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Catholicism for Dummies (For Dummies)

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  745 Ratings  ·  80 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 better ...more
ebook, 432 pages
Published October 14th 2011 by For Dummies (first published April 28th 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Kyle
Apr 08, 2008 Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 23, 2013 Craig Patton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Rachael
May 20, 2010 Rachael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rebecca
May 05, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Katrina
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
...more
Kristi
Jul 21, 2012 Kristi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lindsay Wilcox
Nov 14, 2011 Lindsay Wilcox rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
Christine H
Mar 31, 2010 Christine H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edu-lit
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
Tamara
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
...more
Jan
Mar 12, 2009 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
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.
Melissa
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.
Adrienne
Sep 02, 2012 Adrienne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-finished


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.
casey
Jul 14, 2008 casey rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Katherine
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 GoodTextbooks.com it would probably pull a 4 from me.
Jane
Mar 21, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful for Catholics, Non Catholics, Life-Timers, Converts and Re-verts alike.
Ci
Dec 23, 2016 Ci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: how-to-books
This is an excellent and readable resource book for all things Catholic. From theology and church history to the details of one's conduct in church services, this book gives a comprehensive and accessible description of Catholic life both in and out of church. At times a bit cheeky but overall serious and earnest, this is a good source book for Catholic life in American.
7jane
May 12, 2015 7jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
So, I read this book because at this point in my life I needed to, but really anyone who's interested in this could do well to read this book. Now list mainly the plus and minus points of this books while still saying that even with the minus sides it's still quite essential:

+ this book was informative even to me, and will be for those who already know many of the things mentioned here - there is always something cleared or explained a bit more
+ everything is laid out clearly and the text doesn'
...more
Holly
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
...more
Edie
Nov 04, 2014 Edie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chassidy Combs
Jan 06, 2015 Chassidy Combs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
MaryEllen Elizabeth Hart
This book is a good book to read if you are interested in learning more about the Roman Catholic Church. It is a good summary of the Catechism of the Catholic church and a little more about the saints. The book explains the Blessed Mother's role in the Catholic Church but needs to include Our Lady of Lourdes.
Wendy Wong Schirmer
Jun 14, 2016 Wendy Wong Schirmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
Excellent, lively, and orthodox primer-- meant both for not-so-well-catechized Catholics who want to know more about the faith they thought they "knew," and for those in general wanting to know something about what Catholics actually believe, and who are unsatisfied with "What Everybody Knows" about the Catholic Church.
Kelly Thompson
Dec 09, 2010 Kelly Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sarah
Jun 24, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: insight
A good read for anyone! Well written with humor, insight, and explanations for Catholics and non Catholics alike. Many times I read passages out loud to my husband because they just needed to be shared.
Megan
Jan 08, 2010 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm deeply interested in many religions, and I enjoyed reading what Catholicism was about from the perspective of those who have dedicated their lives to it. Gives you a nice overview without bogging you down in details.
Jennie
Apr 05, 2016 Jennie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not Catholic, but that's why I read this book--to see what's up with things I know a little about, mostly via pop culture, like the rosary, focus on Mary, celibate priests, etc. Very well-written, informative, and faith-affirming for me in my own religion.
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