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Catholicism For Dummies, 3rd Edition (1119295602) cover image

Catholicism For Dummies, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-119-29560-0
464 pages
January 2017
US $22.99 Add to Cart

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 3

Icons Used in This Book 3

Beyond the Book 4

Where to Go from Here 4

Part 1: What Do catholics believe? 5

Chapter 1: What It Means to Be Catholic 7

What Exactly Is Catholicism Anyway? 7

Knowing What the Catholic Church Teaches 9

Grasping the basic beliefs 9

Respecting the role of the Church and its leaders 10

Worshipping as a Catholic: The Holy Mass 13

Bringing body and soul into the mix 14

Participating inside and out 14

Behaving Like a Catholic 15

Following the general ground rules 15

Avoiding sin 16

Heeding the Church’s stance on tough issues 17

Praying as a Catholic: Showing Your Devotion 17

Praying and using devotions 17

Realizing the importance of Mary and the saints 18

Following traditions 18

Chapter 2: Having Faith in God’s Revealed Word 19

How Do You Know If You Have Faith? 20

Having Faith in Revelation 21

Faith in the written word: The Bible 22

Faith in the spoken word: Sacred Tradition 26

Backing Up Your Faith with Reason: Summa Theologica 32

Through motion 33

Through causality 34

Through necessity 34

Through gradation 34

Through governance 35

Chapter 3: In the Beginning: Catholic Teachings on Creation and Original Sin 37

Making Something out of Nothing 38

Breathing Life into the World: Creationism or Evolution? 38

Angels and Devils: Following God or Lucifer 40

Infused knowledge, eternal decisions 40

The angels’ test and the devil’s choice 41

Witnessing the Original Sin 42

Tempting our first parents 42

Losing gifts 42

Wounding our nature 43

Being redeemed by God’s grace 44

Facing the four last things 44

Anticipating What’s to Come: Moving toward the End of Creation 45

The Second Coming 45

Resurrection of the dead 47

General judgment 47

The end of the world 47

Chapter 4: Believing in Jesus 49

Understanding Jesus, the God-Man 50

The human nature of Jesus 50

The divine nature of Jesus 53

The Savior of our sins; the Redeemer of the world 54

The obedient Son of God 55

The Gospel Truth: Examining Four Written Records of Jesus 56

Catholic beliefs about the Gospel 56

How the Gospels came to be 57

Comparing Gospels 58

Dealing with Heresy and Some Other $10 Words 63

Gnosticism and Docetism 64

Arianism 64

Nestorianism 65

Monophysitism 66

Chapter 5: Defining “The Church” and What Membership Means 69

Establishing a Foundation: Built on Rock 70

Seeing the Church as the Body of Christ and Communion of Saints 71

Understanding the Four Marks of the Church 72

Fulfilling Its Mission 73

The priestly office: Sanctifying through the sacraments 74

The prophetic office: Teaching through the Magisterium 74

The kingly office: Shepherding and governing through the hierarchy 75

Membership Has Its Benefits 76

Chapter 6: Organizing the Church 79

Getting to Know the Pope 80

How the pope gets his job 80

Is he really infallible? 83

Now that’s job security 88

Where the pope hangs his hat 89

Who’s Next in the Ecclesiastical Scheme of Things 91

Cardinals 91

Bishops and archbishops 92

The vicar general 95

The parish priest 96

Deacons 99

Monks and nuns, brothers and sisters 100

Part 2: Celebrating the Mysteries of Faith 103

Chapter 7: Body and Soul: Worshipping Catholic Style 105

Getting Your Body and Soul into the Act 106

Understanding Symbols and Gestures 106

The sign of the cross 107

The genuflection 107

The crucifix 107

Holy water 108

Sensing God 109

Through sight 109

Through touch 112

Through smell 112

Through sound 114

Through taste 114

Chapter 8: Entering the Church: Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation 117

Come On In — The Water’s Fine 118

Becoming Christ’s kith and kin 118

Washing away original sin 119

Baptizing with water 120

Receiving the sacrament of Baptism in other ways 125

The Holy Eucharist 128

Understanding the consecrated host 128

Discovering who can receive Holy Communion 130

Partaking of First Holy Communion 131

Coming of Age: Confirmation 132

Chapter 9: The Sacraments of Service and Healing 135

The Sacraments of Service and Community 135

Marriage — Catholic style 136

Holy Orders 143

The Sacraments of Mercy and Healing 145

Penance 145

Anointing of the Sick 152

Chapter 10: Celebrating the Catholic Mass 155

What Exactly Is the Mass? 156

Honoring the Sabbath publicly 157

Participating fully 157

Uniting past, present, and future 158

The Two Parts of the Mass 158

Beginning the Mass 159

Greeting (Introductory Rite) 160

Acknowledging sin (Penitential Act) 160

Gloria 161

Opening Prayer (Collect) 161

The Liturgy of the Word 162

The Liturgy of the Eucharist 166

Vatican II and the Celebration of Mass 175

Allowing worship in vernacular languages 175

Other changes resulting from Vatican II 176

Checking Out the Roman Missal, Third Edition 177

Understanding the Latin roots 177

Seeing why change was necessary 178

Knowing what it means for you in the pew 178

Adjusting the Mass for the Occasion 178

Weekday and Sunday 179

Holy days of obligation 179

Simple and solemn celebrations 180

Spiritual Seasons of the Year 181

Christ Our Light: The first half of the liturgical year 181

Christ Our Life: The second half of the liturgical year 182

Part 3: Living a Saintly Life 183

Chapter 11: Obeying the Rules: Catholic Law 185

Following the Eternal Law of God 186

The divine positive law 186

The natural moral law 187

The human positive law 189

Playing by the Church’s Rules 193

Attending Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation 194

Receiving the Holy Eucharist during Easter season 194

Confessing your sins at least once a year 195

Fasting and abstaining on appointed days 195

Contributing to the support of the Church 196

Observing Church marriage laws 196

Annulments 197

Supporting Missionary Work of the Church 198

Chapter 12: Loving and Honoring: The Ten Commandments 199

Demonstrating Love for God 200

I: Honor God 200

II: Honor God’s name 202

III: Honor God’s day 203

Loving Your Neighbor 205

IV: Honor your parents 205

V: Honor human life 206

VI and IX: Honor human sexuality 208

VII and X: Honor the property of others 211

VIII: Honor the truth 211

Coming Out Even Steven 213

Chapter 13: Being Good When Sinning Is So Easy 215

Cultivating Good Habits 216

Prudence: Knowing what, when, and how 216

Justice: Treating others fairly 218

Temperance: Moderating pleasure 220

Fortitude: Doing what’s right come hell or high water 221

The Theological Virtues 222

The Seven Deadly Sins 223

Pride goeth before the fall 225

Envying what others have or enjoy 226

Lusting after fruit that’s forbidden 227

Anger to the point of seeking revenge 228

Gluttony: Too much food or firewater 229

Greed: The desire for more and more 230

Sloth: Lazy as a lotus-eater 230

Chapter 14: Standing Firm: The Church’s Stance on Some Sticky Issues 231

Celibacy and the Male Priesthood 232

Flying solo for life 232

No-woman’s-land 238

Matters of Life and Death 240

Abortion 240

Euthanasia 243

The death penalty 245

The Just War Doctrine 246

Planning Your Family Naturally 250

The moral argument against artificial contraception 250

The natural alternative to contraception 251

What if you can’t conceive naturally? 253

Defending Traditional Family Life 255

The Economy and the Environment 257

Money, money, money 257

Ecology Theology 258

Part 4: Praying and Using Devotions 259

Chapter 15: Growing in the Faith 261

Having a Personal Relationship with God through Prayer 262

Practicing the four types of prayer 262

Getting to know spontaneous and formal prayer 264

Praying in Private and in a Community 265

Taking personal time with God: Private prayer 266

Joining others for communal prayer 267

Saying the Lord’s Prayer 269

Taking It to the Next Level: The Stages of Spiritual Growth 271

Purgative: Practicing self-denial and sacrifice 271

Illuminative: Distinguishing good from evil 272

Unitive: Connecting with God 274

Chapter 16: Showing Your Love for God 275

Going Beyond Your Basic Duty 276

Knowing when and where to pray devotions 276

Separating devotions from Mass 276

Running the Gamut of Devotions 277

Praying novenas to the saints 277

Loving litanies 279

Looking at statues and icons 280

Making pilgrimages 281

Going on a retreat 281

Wearing sacred gear 282

Praying the Rosary 283

Saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet 287

The Way of the Cross 288

Chapter 17: Expressing Affection for Mary 291

No, Catholics Don’t Worship Mary 291

What Catholics Believe about Mary 294

She’s the Mother of God 294

She’s the Mother of the Church 296

She’s the Mother of the Mystical Body of Christ 296

She was conceived through Immaculate Conception 297

She went to heaven, body and soul 300

Her never-ending virginity 301

Up Close and Personal with Mary 302

May crowning 302

First Saturdays 303

Marian shrines and apparitions 304

Chapter 18: Honoring the Catholic Saints 309

Having a Place in the Hearts of Catholics 310

Honoring God’s Good Friends 312

It’s All about Intercession 312

Recognizing a Saint 314

Looking at the process to becoming a saint 315

Going through the investigations for sainthood 316

Experiencing the beatification and canonization Mass 320

A Saint for Every Day of the Year 321

Discovering the Communion of Saints 322

Saints in heaven 323

Believers on earth 324

Souls in purgatory 325

Limbo 328

Chapter 19: Practicing Catholic Traditions 329

Adoring the Blessed Sacrament 329

Participating in Benediction 330

Adoring at church during Perpetual Adoration or the 40-hour devotion 331

Representing Life’s Journey: Other Religious Processions 334

Meatless Fridays 336

The tradition of abstaining 336

Substituting Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy for abstinence 337

Using Sacramentals 337

Catholic Funerals 339

Signifying death with ashes 339

Commemorating with blessed palms 340

Receiving the blessing of throats 340

Exorcising demons 340

Tolling bells 341

Celebrating Year-Round 342

Feast of the Epiphany 344

Feast of Candlemas 344

St Patrick’s Day 345

St Joseph’s Day 345

Marian Feasts in May 346

Feast of St Anthony of Padua 346

Feast of St Thérèse of Lisieux 346

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe 346

Part 5: The Part of Tens 347

Chapter 20: Ten Famous Catholics 349

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910–1997) 349

Archbishop Fulton J Sheen (1895–1979) 351

Mother Angelica (1923–2016) 352

John F Kennedy (1917–1963) 353

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801–1890) 354

Bishop John Carroll (1735–1815) 355

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892–1973) 355

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874–1936) 356

Dorothy Day (1897–1980) 356

Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR (1933–2014) 357

Chapter 21: Ten (Plus One) Popular Catholic Saints 359

St Peter (died around A.D 64) 359

St Paul of Tarsus (10–67 A.D.) 361

St Dominic de Guzman (1170–1221) 362

St Francis of Assisi (1181–1226) 362

St Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) 363

St Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) 364

St Patrick of Ireland (387–481) 365

St Thérèse of Lisieux (1873–1897) 365

St Pio of Pietrelcina (1887–1968) 366

Pope St John XXIII (1881–1963) 367

Pope St John Paul II, the Great (1920–2005) 367

Chapter 22: Ten Popular Catholic Places 371

Rome 371

The Basilica de Guadalupe 373

San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy 374

The Basilica of Czestochowa, Poland 375

The Basilica of Lourdes, France 376

Fatima, Portugal 377

Basilica of St Francis of Assisi 378

The National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception 378

The Minor Basilica of Saint Anne de Beaupré 379

The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament 379

Part 6: Appendixes 381

Appendix A: A Brief History of Catholicism 383

Ancient Times (A.D 33–741) 383

Non-Christian Rome (A.D 33–312) 383

Christian Rome (A.D 313–475) 385

Barbarian invasions and the fall of Rome (A.D 476–570) 386

Pope St Gregory the Great to Charles Martel (A.D 590–741) 387

The Middle Ages (A.D 800–1500) 388

Christendom: One big, mighty kingdom 388

The Golden Age 391

The downward spiral 392

The Reformation to the Modern Era (A.D 1517–Today) 395

The growing need for reform 395

The reformers 397

The Catholic Church’s response: The Counter Reformation 400

The Age of Reason 401

The Age of Revolution 402

The Modern Era 405

Appendix B: Popular Catholic Prayers 413

Latin Rite (Western Catholic) Prayers 413

Our Father (Pater Noster) 413

Hail Mary (Ave Maria) 414

Glory Be 414

Salve Regina 414

Memorare 415

Act of Contrition 415

Prayer to Guardian Angel 416

Grace Before/After Meals 416

Prayer to St Michael the Archangel 417

Act of Faith 417

Act of Hope 417

Act of Love (Charity) 417

Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary 418

Byzantine and Eastern Catholic Prayers 419

Prayer before meals 419

Prayer after meals 420

Index 421

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