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Catholicism for Dummies
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Catholicism for Dummies

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  564 ratings  ·  70 reviews
The easy way to grasp the ins and outs of Catholicism"Catholicism For Dummies" is not a catechism or religious textbook, but a casual, down-to-earth introduction for Catholics and non-Catholics. It gives commonsense explanations of Catholic weddings, Baptisms, funerals, Confirmations, and First Communions. You'll also discover other important topics that can help you bette ...more
ebook, 432 pages
Published October 14th 2011 by For Dummies (first published April 28th 2003)
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The 'For Dummies' books have an unearned stigma, I think. In general, books that survey subjects are considered inherently flawed because those that are "in-the-know" feel slighted by the lack of nuance these books give to their subjects. My feeling is, they're not meant to, and I've always thought the 'For Dummies' books were great for everything I've ever turned to them for. They do a great job of covering the entirety of a subject enough to hammer home the fundamentals but provide enough sugg ...more
Craig Patton
Not being Catholic, there are a number of questions I had concerning the Catholic faith and why Catholics believe/practice the way the do.
This book answered all the questions I had and even a few that I didn't even know I had.

I also liked how the authors did not disparage other religions when comparing them to Catholicism and how careful they were to point out where other religions and Catholicism agree.

If someone is looking for a good resource to learn more about the Catholic faith, I would hig
I hate the title of this book but loved how informative and straight forward this book was on everything about the Catholic Church. Although, I have been attending Mass for almost eight years, I realized there was a lot I still did not know. This book explained the history of the church, the changes through the years and the significance of every part of the Mass in a non-judgmental, direct,and easy to understand way. I recently went through RCIA and found this a very helpful guide. Would recomm ...more
Christine H
I haven't quite read every single page of this book yet, but I think it's a great way to get an introduction to the essence of Catholicism. I bought it to brush up on the Catechism and other teachings of the Church because I was taking a teacher's course in religion. It's a great book for giving facts and figures and snippets of history for many Catholicism-isms, but it doesn't delve so deeply that you feel overwhelmed trying to remember all the details of each of the ecumenical councils, for ex ...more
I'm not done with this book yet but I have to say it is well written and easy to read. It's helping me make peace with some of the struggles I've had regarding Catholicism. (If you're interested, and I'm not trying to spark an argument here, I am finding Catholicism to be more scriptural than I have given it credit for. I don't always like it but God never said I had to. :)

Update: This book was interesting all the way thru. About half way into it, I couldn't put it down. We are re-reading it at
I am a cradle Catholic, but found this book to be extremely helpful. I’ve always known the main beliefs of my faith, but this book delved into areas I really needed explained further. It was well written, concise and informative. I loved the detailed history of the Catholic Church and the stories of the Saints. I think this is a great book for Catholics to learn more about their faith and for non-Catholics to learn facts about the faith all in one place. There is an incredible amount of misinfor ...more
This really is a good, comprehensive introduction to a very large topic. Although I already knew the theological elements presented in this book, I learned a lot about Catholic traditions and practices. However the one critique that I have is that it is clearly one sided. Catholicism does contain liberal elements and this book dismisses them as not true Catholics through some of the comments made about those who would dissent against papal decrees or dissent over other issues such as birth contr ...more
Lindsay Wilcox
Nov 14, 2011 Lindsay Wilcox rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lindsay by: Amazon
I thought I knew a lot about Catholicism already, but this book taught me so much. I learned just enough about Church history, found support for the defenses of the faith that I already knew, and had a blast with the authors' humor at the same time. The authors are priests from EWTN, so you know their writing is 100% Orthodox. If you're interested in Catholicism, get this book!

(originally posted on 2010-01-18 04:09:31)

Also reviewed for Austin Catholic New Media on 2011-11-15.
Ed Smiley
Actually, my daughter was assigned this book in a religion class as she is going to a Catholic University. (You have to take a class in religion. Buddhism qualifies, but is usually filled. Perhaps that says something.)

Sorry Catholic friends, that's the whole story. Did want to pick up interesting tidbits, partly for my interest in Joyce (although that is a little dubious since this is post Vatican II).

Anyway, Catholic (and orthodox religion in general) is pretty alien to my way of thinking. So I
Just a brush-up course for myself as Abigail begins her religious ed. classes.

A fine overview of the Catholic faith. Useful for non-Catholics who want to learn about Catholicism, as well as for Catholics who perhaps have fallen away or simply want to reacquaint themselves with the basic tenets and core teachings. Written in a very accessible manner.

And I learned something I didn't know, but always wondered. After 34 years as a Catholic, I finally learned what CCD stands for: Confraternity of Chr
Robyn Ellis
So, yes, one is setting oneself up when you acknowledge turning to a "For Dummies" book to answer your questions, but this book really did answer a lot of them, as well as give a good overview of the Catholic Church. Honestly, most Protestants could probably benefit from reading this since it clearly and concisely clears up most of the misconceptions that Protestants tend to have about Catholics (i.e., worshiping Mary and the Saints, etc.). Definitely keeping it as a reference. No shame.
Tina Donahue Hatch
After 16 years of Catholic school, I still have questions and love this as a reference book. It is also a great guide to get to the heart of some "why" questions I get from others as well. Raising three children in the Catholic faith and having been through a divorce, then remarrying a divorced non-Catholic can be tricky. Trust me! I have never questioned my faith but this book reinforces my choice as an adult to still remain steadfast in my beliefs.
I finally finished reading this book. It has so much information in it that it takes a while to absorb it. I don't know why these books are called for dummies because there was nothing dumb about the book or the subject. It is very informative. You would have to look to other sources for more indepth study but it is a great overview. I don't feel that they really scimped on info either. I would reccommend this to anyone interested in the Catholic faith.
David S. T.
This book was pretty much as expected. It gives an overview of Catholicism, with brief introductions of beliefs and customs. Don’t expect any depth here or serious explanations but obviously that wasn’t the purpose of this book. This is a good beginners book for a non-Catholic or a Catholic who doesn't really understand why they do what they do.
So I figure I'll be currently reading this one for awhile but I'm going to move it to the "read" shelf because I've read most of it. I am a dummy when it comes to Catholicism and this is a helpful, thorough introduction. If you're interested in learning more about the religion, I'd recommend it. It seems to be a good starting point.

I enjoyed the layout and the information. I ended up learning loads about the Catholic faith however, I didn't finish it because it didn't completely hold my attention. Nothing at all to do with the book itself, I just got sidetracked. I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn, in detail, about Catholicism.
Jul 14, 2008 casey rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wanted to know more about their Catholic religion
I have been catholic all my life, and now I am trying to get back into my faith. This is a great book to start with. There are so many things I don't know about my own religon that I hope to understand a little better through this book.
Very good book, and it will be a good reference when I need it.
Only didn't get more stars because I'll probably never read it again but I do refer back to it from time to time. It can't really be an "excellent read" in my mind, more like an "excellent source of information/text book". If this was it would probably pull a 4 from me.
Very helpful for Catholics, Non Catholics, Life-Timers, Converts and Re-verts alike.
I am not Catholic, but I have been wanting to learn the foundations of the major religions, and I started with this one for unrelated reasons. I have been to Catholic Mass a few times and watched movies with Catholics in them (the extent of my prior knowledge).

I tried to go into this with an open mind because all I wanted from it was to know what was up with the religion [Caveat: I am very pro-choice]. There were definitely a few places where I wanted to throw my Kindle at the wall, but I persev
This was a great resource to help me better understand the reasons behind some Catholic traditions and customs. It wasn't condescending and neither was it "preachy", ironic as that may be.
I'm almost through reading this one. I didn't want to own it as I'm generally insulted with the whole Dummy thing, but my daughter goaded me into getting it at a used book store. Its GREAT. I'm stunned to say that, but it IS great! Written with obviously great knowledge, but still manages to slip a chuckle or two in and not once do they talk down to their reader. They wrote an updated version, I'm sure since Pope JP2 is now Saint Pope JP2, etc., but unless I find a used copy for cheap someday I' ...more
Needed a nitty gritty survey of each faith to give to the kids. Also have this series' Judaism, Islam, and Mormonism in the queue for them - have read the Morm. and Judaism, which are well done
Celeste Porturica
Started out reading here and there as with most "Dummies" books. Ended up reading it cover to cover.
Excellent overview of the religion. Very valuable for folks going through or considering RCIA.
Virginia Bieszad
Definitely a book every Catholic should read as well as anyone who ever wanted to know about the Catholic faith. Written in a direct and sometimes humorous manor, it's not a heavy read but the content is very well purveyed!
Chassidy Combs
Growing up Protestant leads to a very strong anti-Catholic bias. I was always taught that Catholics aren't Christians and the whole lot. After a long time, I felt as if God was calling me toward the Catholic Church. Of course I turn to this book and it did not disappoint. Read this cover to cover and learned so much. From history to prayers, this was a huge step in my discernment. This book is quite honestly a life saver.
Kelly Thompson
I don't like the title of this book, but it is really thorough. I had to read it for RCIA, and although I think that there are much better resources, the section on the history (political/social) of the Catholic church is given a large chunk of the book, so it's helpful in that regard.
Frank Doosey
A book for either newcomers to Catholicism, those curious, or people like me who were raised in it but slipped away and/or never really grasped the intricacies of it. It takes a lot of the complexities and makes them understandable to people without advanced degrees in Theology.
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