Item description for Why Be Catholic?: Understanding Our Experience and Tradition by Richard Rohr & Joseph Martos...
Overview Today many Catholics wonder about their role in the Church. What does it mean to be Catholic in a world of numerous competing and contradictory beliefs? What qualities does Catholic Christianity share with other religious traditions? What qualities and beliefs are unique to the Catholic tradition? "Why be Catholic?" write the authors, "is a question Catholics never asked a generation ago. If you were born Catholic, you simply accepted the faith, its traditions and beliefs. Today the Catholic Church is much different from the way it was a generation ago. It is not so easy to say what makes Roman Catholicism different from other forms of Christianity." The authors answer the question fairly and squarely, showing a deep appreciation about what is good in Catholicism and a penetrating honesty about the Church's shortcomings. Rohr and Martos also examine what it means to be Catholic in the United States today. Finally, to answer the title question in a more personal way, the present portraits of some outstanding Catholics, especially those we call saints, who have found personal fulfillment by living their faith to the utmost. After reading this book, you will appreciate more fully the unique heritage of the Catholic Church. You will understand how its magnificent tradition enriches the lives of Catholics today and propels the ever-changing Church into the 21st century and third millennium. The authors' crisp and simple style will make WHY BE CATHOLIC? A popular resource for RCIA, evangelization and religious education.
Publishers Description "The book should help every thinking Catholic. It would also make a good RCIA resource as well as a blockbuster stimulus for discussions."--"Book Nook, " Pecos Benedictine The authors answer the question, "Why Be Catholic?" fairly and squarely, showing a deep appreciation about what is good in Catholicism and a penetrating honesty about the Church's shortcomings. Rohr and Martos also examine what it means to be Catholic in the United States today. Finally, to answer the title question in a more personal way, they present portraits of some outstanding Catholics, especially those we call saints, who have found personal fulfillment by living their faith to the utmost. After reading this book, you will appreciate more fully the unique heritage of the Catholic Church. You will understand how its magnificent tradition enriches the lives of Catholics today and propels the ever-changing Church into the 21st century and third millennium. A popular resource for RCIA, evangelization and religious education.
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Studio: Saint Anthony Messenger Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.46" Width: 5.58" Height: 0.44" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 1990
Publisher ST ANTHONY MESSENGER PRESS
ISBN 0867161019 ISBN13 9780867161014
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More About Richard Rohr & Joseph Martos
Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard's teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy—practices of contemplation and lived kenosis (self-emptying), expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized.
Fr. Richard is the author of numerous books, including Everything Belongs, Adam’s Return, The Naked Now, Breathing Under Water, Falling Upward, Immortal Diamond, and Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi.
Fr. Richard is academic Dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation. Drawing upon Christianity's place within the Perennial Tradition, the mission of the Living School is to produce compassionate and powerfully learned individuals who will work for positive change in the world based on awareness of our common union with God and all beings. Visit cac.org for more information.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Why Be Catholic?: Understanding Our Experience and Tradition?
Last Chance for Catholics? Oct 24, 2006
The Roman Catholic Church has taken so much of a beating lately, mostly self-inflicted, that even lovers of the Church might be forgiven for wondering what might be the point of remaining Catholic.
To answer this desperate question come Richard Rohr and Joseph Martos to remind us of what it is about Catholicism that is still potent and worthy of our attention. Rohr and Martos are quite critical of the "ethnic Catholicism" that has become a hallmark of the religion. The strength of the Irish, Italians, French and others who brought their faith with them as they emigrated is that it was such a strong mark of their identity. The weak part is that this has little to do with the faith that Jesus asked us to exhibit. Similarly, the consumer Catholicism that marks recent American society no longer carries the counter-cultural message of the gospel, but becomes an extension of the national character.
Rohr and Martos highlight the special genius that is Catholicism - among other things, of its embrace (in spite of the male domination of its hierarchy) of the "feminine" spirit of forgiveness, healing and service. Of the martyrs, intellectuals, founders, humanists and eccentrics that have made up the rank and file of its holiest citizens, the saints. Rohr and Martos are hopeful that the Church can rid itself of the malign influences that have come to become synonymous with being a Roman Catholic. They are not afraid to talk of the Church's "shadow" side - its rigidity and dogmatism - while advocating a balance between its masculine and feminine impulses.
The Catholic Church they advocate is one that continually circles back to the Church of Jesus, who eschewed titles and honors and embraced the cross; who reached out to the lowly and forsaken rather than devising canonical penalties against them; who offered salvation the whole world - not only the self-appointed insiders and connected clerical caste. Whether there is still life in Mother Church is a question they would answer in the affirmative; whether the disaffected Catholic reader would agree is another question.
But if you are feeling abandoned by the Church and alienated by those currently in control, Rohr and Martos will remind you that the glories of Catholicism are in its wider view and ultimately in its balance of male and female elements. Bringing that sort of focus on the Church will likely irritate the close-minded but give some hope to those who stubbornly hold onto their place in then Church while the winds of division and exclusion rage on.
Unexpected Jul 26, 2001
This book has the element of the unexpected. For example, "At bottom the Catholic tradition is in touch with the goodness of the world and the joyfulness of life" (p. 6). The authors paint Catholicism as altogether too optimistic and care-free and try to support that using a contrast with Puritans. This is an intellectual slight of hand, rather than a sound intellectual argument. Puritans arouse against what they saw as corruption of the Church as it really existed at the time of Renaissance, not against the universal Christian tradition as it should exist. The Bible is very pessimistic about human nature and the New Testament is also pessimistic about life on earth in general, seeking salvation in the world Beyond. To continue this theme of the unexpected, the authors turn decidedly Nietzschean in their historical criticism on page 41, when they discuss Christianization of Germanic peoples: "They were, as the Romans called them, barbarians. They were crude and illiterate. They were wild and uncivilized. They were often at war with one another. Christianity tamed their barbaric instincts." But immediately following this, the authors become true believers: "It gave them a higher standard of morality. It gave them a deeper purpose and a broader vision."
Half way through, the book begins to wear on, warily reaching the end. It does not present a compelling argument for being or not being a Catholic. It just tells you somewhat haphazardly what Catholicism is about and presents questions at the end of each chapter for your consideration. This book is not like other books about Catholicism, so it is worth taking a look at.
An Honest Look at Catholicism... Jan 27, 2001
I was impressed by the way this book looks honestly at both the postive aspects of being Catholic and the "shadow" side. Reading it reinforced for me all the good reasons to be Catholic, reaffirming for me my decision to profess my faith in the Catholic Church some years ago. I am presently serving as Coordinator of Catholic Campus Ministry in a small university, and often have students (both Catholic and non) that have questions about the Catholic faith. I plan to have several copies of this book on hand to loan them. I will highly recommend it to those thinking of leaving their Catholic faith!
An excellent book Jun 10, 1999
I read this book 6 years ago, when I was considering becoming a Catholic. It answered many questions I had about the Church, and was a positive factor in my decision to convert to Catholicism. I liked the fact that it explains the direct lineage from the Church founded by Jesus, and is honest about both the great things the Church has been and done, and the times when the Catholic Church and Hierarchy have made big mistakes. I highly recommend it, and am ordering another copy to replace one I loaned out and never got back!
Flawed but thoughtful without defensiveness Jan 21, 1998
Whether you're wondering about coming, staying or going, this book will remind you why anyone would want to be Catholic. The authors give a clear and coherent explanation of many commonly misunderstood facets of the Church, including celibacy and the papacy, but the unique virtues of this book lie in its discussions of the Church today. Especially good are the sections on spirituality, ethnic Catholicism, and community. After reading the first two chapters, I had written countless marginal notes in the vein of "Yes, this is me," or "How true!" However, these marks became less laudatory in the section on women in the Church. Despite attempts at inclusivity, the authors betray sexist stereotypes of women as passive and men as power-hungry. I found these generalizations did not match my experiences in the Church and was rather offended to see the contributions of women, both lay and religious, glossed over in favor of the hierarchy. Also, the description of the Church as being feminine but hiding it well would certainly not encourage me toward Catholicism. The final chapter of saints is tantalizingly terse. I would have appreciated more detailed sketches of fewer people, but it does open up many avenues for exploration of the Church's past. In total, I would recommend this book to all the people who have asked me why I am Catholic, because the first half really gets at the heart of the mystery and service of the Church, but I would suggest they skim over the masculine/feminine dichotomy.