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Why Do Catholics Do That?
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Why Do Catholics Do That?

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  689 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
In Why Do Catholics Do That? renowned scholar and religion columnist Kevin Orlin Johnson answers the most frequently asked questions on Catholic faith, worship, culture, and customs, including:
* How the Church Makes Laws * The Hard-Fought Genesis of the New Testament * The Cycle of Redemption * A Short Guide to the Meaning and Structure of the Mass * Decoding Symbols of Sc
Paperback, 287 pages
Published October 10th 1995 by Ballantine Books (first published September 1st 1994)
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Sep 06, 2016 April rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-religion
It's concise, uplifting, informative, and worthwhile. The book is directed to members of the Catholic Church, but it still managed to captivate me (I'm a Mormon) throughout 99% of it. Tradition is the overriding theme of the work. It was a highly entertaining summary of Catholicism's long history. The author makes a good case for why we all should appreciate that history. I was impressed. It covers a wide range of topics from church building specifications to the church's position on miracles an ...more
Kevin Hartley
When I read this book, it was mostly as a joke. I had decided to read it because I thought the title was humorous. However, I read it seriously, not half-heartedly. This is one of two books (the other being Greg Tobin's "The Wisdom of St. Patrick") that helped to begin and solidify my thought processes toward converting to Catholicism. The author really pulls you in and forces you to look at not just what the Church does, but why it does those things and whether or not that is what we all should ...more
Jan 07, 2014 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who want to understand their Catholic friends and family (and their own faith)
For all you Catholics (and non-Catholics) who wonder what the different symbols, numbers, Saints, and other "Catholic Culture" things really mean: GET THIS BOOK!

Seriously - I am a life-long Catholic (and a well-read and educated one, particularly about my faith), and I still learned many things from reading this book (e.g., the origin of Nativity sets/creches, the significance of the 153 fish pulled in at the end of the Gospel of John, different Saints I'd never heard of before).

I just recently
Doreen Petersen
Sep 06, 2016 Doreen Petersen rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
A unique, informative and delightful read for Catholics.
Jul 18, 2010 Beth rated it really liked it
This book was originally titled "Expressions of the Catholic Faith" which doesn't sound nearly as enticing. However, the original name was much more suitable to the book. This isn't some cutesy book explaining Catholic traditions for non-Catholics. This was written by a hard-core Catholic for other Catholics, and he doesn't stop to explain most of the terms he uses. I'm still not sure exactly what "liturgy" means, and that word was like, on every single page of the book.

Also he stops and lets yo
Fredrick Danysh
Oct 05, 2013 Fredrick Danysh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, history
The author looks at the faith, customs, and traditions of the Catholic Church. His work is somewhat dated as indicated by his discussion of the rosary where he does not mention the luminous mysteries. The book discusses the rites of the church as well as explaining the significance of the priest's vestments. There is a brief history of the development of Catholicism and its Protestant offshoots. Mention is made of the religious officials of the Church. I thought that it was a decent introduction ...more
Rachel Swords
Aug 13, 2011 Rachel Swords rated it really liked it
A must-read for those interested in the Catholic Church as it explains many basic Catholic concepts and traditions, such as the structure of a typical mass and the Stations of the Cross.
Kate Ditzler
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 17, 2010 Alisa rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I have attended Catholic Masses since I was little and even went to Catholic Schools yet I am not Catholic. I decided to convert and when I started going to the classes at the local Catholic Church they gave me this book to read and said that it would halp explain Catholicism and What it meant to be a Catholic. I was in college and very eager to understand.. but, it wasnt meant to be I guess, at least not at that time.. because scheduling conflicts and mandatory events.. I was unable to continue ...more
Nov 30, 2008 Monica rated it really liked it
This book was given to my husband and I by our parish priest. Even though I've been a catholic my entire life, I have learned quite a bit about the traditions and "culture" of the church - why we do what we do. There is an amazing 2000 year history to Catholic culture, and NOTHING (not even the tiniest thing, so far as I can tell) is done without a reason behind it! From the colors of the vestments to the shape of the churches - it's all in here and explained in easy terms.
Aug 06, 2016 Chad rated it really liked it
This book teaches you things about the Catholic Church that you don't learn in CCD. After reading this book, I now have a better understanding of the ritual of Mass, the history of the Church, and the difference between Tradition and Scripture. It has changed the way that I look at the Bible. I'd recommend this book to Catholics who want to know more about their religion and anyone who is interested in the history of religions.
Julie Davis
Sep 02, 2016 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing
I read this long ago, not too long after my conversion. I've since given away numerous copies to the curious (and sometimes to the hostile). There are plenty of this sort of book out there but this is my favorite.
Jun 25, 2012 Marcia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
This book attempts to explain basic Catholic doctrine and practice. The author cites the Bible as the foundation for Catholic beliefs, and custom explains many of the practices. The tone is conversational and easy to understand. The author includes many quotes from many sources. The book also has a list of books for the reader to continue individual interest and a handy index.
Feb 16, 2015 Kevin rated it it was amazing
I was raised Catholic and now, after years away from the Church, I've gone back. Reading this book broke down some of the history of why the Catholic Church does things the way it does, and I was especially intrigued by the chapters on the meaning behind the structure of the mass and the fundamental differences between Catholic and Protestant teachings. A quick read as well.
Mar 09, 2011 heardtheowl rated it really liked it
Shelves: research
Although it was written with the impression that the reader would *be* Catholic and know about the mass and other general info, I found this book to be packed with awesome and interesting facts. I really appreciated the author's citations and the history of 'why' made this a really great book for learning more about Catholic Tradition.
May 06, 2013 Jackson rated it it was ok
If you have already made up your mind that Catholics do everything because they are so much better and smarter than everyone else, this is the book for you! There are some great historical facts, a potload of opinion, and an imprimatur, of course. Now I feel uncharitable. Recommended for some.
Nov 11, 2009 Nancy rated it it was ok
Recommended to Nancy by: Lorie
It didn't really answer the questions for me like I had hoped it would. The author gets to wrapped up in examples that the point of the answer to his questions is lost. I am to much of a get to the point person. I just want the answers and I didn't care about all of the examples.
Apr 19, 2008 James rated it it was amazing
Ever wondered why catholics use incense? Or what's with those crazy hats? This is for you. Written in a easy-going manner, and in small chapters. Makes a great religious companion to Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.
I don't know if I can justify the 5 stars on the writing alone, but it is getting 5 stars because this book has had such a big impact on my life. I look forward to rereading it again.
Oct 08, 2008 Ryan rated it it was amazing
This is an insightful resource for many of the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church. The explanations are well-written, and are designed for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Jan 29, 2008 Laura rated it liked it
Interesting read, for one unfamiliar with the Catholic Church. This was a toe in the water, next I shall dive into the Catechism.
Jelani Mcewen
Sep 12, 2011 Jelani Mcewen rated it liked it
Great introduction to the Catholic faith, but lacked the doctrinal depth I was looking for, although I loved the little anecdotes and facts.
Sep 08, 2012 Daisy rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, theology

Really fascinating history of the Church and a good introduction to further reading.
May 12, 2013 pjr8888 rated it really liked it
a birthday gift from Lisa C Eng-Beeman, 1997
Jan 21, 2015 Johanna rated it it was ok
So far I have learned to appreciate more my Catholic faith.
Mark Sr
May 01, 2013 Mark Sr rated it really liked it
This book answers a lot of questions for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
Kerrie Chabot
Aug 06, 2011 Kerrie Chabot rated it liked it
I'm still trying to understand.
Lisa Mccoy
Jan 02, 2017 Lisa Mccoy rated it really liked it
This was a truly informative, interesting read. I've always wanted to know the whys of the Catholic faith, and this book does a great job of explaining it in an approachable, entertaining way.
Apr 13, 2008 Theodora rated it liked it
Shelves: books08, relics, catholic
What I liked: I adored the stuff about Catholic art and the Virgin's robe, the discussion of Catholic ritual washing, relics, and sacramentals, the care the person took to describe rituals and traditions.

What I didn't like: The idea that the Catholic Church is today just as Jesus would have envisioned it, including condemnation of queers and not ordinating women and all. And of course the whole Catholicism is the only way thing that runs through here.

Ugh. You might as well call this what I like
Melissa Henderson
May 14, 2014 Melissa Henderson rated it it was amazing
Great concise review of what Catholics believe and why. A step up from "Do Adam and Even have Belly Buttons?". This book will be a useful reference for refreshing / answering questions in the future. The later chapters on the origins of the Rosery and info to Apparations and the Mysterious Medal were a special treat! There's so much history behind my faith and its devotions, I never fully appreciated them until now.
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“Remember, the Church doesn't teach something because its in the Bible, its in the Bible because the Church has always taught it.” 4 likes
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