Sunday, July 30, 2017

Book Review: "Why We're Catholic" by Trent Horn

Trent Horn's latest, Why We're Catholic, reinforces my opinion that he is one of today's most gifted Catholic writers and speakers. Last summer I had the pleasure of reviewing his Hard Sayings. I've also read his Persuasive Pro-Life. Each showcases his ability to use humor, analogy, and iron-clad logic to communicate his message.

Why We're Catholic: Our Reasons for Faith, Hope, and Love is an ideal introduction to the Faith. At 219 pages, it lacks the intimidation factor of a theological tome. Horn structures the book around twenty-five judiciously chosen statements, beginning with the foundational "Why we believe in truth," and ending with "Why we hope for heaven." In between is a tour de force addressing everything from the divinity of Christ and theology of the Eucharist to the Catholic rejection of contraception. It harnesses reason and natural law to address readers coming to Christianity from the outside, and copious amounts of Scripture and Church history to explain Catholicism to our separated brethren.

Horn has an encyclopedic grasp of the scriptural, historical, and logical reasons for holding the Catholic Faith; but what really sets his work apart in my mind is his use of analogy. It's such a powerful tool; we can understand why Jesus made such frequent use of it in His own teaching. Let me throw out a few examples from Why We're Catholic:
Hypocrisy, violence, and "long lists of rules" aren't good reasons to reject organized religion, or any organized activity. Imagine someone who said, "I don't believe in organized sports. Sports leagues are filled with cheaters and the fans are obvious jerks. Some of them even cause violence when they riot after games. And there are so many pointless rules! I can be athletic on my own without playing or even watching organized sports." (p. 44) 
Leaving the Church because a priest or layperson committed a serious sin would be like swearing off hospitals because a doctor committed malpractice. What the doctor did was wrong, but that doesn't change the fact that the hospital is still the best place to go if you're sick. Similarly, Christ gave his Church the means to free us from sin, so we do ourselves no favors if we reject that remedy because some Catholics who fell into scandal refused to take it. (p.135) 
Denying babies God's grace through baptism so that they can choose it later as an adult would be like denying a baby medicine so that he can choose to take it "for himself" when he gets older." (p.124)
Analogies like these cut through the fog of relativism and the errors that bedevil "Bible-only" theologies. Horn's creativity really impressed me. Thrilled to say that the book also generated a couple of really neat discussions with my teenager!

Why We're Catholic: yet another winner from Catholic Answers Press.

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