On Being Catholic Paperback – Feb 1 1997
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About the Author
Thomas Howard was a Professor of English and Literature for over 30 years. He is the author of numerous popular books including Chance or the Dance, Dove Descending: T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, On Being Catholic, Lead Kindly Light and Evangelical is Not Enough.
Top Customer Reviews
Howard's style reminds me a lot of C.S. Lewis'. When I first read of this comparison on the back cover I was dubious. However, his writing is laced with references to classical literature and a variety of philosophies. His knowledge of secular and Christian thought is quite impressive, as is his Latin and English vocabulary. Like Lewis, he seamlessly and clearly articulates his thoughts in a way that is quite beautiful without being superficial. Like Lewis, he also handles objections to his ideas as he writes, anticipating the objections various types of readers might have. While it is likely that Lewis will be read long after Howard, this is no reason to dismiss the importance of what Howard has to say.
For me, what makes his work so impressive is that he appeals to the deep need that humans have for tradition, religious encounter, symbol, sacrament, ritual, etc. Much of the book is based not on cold logic, but on human need and longing. A good example is when he explains the need that humans have for ceremony and ritual, and how eventually we "give external shape to what is in our hearts." He explains how when we internally remember a birthday, we give visible and external shape to this inner matter through common birthday rituals like candles, cakes, and presents. These rituals do not supersede the inner reality, but give meaningful shape to it.Read more ›
That summer, I found myself doing volunteer work in the South Bronx with the Missionaries of Charity, and, lo and behold, this gem of a book was on their bookshelf. Next to it were also "Evangelical is not Enough" and "Chance or the Dance?" I first read "Chance or the Dance?", since it was shorter, then made my way to the book in review.
I must say that I wasn't used to the big vocabulary at all, but I loved the style of writing; it reminded me of C.S. Lewis, a long time favorite of mine. The big vocabulary may scare some away, but, as one reviewer recommended, I kept a dictionary nearby for the chance occasion when "reading in context", as we were all taught in English Class, just wouldn't cut it for me (the dictionary also helped me learn how to pronounce such words as "babushka" and "ebullient", which I had never come across before).
The range in chapter topic is quite nice. I can't quite say that it "covers everything", but I can certainly say that it suffices. I shall digress for a moment, and talk a wee bit more about his writing style. I think what I told my Mother last night in reference to this here book sums up my thoughts on his style of writing: "I feel like I'm reading poetry."
This book is just short of flawless. The only thing that I don't like, is his usage of the term "Roman Catholic Church" in reference to the whole Catholic Church.Read more ›
That doesn't exhaust where you may have come across Thomas Howard, but those are a few places I ran into him. He described himself once in the New Oxford Review as sitting on a cliff overlooking Rome, dangling his legs off the end, and wondering how long it would be until he jumped. As it turned out, not only Howard, but editor Dale Vree, and everyone else associated with that publication jumped--with the magazine shifting from lively Episcopalian discussions to lively Catholic ones. Eventually I followed Howard and another favorite writer, Malcom Muggeridge, and jumped off myself.
Fortunately, my sponsor gave me this book as a confirmation gift. I say fortunately, because Howard describes a worst-case church service of the sort I experienced as a new convert in a new church. If not for this book, I would never have gone back, and never found the sort of joy and belonging that follows the awkwardness and discomfort of exploring something new.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Howard, a convert, reflects on the topics of Man's Nature, Unity, Eucharist, Going to Church, the Mass, the Gospel, Salvation, Prayer, Mary, Humanity, Hiddennes, Tradition,... Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2004 by Sam Adams
This is a beautiful book that was instrumental in my decision to convert to Catholicism. With warmth and respect, Howard explains how and why Catholicism is different that... Read morePublished on March 4 2003 by Thomas More
As a cradle Catholic in the tumultuous and exciting process of re-discovering my own Catholic faith, Thomas Howard's book is an absolute treasure! Read morePublished on June 27 2002
I've been reading a lot of heavy theology lately, a lot of patristic sources, a lot of Greek and Hebrew and Latin word studies, and a lot of philosophical arguments for the... Read morePublished on Nov. 10 2001
It takes only a few disappointments to become skeptical whenever you see a form of media being rated five stars. Read morePublished on April 27 2000 by J. Berry
'Maezeus' and david thomas's reviews say everything I could have wanted to say about this lovely book. I just wanted to add my vote. Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2000
Having grown up in an evangelical protestant home, I recently began to look into the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church to expand my understanding of christianity. Read morePublished on June 2 1999 by David Thomas (email@example.com)
This is a beautifully written book that I will read again and again. As a Catholic I found the material presented in a spiritually rich fashion that inspired me to reflect on many... Read morePublished on Nov. 13 1998 by R. J. Marsella
On Being Catholic is one of the most beautiful, winsome books on Catholicism that I have ever read. Read morePublished on Aug. 23 1998 by GrandmaBlondie