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The Catholic Imagination

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  152 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Catholics live in an enchanted world: a world of statues and holy water, stained glass and votive candles, saints and religious medals, rosary beads and holy pictures. But these Catholic paraphernalia are merely hints of a deeper and more pervasive religious sensibility that inclines Catholics to see the Holy lurking in creation. The world of the Catholic is haunted by a s ...more
ebook, 213 pages
Published April 28th 2000 by Perseus - Ucal Pod (first published 2000)
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Prior to his passing in May 2013, Andrew Greeley created a prolific legacy of books with incredible range: from serious spiritual fiction (The Cardinal Sins, White Smoke, etc.) through clever mysteries (Father, later Bishop, Blackie), 'science fiction' (the angel books),and sentimental Irish romance (Nuala McGrain et al).

The Catholic Imagination exhibits yet another side of a multi-talented author's ouevre. This is Greeley the conscientious and precise sociologist, culling data from a multitude
Jun 01, 2010 Bishop rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a pleasure to read. Father Greeley is a good author as well as a Roman Catholic priest and sociologist. He really captures the essence of the Catholic culture in all of its richness and diversity. Catholicism really is one of the great human achievements in religious imagination and experience. Greeley expresses well as to why that is the case. This is a good book for anyone who would want to have a greater understanding of Catholicism whether one is a Catholic or not.
Trevor Thompson
Dec 16, 2010 Trevor Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology, religion
I've read this book in the past - maybe in late 90s, but I returned to it b/c it appeared on the table in the staff room at church as a "give-away." Plus, I recently returned to some of the themes I remembered in this book - that the things most shaping the imagination (in religion) are metaphors, stories, rituals, and images - that religion is primarily poetry in its rawest and truest sense - that the Catholic sensibility particularly sees the world in this way because of its sacramental emphas ...more
Jul 19, 2013 Donald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The late Fr. Andrew Greeley’s “Catholic Imagination” draws delicate, beautiful lines between great works of art and music by Catholic artists and the enchanted world of votive candles, care for the poor, devotion to the Holy Mother, and the acceptance of the Divine-in-the-world in which Catholics, and I think many Anglicans and Johannites, live. Greeley shows us a way of relating to God through images and thoughts which can improve our social relations and give us hope. As a catholic with a smal ...more
Sam Grace
Feb 12, 2013 Sam Grace rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pamela Hardigan
So, this is unusual one in my comps list on religion. The author is a Catholic priest and a sociologist and apparently taught at a few universities including mine, but this book is much more targeted at a lay audience than most of what I read. It was a very fast read, which was appropriate to the content. He had some survey data, but I thought that was not very convincing. More interesting was his depiction of the importance of distributed hierarchy in and through communities (particularly given ...more
This book has been referenced a few times, so I decided to read it. I read it as part of trying to answer my on-going question, "Why have the arts and imagination, generally flourished, more in the hands of catholic artists and writers, than in protestant?"

Is there something in Protestantism that "blocks" artistic pursuit? Is there something in the nature of Catholicism that is more likely to engender the arts?

Greeley points to sacramental and enchanted worldview, the sense of community, heira
Sep 17, 2007 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greeley takes an interesting approach by using sociological data to analyze how Catholics think--in contrast to Protestants, in particular. His argument that Catholics' religious background infuses the way they encounter sacred places, art, community, and the church hierarchy is compelling, though I'd be interested to see how a non-Catholic would interpret the data. I'm also not sure if non-Catholics would find this argument interesting, though I did.
Oct 18, 2015 Danielle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grad-school
Read this for a class but did not enjoy it. Gave up around the time Greely used the phrase "primal masculine power" or maybe around the 50th time sympathy was used in correlation with women. I can't remember.
Nov 14, 2008 Sandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greeley is one of my favorite authors. As a priest/sociologist, in this book he examines the role of imagination in the Catholic rituals and community. I ofter tell my family, he is my priiest. If only I could find one like him in a nearby parish, I wouldn't consider myself a "semi-Catholic".
Sep 13, 2007 Theresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
helps one look at what it means to be a Catholic (or to have a Catholic imagination) in a new way. Would recommend it to anyone who's willing to re-examine their Catholic identity.
Feb 11, 2013 Angela9600 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While some of the ideas are ok, it is very clear why this book does not have an imprimatur in it. I will not be reading any further books by him.
Oct 07, 2011 Kaily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Due to his sociology background, Greeley is a little dry. Nonetheless, it's quite insightful with his use of statistics to make his point about the Catholic imagination concrete.
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Andrew Greeley was a Roman Catholic priest, sociologist, journalist, and author of 50 best-selling novels and more than 100 works of nonfiction. For decades, Greeley entertained readers with such popular characters as the mystery-solving priest Blackie Ryan and the fey, amateur sleuth Nuala Anne McGrail. His books typically center on Irish-American Roman Catholics living or working in Chicago.

More about Andrew M. Greeley...

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