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The complete idiot's guide to understanding Catholicism
Synopses & Reviews
The Complete Idiot's Guide To Catholicism explores the world's largest religious denomination and introduced you to the Catholic practice. It offers you a new approach to learning Catholicism, covering the rituals and symbols of the religion, such as Mass, the Seven Sacraments, and the holy days and their meaning. The authors tell you how Catholicism has spread throughout the world, its roots, and how it has grown and changed over the course of this century. It's a valuable tool for anyone interested in examining--or reexamining--this large and complex religion.
This wide-ranging examination of the origins, rise to power, and present-day role of the Catholic religion has now been updated to include a behind the headlines look at the recent abuse cases within the church, as well as explanations of rituals, beliefs, and sacraments practiced by countless millions around the world.
About the Author
Bob O'Gorman holds both a Master's degree and a Ph.D. in religious education. He has published several books on U.S. Catholic history and education and teaches at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola.
Mary Faulkner holds a Master's degree in religious education, and is a freelance writer, director of the Institute of Integrated Healing Arts in Nashville, and a psychotherapist in private practice. She is the author of Supreme Authority: Understanding Power in the Catholic Church.
Table of Contents
I. WHAT'S A CATHOLIC?
1. Can You Judge a Catholic by the Cover?
Why You Might Be Interested. What You Have to Believe. Catholic Ways. The Classic Definition.
2. The People: Many Faces, Many Flags.
Would I Know One If I Saw One? So Where Would I Find a Catholic?
3. Catholicism: It's a Big Tent.
From Bishop Sheen to Dan Berrigan. From Cesar Chavez to Clarence Thomas. From Bing Crosby to Madonna. From Mother Teresa to Mother Angelica. From Ted Kennedy to Pat Buchanan.
4. The Vatican: The Church That's a Country.
Just Who Is the Pope? The Big Church and the Little Church. Rules and Regulations.
5. The '60s: Seeds of Revolution.
The Stillness Before the Storm. Church as Listener. Ecumenism: Catholics' Relationship to Other Christians.
II. PUTTING THE “ISM” IN CATHOLICISM:BECOMING CATHOLIC, BECOMING DIFFERENT.
6. “It's Elementary, My Dear Watson”.
Ritual: The Old Religion, Roots, and Renewal. “Yada, Yada, Yada”. Influences of the Greeks, Romans, and Indigenous Peoples.
7. The Bible.
Sacred Scriptures. The Canon: How Are We Sure What Texts Are Sacred?
8. Birth and Spirit of a New Religion.
How We Know What We Know About Jesus. The Key Stories of the Christians. Was Jesus the First Catholic? Catholics Separate from the Jews.
III. THE SENSUOUS SIDE OF CATHOLICISM: HOW CATHOLICS EXPERIENCE GOD.
9. Tasting, Touching, Smelling God.
A Full-Bodied Experience. The Left Brain/Right Brain of Catholics. Now You See Him, Now You Don't: How God Is Present.
10. Jesus: The Original Sacrament.
Just What Is a Sacrament? Wonder Bread. The Kingdom of God Is Within.
11. Seven Sensual Sacraments.
Baptism: More Than Just Water on the Head. Confirmation: It's No Longer a Slap on the Face. Eucharist: It's More Than Just a Bite of Bread. Menagé à Trois: It's More Than Just Two in a Marriage. Holy Orders: It's More Than Just Oil on the Fingers. Penance: It's More Than Just a Kick in the Pants. Anointing of the Sick: More Than a Simple Good-Bye.
12. Who Is Mary?
Do Catholics Worship Mary? Mary, the People's Choice. Mary's Incomplete History. Council of Ephesus. Apparitions: Here, There, and Everywhere.
IV. IMAGINATION AND PRAYER.
13. Feeding the Imagination.
Sacramentals: Little Sacraments. Sacramental Gestures. Sacred Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The Liturgical Calendar: Sacred Time.
14. Catholic Prayers and Music: Tangible Poetry.
Personal Prayer. The Rosary. Monasteries, Mysticism, and Contemplative Prayer. Sacred Music.
15. For Catholics Prayer Is More Than Just Words.
Church Movements and Retreats: What's Happening! Sacred Relationships: Communion of Saints. Church Devotions.
16. The Mass: The Catholics' Big Dinner Party.
Celebrating a Sacrifice: What Is the Mass? It's More the Food Than the Talk: The Liturgy of the Eucharist. Here's the Church, and Here's the Steeple, Open the Doors, and See All the People! “O Sacrament Host Holy, O Sacrament Divine”.
V. CATHOLIC INDENTITY: WHAT MAKES A CATHOLIC?
17. It's a Tribe.
Where the Tribe Meets. Catholics' Social Face. Getting In and Out of the Tribe.
18. The Teaching Church: More Than Just a Slap with the Ruler.
The Source of the Church's Teaching: Scripture and Tradition. Theology: Formulating New Beliefs. Bargains from the Border: Liberation Theology and Base Communities.
19. The Teachings of the Church: More Than Just the Party Line.
Sin After Vatican II. Sin: Missing the Mark. Human Sexuality: “Male and Female He Created Them”. The Seamless Garment.
20. The Church: Moving from Steeple to People.
Vocation: No Family Is Complete Without One. Religious Orders: Know Your Players. Lay Vocation: What About the Rest of the Folks?
VI. THE CHURCH'S HISTORY.
21. Roman Establishment.
From Underdog to Top Dog. Christianity Comes to Your Hometown. From Rationality to Mysticism. A New Empire Is Born.
22. Division, Debauchery, and Reform: The Church's Second Millennium.
Catholic and Orthodox: The Church's Y1K Problem. Catholicism's Dark Side. Problems, Protest, and Protestants. Trendy Trent: Going to Reform School. The Church Turns Its Face to the New World.
23. The Birth of the Church in the New Land.
Colonization: Ready or Not, Here We Come! A New People Emerges. Cultural Contributions to Today's Catholicism.
24. Catholics Earn Their Citizenship.
Catholicism and Colonial America: There Goes the Neighborhood! Coming in Droves: The Immigrant Experience. Infallibility in the Land of Liberty. A Checkered Church Solidifies. Immigrant Catholics Dig In. Catholics Come of Age.
25. Face to Face in the Third Millennium: The Church Looks to the Future.
Recap: Past, Present, and Future. The Paradigm Shift. The Global Village. Partnership: From Power over to Empowerment. “Male and Female He Created Them” (Genesis 1:27). Quantum Spirituality: Matter and Spirit as One. The Next Generation.
Appendix A. Glossary.
Appendix B. Recommended Readings.
Appendix C. Chart of Symbolic Elements.
Appendix D. The Poop on Popes.
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