (Like what is in this book.) When a person is searching on their faith journey, anything less than the truth will leave them wanting and feeling incomplete, in fact they will turn elsewhere.

This book creates confusion for well meaning Catholics that feel they may find something they did not already know about their faith. My suggestion is to go out and buy the Catechism and read what Catholics truly believe. If you do not believe that, then you are some other Christian denomination.

Someone else suggested this might be good for RCIA...On the contrary! Someone new to the faith needs to understand the fullness of the faith, what the Church truly teaches...not this man's opinion. Once again, the Catechism is one book that should be necessary for any RCIA program.
Challenging & compassionate  Apr 1, 2005
Ironically, all the negative reviews for this book merely reinforce its necessity. A fine, nuanced, thoughtful work, it explores the choices to be made by the individual conscience of each Catholic. Far from trying to make things easy, it advises wrestling with the issues & making deeply considered & deeply felt decisions, rather than letting established dogma do the thinking for us.

For those who cling to a strict & narrow view of Catholicism, as if it has been unchanging since the founding the Church, I can only state that Catholicism has changed & grown constantly over 2000 years; indeed, it could not have survived this long without doing so. And just as the accepted truths & dogma of centuries past have been modified or discarded completely, in keeping with the changing times & the growth of human understanding, so too will many of the supposedly uncontestable truths & dogmas of today be modified or discarded eventually.

These are dark & uncertain times; and in such times, frightened people tend to clutch at fundamentalism & rigidity, often surrendering their own consciences to an established, unquestioned belief. But the truly courageous spiritual seeker won't simply abdicate his or her life & conscience; instead, he or she will most likely take the more challenging path offered by Wilkes, and attempt to find the common ground between the institution & the individual.
Don't settle  Jan 22, 2005
The notion of being "good enough" indicates a willingness to settle, which we are not called to do. We are called to always strive to be closer to God, and to ask for God's Grace to be made more holy.

I hope that people do not pick up this book and think that it represents the teachings of the Catholic Church. If you want to know what the Church teaches, pick up a Catechism, read some papal Encyclicals, and pray for guidance. I was particularly struck at the un-Catholic-ness of parts of this book when I read where Wilkes says that there comes a time when single, unmarried people will want to engage in sexual activity, and the guidelines for doing so. That is very much not the position of the Catholic Church. And if someone wants to make the claim that Wilkes is just reflecting the reality of the situation, I would say that just because it's what the current culture allows doesn't mean that it has to be the reality for Catholics. Catholics are called, if they truly believe what they profess in the Creed and in the way they act, to be countercultural.

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