Catholics are not Christians. They worship Mary. They do whatever the pope says. They cannot divorce. They eat fish on Fridays. These flawed but common statements reflect a combined ignorance of and fascination with Catholicism and the Catholic Church. Catholicism Today: An Introduction to the Contemporary Catholic Church aims to familiarize its readers with contemporary Catholicism. The book is designed to address common misconceptions and frequently-asked questions regarding the Church, its teachings, and the lived experience of Catholics in modern societies worldwide. Opening with a concise historical overview of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, the text explores the core beliefs and rituals that define Catholicism in practice, the organization of the Church and the Catholic calendar, as well as the broad question of what it means to be Catholic in a variety of cultural contexts. The book ends with a discussion of the challenges facing the Church both now and in the coming decades. Also included are two short appendices on Eastern Catholicism and Catholicism in the United States.
Table of Contents
Introduction A Very Concise History of Christianity / Catholicism – A very short history from Jesus to the twentieth century Chapter One: Being Catholic – What does being Catholic mean? Chapter Two: Catholic Belief – What should a Catholic believe in? Chapter Three: The Catholic Church – The structure of the Church. Chapter Four: Catholic Rituals – The sacraments and sacramentals of the Catholic Church Chapter Five: The Catholic Calendar – The structure of the year Chapter Six: Challenges – The main challenges today for the Church Appendix I: Eastern Catholics – Who are the eastern Catholics? Appendix II: Catholics in the United States – A very short overview of Catholicism in the US
Evyatar Marienberg is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"...a concise, accessible, and impressively comprehensive overview of the Catholic Church... On each topic, Marienberg admirably describes the relevant themes, issues, and debates while avoiding partisanship himself. Summing Up: Highly recommended." - CHOICE, 2015