Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 10, 2003
Choosing to be Catholic, again
Choosing to be Catholic: For the First Time or Once Again, by William O'Malley, sj, Allen, Texas: Thomas More Publishing, 2001. 235 pages.
Review by DEAN SARNECKI
Catholicism, at least for him, logically, is the Church to belong to.
Now, after saying that, I liked Choosing to be Catholic. There are some very positive features of this book. He explains complex issues such as biblical formation and Catholic interpretation sensitively and with great care but strictly within the guidelines of the Vatican. It is nice to find materials that explain the Catholic position so articulately and succinctly.
His explanation of the principle of sacramentality and the Church is excellent. The outline of the Mass is presented in a fresh and new way - one that explains the challenge to touch the divine in a very human manner.
Starting with his view and understanding of humanity and conscience, O'Malley leads the reader through his view of what it means to be human: How the human being is called to the divine and that this calling leads us to God.
He presents his case for the existence of God, the views of other world religions and the generic Christian. As the book moves on, he becomes more and more specific about the nature of Christianity and how the fullness of tradition and Scripture are found in Catholicism.
What comes first: faith or knowledge? O'Malley suggests that one can be led to Christian belief and Catholic practice through logic. Catholicism, at least for him, logically, is the Church to belong to. As a Catholic Christian, one who was raised as a Catholic, and as an adult has chosen to be Catholic, his reasoning makes sense to me. However, I often wonder if I had been raised in another Church, or no church at all, if O'Malley would make as much sense?
O'Malley references each topic to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Bible. He also provides interesting questions for discussion and prayer at the end of each chapter that would be useful in group settings.
I do recommend this book. This book and others like it are popular among RCIA candidates and those people instructing in parish based educational programs. As a simplified reference, it would be a very useful resource to both teachers and students at the high school and introductory college level.
(Dean Sarnecki presents O'Malley's teaching methodology at introductory religious education courses at St. Joseph's College at the University of Alberta.)
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