Being Catholic Today

 
9780006281580: Being Catholic Today

An inviting dialogue for exploring and understanding the Catholic faith today.

Laurence McTaggart knows that many people have been hurt by the Catholic church, are confused by it or disagree with it. A Benedictine Deacon, he aims to give a message of peace and reconciliation to those disaffected while encouraging other Catholics and those considering the faith.

By exploring the Church’s teaching and the issues that arise from it, McTaggart presents a dialogue rather than a bombast of doctrine. While he tackles many subjects that have traditionally been taboo (such as suicide), his tone is sensitive and encouraging.

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Review:

Writing about religion is never easy because the topic is abstract and the temptation to fall into jargon and sanctimonious language is always acute. It is also difficult for the professional religious person to address lay people without being condescending. A Benedictine monk from Ampleforth, Laurence McTaggart, manages to avoid all these pitfalls to present us with a modern, down to earth and crisp conversation about the difficulties and joys of the Catholic faith. McTaggart begins by laying a few doctrinal foundations before going on to consider our relationship to work, wealth, prayer, sin and confession. After considering various tricky matters of Church discipline he looks at ethical issues like sexuality, morality, genetic engineering and suicide. To all these matters he brings a light touch, weaving in illustrative events from day to day life and acknowledging the huge difficulties which the high ideals of the Catholic faith present ordinary people. He steers through the rocks and the hard places to offer a workable spiritual life for ordinary Catholics. This hardback volume is handsome, but with such a popular style McTaggart's book should be accessible to more readers in a less expensive paperback format. The book would also be improved by the inclusion of a small reading list for each chapter so readers could explore further if they wish. These criticisms don't detract from the fact that McTaggart is a down to earth apologist for the Catholic faith who writes in a fresh engaging style reminiscent of the best of CS Lewis. --Dwight Longenecker

From the Back Cover:

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE CATHOLIC TODAY?

Many Catholics want to practice their faith with integrity and yearn to work through the challenging issues that seem to abound in the modern world. Fr. Laurence McTaggert sets out to explore these matters, including:
• How does – and how should – money affect the way we live?
• Women priests – should they be allowed?
• Can we doubt our faith
• Why are some people banned from the sacraments?
• What about those sometimes divisive issues, such as divorce, sex and homosexuality?
• Why bother with the church?
• Is the pope always right?
• Is confession out of date
• Why can prayer be so difficult
• Who will go to hell?
• Is suicide the final sin?
• What about euthanasia?
• How can I cope with illness, dying and bereavement?

Even though many topics have traditionally been taboo areas, McTaggert's tone is warm and encouraging. His sensitivity will help to bring down barriers between people and the priesthood as his message of reconciliation reaches out to the disaffected or uncertain. For the committed, his words will encourage, affirm and sometimes challenge.

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