Sunday, June 1, 2014

Catholic Review: Why Be Catholic?

Why Be Catholic: Ten Reasons Why It's Not Only Cool but Important to Be Catholic by Patrick Madrid, June 3, 2014. 256 pages. Published by Image. Source: Publisher.
The popular blogger and publisher of Envoy magazine offers 10 key reasons why he loves being Catholic (and you should too). Drawing heavily on poignant anecdotes from his own experience as a life-long Catholic born in 1960s, Madrid offers readers a way of looking at the Church--its members, teachings, customs, and history--from perspectives many may have never considered.

Growing up Catholic during a time of great social and theological upheaval and transition, a time in which countless Catholics abandoned their religion in search of something else, Patrick Madrid learned a great deal about why people leave Catholicism and why others stay. This experience helped him gain many insights into what it is about the Catholic Church that some people reject, as well as those things that others treasure. Drawing upon Madrid's personal experiences, Why Be Catholic? offers a deeply personal, fact-based, rationale for why everyone should be Catholic or at least consider the Catholic Church in a new light.
First Sentence:
The Catholic Church is a lot like Noah's Ark.


I well readily admit that I don't usually go out of my way to read apologetic type books. While it's not that they aren't interesting and worthy of being read, it's the whole feeling like the author is yelling that turns me off and looses any chance of me following what they're trying to say. So, while I was extremely excited to read Why Be Catholic? by Patrick Madrid, I had no idea what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by the way he was able to convey his thoughts on the most commonly misunderstood subjects within the Catholic Church.

As many Catholics I know have mentioned, while I've never had this problem myself, there are those of other denominations that have misunderstood the teachings of the Catholic Church and been turned off by what they either don't understand or were taught falsely about our doctrines. So, with all the anti-Catholic vibes that one gets from watching the media you can understand why I wanted to delve into Patrick Madrid's latest and to see how he would would explain things to either a non-Catholic or to a Catholic who was not properly catechized. 
    That being said, I found myself quite taken with how he was able to deftly and cohesively talk about not just Church doctrines, the what's and why's on the beliefs of the Catholic Church, but also how he dealt with some of what has in the past couple of years 'rocked' the Church. The chapter that probably was the most interesting to me would be the first one, not to say that they weren't all interesting, because it took a hard look at the sexual abuse scandals that have been coming to light in recent years.

While the first chapter was interesting and left much room for thought, I found the rest of the book to be quite interesting as Patrick Madrid did an excellent job debunking some perceived myths about the church. So, while each chapter focused on one of the ten hottest contested church doctrines, I enjoyed how the author slipped in little stories about his youth and how a few encounters helped to solidify his faith.

Okay....

I just thought the book did a good job of touching on the sensitive subjects that are prevalent when one is talking about the Church founded by Jesus; I also enjoyed seeing the way you can through historical documents, be it the Bible or the writings of the Early Church Fathers, you could easily see that yes this is the one Church that was founded by Jesus and that if you really start looking and digging deep into the available resources you can trace the line of succession all the way back to that of the Apostles.

We Patrick Madrid answers the question, one of many times, Why Be Catholic? I cannot help but feel that this section in the book sums it up quite nicely. 

The way I figure it, I should trust the Lord's promises and stand squarely on that rock, not to the left of it or to the right of it, not in front or behind it, but on it. If I am with the pope, I know I am with Christ, And if I am with Christ, come hell or high water, I will not be swept away by whatever the storm might throw. pg. 107
    
 In the end, I found Why Be Catholic? to be enjoyable because he explains things so well and makes you want to take a more in depth look at things yourself and broaden your mind with the knowledge that can be found in numerous books written by the saints of the Church. My final, final thoughts on this book are that Patrick Madrid did an excellent job dispelling some of the most popular angles of the Catholic Church that are misunderstood, but what really makes his answers, other than my familiarity with the teachings regarding said topics, interesting is that when questioned he went out to find the answer. He didn't just spout what he had been taught, he questioned and looked for the answers. And, that he added in his own dealings with those who would argue that that Catholic Church was wrong was both interesting and refreshing because you saw that he a) questioned and found answers that proved the truth and b) that what he found further cemented his beliefs.

The only thing that I wished were covered in the book would have to be immigration. I would have liked to see what he would say about where the Church stands on immigration because there are so many Catholics that would benefit from knowing what is taught in regards to them. It would have definitely been nice to see it included in the chapter on the works that the church does. So, really the only thing I would change about this book would be the inclusion of that.

Final Verdict: Why Be Catholic?- A fascinating read for those looking for better answers on how to defend the faith; and for those unsure of why we believe what we do.

Why Be Catholic? earns

This book was received from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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