Lately, I’ve been trying to get more than a surface understanding of my faith. This has led me to read more about it. Mostly I’ve been reading saint biographies but I thought a more general book like Why Do Catholics Do That? by Kevin Orlin Johnson would also be helpful.
This book gives an overview of the Catholic Faith from its beginnings to why it’s practiced the way it is today. It discusses the churches history, what the actions and objects in the mass mean, what separates it from Protestantism as well as Catholic culture in the United States.
Parts of this book were fascinating and enlightening while others seemed rather dry. This book after a while really gave me the impression that it wasn’t meant to be read all at once but rather that if the reader was interested in a certain chapter they went straight to that chapter. It really came off in a lot of ways like a reference book a place to look up information rather than a book that is meant to be read and taken as a whole. That being said I will definitely keep this book on my shelf because it will be very helpful if I’m looking for information on a particular subject.
As I stated previously there was a lot of hit or miss chapters in this book. Which probably could be account for by the “hit” chapters were on subjects I am currently interested in while the “miss” chapters were ones I haven’t found an interest in yet. I particularly liked the chapters on the Marian Appearances and the Miraculous Medal.
I was, however, extremely disappointed in the chapter on music in the church. As he states: But as a matter of fact, the church sees music as her ‘treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art.” He is quoting from The Second Vatican Council. But for something so important (yes, I’m totally biased as a musician lol) this chapter really lacks cohesion he jumps from subject to subject without giving the reader a clear understanding of the topic. At times it becomes clear he lacks an understanding of the practical aspect of music or performance. Perhaps he tried to cover an immense subject in a very small chapter of 7 pages.
Who would I recommend this book to? Someone who already has an understanding of the Church. Someone who has little knowledge of the church would find parts of this book confusing as the author assumes the reader is familiar with the mass and other aspects of the church. But for someone who wants to build on their knowledge of Catholicism, this book would definitely be worth a read.
This is a good book for me to have around as it could be very useful if I wanted to learn more about a subject covered in the book. I’m glad I read it since I learned a lot of useful information that will bring meaning into things I rarely gave much thought to before.