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Catholicism: The Story of Catholic Christianity [Paperback]

Gerald O'Collins SJ , Mario Farrugia SJ
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 21 2003
This title includes the following features: Accessible, engaging, and authoritative introduction to Catholic Christianity by the distinguished theologian Gerald O'Collins; Illuminates Catholicism in terms of scripture and history; Spells out the challenges Catholic Christianity faces at present and engages with contemporary moral debates

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Review

`This is a special book which is most highly recommended.' Fr Emmet P Costello SJ, Catholic Weekly

From the Publisher

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
By Cliff
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you're interested in the history of the Catholic Church, this book just might be for you. From cover to cover it is loaded with well researched and intelligently articulated topics. This book pulls no punches, nor does it shy away from past and present controversies regarding the largest denomination of Christianity in the world. The text flows nicely and covers the history of the Church with all its problems, real or imagined. It covers the good, the bad, and the ugly of Catholicism as it maintained its place as the first Christian Church started by Jesus Christ Himself as he passed the torch of His message to Peter to be spread throughout the world through to Pope John Paul II.

From it's humble beginnings to the Church's schism and the two Popes. From it's horrific treatment of people, Catholic and non-Catholic, Christian and non-Christian alike in the dark years of the middle ages, through the heretical Popes including the man who became known as the Borgia Pope. From the Church's struggle during the Protestant Reformation, to it's reaction in the counter-Reformation. From the the heroism of the Church during World War II as it secreted away untold numbers of Jews out of the reach of the Nazi regime, through to the early 21st century.

This book is incredibly detailed and is packed with information. It contains many names and dates to contend with that may find some readers becoming frustrated. At times it can be a tedious read. Overall however, it is well worth it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What and why we believe May 7 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am not done reading this. It is challenging in scope and vocabulary and I can only contemplate it a bit at a time. However it is greatly adding to my knowledge and inspiring to my faith. I find myself responding to my prayers and Mass to a greater depth than ever before. I thank God for this opportunity!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction May 7 2004
Format:Paperback
I am very glad to have recently stumbled across this book while in a local bookstore. My initial peruse through the contents of the book impressed me as it seemed to be a very thorough account; the high remarks on the back of the book by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury (the lead bishop of the Anglican Communion), and Philip Jenkins (history and religious studies @ Pennsylvania State University) were the stimuli that caused me to cross the threshold of inhibition and purchase it.
The book is written "from the inside", so to speak. That is, both authors are not only Roman Catholic, but also priests and theologians. Furthermore, both are Jesuits, that is, monks in the order of the Society of Jesus. Despite the widely held cultural belief that the Roman Catholic church is highly secretive if not downright dishonest, both O'Collins and Farrugia write openly: they note the various failures of the past. However, as they also note early on, the history of the Roman Catholic church is far more than one of failure: otherwise, the only thing that could account for its success would be the (manipulatory) work of the Holy Spirit.
The book has 11 chapters:
1: The First Thousand Years
2: The Second Thousand Years
3: Revelation, Tradition, and Scripture
4: The Tripersonal God and the Incarnate Son
5: The Human Condition
6: The Life of Grace and the Hope of Glory
7: The Sacraments
8: The Catholic Church and its Mission
9: Catholic Moral Life and Teaching
10: Basic Characteristics of Catholicism
11: Current Challenges
Hence, the book is far more than a simple history of the world's largest religion: it is an overview - at times, considerably detailed - of Catholic history, thought, and practice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book Found June 13 2010
Format:Paperback
I needed to find this book for my daughter's university studies. All copies in the libraries were gone and she had an essay due in no time. I thought Amazon.com might had it and they did. I was so glad. The book came on time and she was able to read it and write her essay on time. Thanks to Amazon.com!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction May 7 2004
By benjamin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am very glad to have recently stumbled across this book while in a local bookstore. My initial peruse through the contents of the book impressed me as it seemed to be a very thorough account; the high remarks on the back of the book by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury (the lead bishop of the Anglican Communion), and Philip Jenkins (history and religious studies @ Pennsylvania State University) were the stimuli that caused me to cross the threshold of inhibition and purchase it.
The book is written "from the inside", so to speak. That is, both authors are not only Roman Catholic, but also priests and theologians. Furthermore, both are Jesuits, that is, monks in the order of the Society of Jesus. Despite the widely held cultural belief that the Roman Catholic church is highly secretive if not downright dishonest, both O'Collins and Farrugia write openly: they note the various failures of the past. However, as they also note early on, the history of the Roman Catholic church is far more than one of failure: otherwise, the only thing that could account for its success would be the (manipulatory) work of the Holy Spirit.
The book has 11 chapters:
1: The First Thousand Years
2: The Second Thousand Years
3: Revelation, Tradition, and Scripture
4: The Tripersonal God and the Incarnate Son
5: The Human Condition
6: The Life of Grace and the Hope of Glory
7: The Sacraments
8: The Catholic Church and its Mission
9: Catholic Moral Life and Teaching
10: Basic Characteristics of Catholicism
11: Current Challenges
Hence, the book is far more than a simple history of the world's largest religion: it is an overview - at times, considerably detailed - of Catholic history, thought, and practice. As the last chapter's title indicates, the book also takes stock of the current state of things and looks toward the future.
Each chapter takes the historical development of ideas into account in the presentation of its theme and the authors note that there have been many changes over time, particularly with and since Vatican II, the most recent of the church's ecumenical councils. The authors show a good deal of sensitivity to both the Reformation (c. 1500 c.e.) and the Great Schism (1054 c.e.), which was when the church Catholic broke into eastern and western churches: the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, respectively. Although the authors show themselves to be sympathetic to the Anglican Communion and other Protestant groups - some of which are far more in continuity with the shared Catholic tradition than others - there is a special place given to the Orthodox church.
It is appreciated that this book does not take a "top-down" approach: the social life of the church, filled with saints (and sinners), philosophers and mystics is what really creates the history of the Roman Catholic church. The authors are particularly fond of Dante, interestingly enough, and quote him regularly.
The picture that they paint of the Papacy is one where the primacy of the pope emerged out of political need but also became more corrupt as time went on, culminating in the high middle ages and leading to the Protestant Reformation. The pope's power has been in decline since then, reaching its all time low when Napoleon conquered the Vatican. Since then, there has been a considerable amount of theological work done by various persons and councils so as to fully articulate the place of the pope in the life of the church, both preventing abuses of power but also keeping his position the prime position of leadership. O'Collins and Farrugia discuss the meaning of papal infallibility - developed in recent times - and its precedent in earlier trends and decisions. However, they note that papal infallibility does *not* mean everything a pope says is perfect or true. Rather, it means that *when* the pope claims to speak "ex cathedra" - "from the chair (of St. Peter)" - he is and will be correct. This has only happened *twice*, though. The pope is presented as a central figure in the Roman Catholic church - he is the central bishop - but not as more important than the larger, shared tradition of Roman Catholicism.
Particularly helpful at the end of the book is a list of titles for further reading, some of which I have bought and others which I am planning to buy. The detailed chapters are welcome to this reader; this book is no lightweight introduction. I think that cuts both ways, though, as the amount of detail - lovingly and painstakingly written about - may overwhelm some readers. Regardless, I think this book is still an excellent place to start learning about the Roman Catholic church.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars June 29 2014
By RAFAEL GONZALEZ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thank you
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Imprimatur? Dec 5 2012
By NiPo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Read this if you want to know the theology that has led the Holy Church to the precipice in the last fifty years. Cardinal Josef Ratzinger(Pope Benedict XVI) noted that sin will continue to the end of time and the only way to eradicate it would be to eradicate Free Will. Gerald Collins has found a quicker and easier way to eradicate Sin. Conscious denial of Sin makes one a deadly enemy of Christ's Holy and missionary Church, whereas being a sinner makes a living soul a candidate for mercy and salvation. Traditional concepts such as the Church's Mission, Salvation and Sin are scant. The Church exists not to court the popularity of the World but to save souls.
0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catholicism Feb. 18 2011
By chemistry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I got my book on time and in the condition as described. however, the book was for my religious studies class and do not really like the language at all. it's very complicated but i just like the fact that i recieved my book on time from this seller:)
5 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ditch this Nov. 9 2006
By Apokrinomai - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Good content, but what it lacks is readability. The information is haphazardly stream of consciousness. Also Girardian heresy begins to sneak in during the discussion of the nature of Christ's death.
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