Monday, October 08, 2012

Tiber River Review: Catholicism by Fr. Robert Barron

This one is a keeper.  Catholicism is one, that if it didn't go completely against my grain to highlight books (I didn't even like doing it when I was in college--I don't even highlight or put notes in my Bible) would be highlighted all over.  It is a very readable book but one that has a lot of information.  I'd like to share a few of my bookmarks with you.


  •     p. 50:  Regarding turning the other cheek:  "To turn the other cheeck is to prevent him from hitting you in the same way again.  It is not to run or to acquiesce, but rather to signal to the aggressor that you refuse to accept the set of assumptions that have made his aggression possible.....The promise of this approach is that it might not only stop the violence but also transform the perpetrator of it.
  •     p. 141:  Discussing Hans Urs von Balthasar's comments on Peter and Paul:  Every priest...is...a descendant of Peter.  Every missionary...is... a son or daughter of Paul.  Without the Petrine discipline the Pauline work would be unfocused and continually in danger of dissolution.  Without the Pauline energy, the Petrine work would devolve into cold management and ecclesiastical bureaucracy.  The two together, in tensive harmony, have propelled the church through the centuries and around the world.
  •     p. 146, quoting St. Joan of Arc:  "About Jesus Christ and the church, I know only this:  they're simply one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter." As an articulation of the peculiarly Catholic sense of the church, it would be hard to improve on that.  


The book begins with a look at the Nativity as the beginning of Christianity and at some high points in the life of Christ.  From there, Fr. Barron takes a look at the beatitudes and the parable of the Prodigal Son.  He points out that the older son, in saying that he has been working like a slave all those years, said nothing of reciprocal love; rather his were the comments of one driven by mercantile calculation.  He then spends a chapter on the nature of God and the Trinity.  While I claim no great expertise in non-Catholic Christian theology or beliefs, I doubt there would be much in these chapters, other than the presumption that the Catholic church is the original Christian church, with which most non-Catholic Christians would disagree.

Chapter 4 is a different story.  It covers Catholic Marian doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary.  It talks about why those doctrines are important in understanding the nature of God and Jesus, and what they mean to us.  Mary's apparitions at Lourdes and Mexico are covered as well.  Chapter 5 is about Peter and Paul and the complimentary natures of their ministries.  Fr. Barron mentioned one of the great issues of the Reformation--what is necessary to be saved, per Paul.

Though this takes more brainpower to read than a trashy novel, it isn't a hard to read book.   Rather, Catholicism is one of those books that should be read a little at at time and the ideas mulled over in your mind and heart.  Grade:  A

I wrote this review of Catholicism for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River, though I received this book for another blog tour.  See my tour post for a video trailer and to read the first chapter.

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