Saturday, October 14, 2017

Book Review: "Why I Am Catholic (And You Should Be Too)" by Brandon Vogt

Chances are that you have heard Brandon Vogt's name - talented blogger and author, founder of the StrangeNotions website, and content director of Bishop Robert Barron's Word on Fire. His latest book, Why I Am Catholic (And You Should Be Too), is an intellectually solid, well-written, apologetic that I think is particulary well-suited to millennials.

Brandon divides his apologetic into three sections, corresponding to the transcendentals of truth, goodness, and beauty. I found that to be very wise since most people, although drawn to all, seem hardwired more towards one than the others. ("Truth" has always been the strongest draw for me.) Each section is very well researched but written in a down-to-earth style. Brandon doesn't shy away from any of the difficult issues either: the all-male clergy, Church teaching on contraception and same-sex "marriage," the scandal of priests who sexually abuse children, etc. I think Brandon handled these with a great deal of realism, sensitivity, and charity while simultaneously setting forth the Church's authentic teaching.

Something that stood out to me about the book was the great use of analogy. Let me give you a few quick examples:

  • " G.K. Chesterton observed, 'Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.' We can and should be open-minded about religious questions. We should put all the options on the table and consider them fairly. But such open-mindedness is the beginning, not the end, of the search." (p.60)
  • "A wise friend noted that the right way to judge the Catholic Church is by its best members, not its worst....Just as we wouldn't judge a doctor by the people who refused to take his medicine, and should instead consider the people who actually took his medicine to see if they were cured, so with the Catholic Church." (p.87)
  • "Many people see [the Church's] rigidity as an obvious defect....But change is not a universal virtue. It's not good in all spheres of life. For example, we would never criticize mathematicians for being so rigid about the laws of geometry or the rules of multiplication. These teachings are emphatically rigid." (p.100)

Those are the kind of insights that force readers to reevaluate their preconceptions.

At 175 pages the book isn't intimidating, but it is a nice treatment of all of the big issues: God's existence, the positive value of religion, the divinity of Christ, why Catholicism instead of another form of Christianity, morality, the compatibility of faith and science, the Church's role in building and preserving Western Civilization, the heroic virtue of the saints, the Church's work for social justice, etc., etc. You'll also find suggestions for further study and helpful information  regarding the RCIA process.

Why I Am Catholic (And You Should Be Too) from Ave Maria Press - a great resource.

No comments:

Post a Comment