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Letters to a Young Catholic (Art of Mentoring)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  601 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
In this remarkable tour of the Catholic world, George Weigel helps us understand how Catholicism fosters what Flannery O'Connor called "the habit of being." Taking the reader by the hand, Weigel embarks on a journey to Catholic landmarks as diverse as Chartres Cathedral and St. Mary's Church in Greenville, South Carolina; the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and G.K. Chesterton
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 2nd 2004 by Basic Books (first published 2004)
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Webster Bull
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
I've read this twice since my conversion to the Catholic Church eight years ago, since I too am a "young" Catholic now in my 60s. And I have ordered it for a young Catholic close to me who may be questioning his faith. Though one in a series of "Letters to a Young . . . " Weigel's book is a nonpareil. Rich in stories of Catholic culture, clear in its explanation of Catholic teaching, and ultimately very hopeful in a world that sometimes seems all secular, all the time, Weigel's letters will rein ...more
Tirzah Eleora
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me about a year and a half to finish this one (I started it last winter, dropped it for a year and picked it up again this summer) but it's a good one! It's a series of essays on Catholic thought as demonstrated through various Catholic figures and pieces of history. He discusses the ideas of a few of my favourites such as Flannery O'Connor, G. K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh and Karol Wojtyla. (<----I'd put Weigel's mammoth bio of this great servant of God on my to-read list, but I'm too ...more
Julie Davis
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rereading this and enjoying immensely. It seems like a perfect bookend to Robert Barron's Catholicism. Both informative and inspirational, it would be the perfect gift for any Catholic, especially American Catholics.
David
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a better book than the 3 stars suggest, but I feel like there has to be a cap on any book that takes me more than a year to read.

I decided to read Letters to a Young Catholic because I had failed at just about every theology book I had tried to read in the past few years. 12 years of Catholic school (albeit a very long time ago) should be enough to understand them, right? Nope. OK then, maybe a book written for young people would be more my speed? Plus I had been reading George Weigel's
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Nick Manfredi
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is far and away the most important book I have ever read. Weigel weaves together a series of letters so personal they transcend to the universal. His prose at moments leaps secretly into poetry. He regards the spiritual, physical, patriotic and counter cultural capacities of Catholicism with equal and incredibly digestible gravity. This is a book for anyone willing to wade out into the estuary where the pragmatic meets the mysterious. 5/5
Elyn
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was a gift from a friend because we have visited many of the places the author mentions. Each chapter with Les about the places and more a jumping off point for private meditation about Catholicism and the nature of it. In addition, source list in the back provides lots of material for my spiritual reading list.
Rachel
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Reviewed on November 6, 2007:

Reading this book--about halfway through my journey through RCIA--was a joy from beginning to end.

Weigel begins with the idea that having a uniquely Catholic worldview has a great deal to do with actually being Catholic. And so, he takes his readers on a tour of the "Catholic world," beginning in Flannery O'Connor's hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia, where he discusses the "habit of being," and ending at the Basilica of the Holy Trinity in Kraków, Poland, which prea
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Philip P.
GREAT book. Though there remains no chance of me "swimming the Tiber," this sure made me appreciate and understand my Catholic brethren much more and the riches of their theological world. Weigel is at his most compelling when he talks about what is lowercase-c catholic--particularly the relationship between the spiritual and material worlds (a sacramental perspective) and what he calls a catholic optic (funny how I was taught that pretty much the same thing was actually called the reformed worl ...more
Steve
Sep 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
A great book. This book reminds us that being Catholic is not just about doctrine and rules, but rather about Truth and the reality behind that Truth. This book reminds us that being Catholic is a human experience in total - our minds, emotions, feelings. This book made me feel proud to be Catholic. George Weigel challenges us to live boldly for Christ because as Catholics reality matters - that is, everything matters. Truth is real and as such is worth living, fighting, and even dying for.
Amanda
Jul 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had some good points, and it had a lot of things that made me really think, but I'm not sure how I feel about it all...
Paulina
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a young Catholic myself, this book was a beautiful and inspiring read, filled with interesting stories about various saints and prominent Catholic figures reinforced by Jesus' teachings at the end of each letter. While I loved certain letters and liked the book as a whole, sometimes I would get lost in Weigel's anecdotes and miss the point he was trying to make. All in all, this is the kind of book that deserves to be read multiple times; Weigel beautifully describes certain facets of Catholi ...more
Eduardo Da Silva
Um livro cativante, em que o autor apresenta alguns dos pontos mais cativantes do catolicismo. Explora, de forma clara, as belezas do catolicismo em frente ao secularismo moderno.
Faith Hough
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this slowly because I enjoyed thinking about it, not for lack of reading engagement. I highly recommend for Catholics of all ages, or anyone interested in learning more about the Catholic perspective and some amazing world history, artwork, and literature.
Favio
Aug 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Weigel's book 'Letters To A Young Catholic', which intends to be a guiding and inspirational exegesis of Roman Catholic teaching, takes the reader on a journey through the catholic world, introducing its views on personal and public matters through matching them with buildings and locations of historic significance.
While the book introduces the reader successfully to the facts and positions of the Roman Catholic Church, it unfortunately fails to inspire.

I joined the Catholic Church as a f
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Conor
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I purchased this book a week and a half ago and finished it in a few days. Simply put: it is incredible. I warmly recommend it and think it an absolute must have for your library. With his typical verve and style, Weigel introduces the reader to the optic that is Catholicism--he shows you what it is to look at the world with Catholic lenses. And what a beautiful picture it is. Readers of Weigel will notice similar themes to other of Weigel's writings especially "Witness to Hope" and "Truth of Ca ...more
Diane
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Letters to a Young Catholic is a thoroughly engaging and brilliantly insightful book. The author takes us on a tour of various sites of the Catholic world. From Chartes Cathedral to the Church of Mary's Dormition in Jerusalem to the hidden seminary in Krakow where the man who would later be Pope John Paul II was first ordained, from a London pub frequented by G.K. Chesterton to the Sistine Chapel to Baltimore's Old Cathedral, each unique place illustrates some aspect of the rich and varied tradi ...more
Valjean
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a 'reforming post-evangelical', I have felt a need to better understand the other branches of the Christian church. Or, in this case, the trunk from which the Protestant branch I 'wuz brung up in' sprang from. 'Letters' helped me see several facets of Catholicism clearer. Two in particular were Mary (the mother of Jesus) as the first disciple whose example points us to Christ and the incarnation as the ultimate example of God grounding our spiritual experience in the created world. Of course, ...more
Brent
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took until last November to identify the best book that I read in 2014. This year, I'm pretty sure I have identified that book in September. I have serious doubts whether anything will rate higher than this newly updated (Aug. 11, 2015) version of George Weigel's Letters to a Young Catholic. Weigel, the biographer of multiple books on John Paul II, is probably at his best when discussing topics and events involving those places in Eastern Europe where he has spent so much time: Warsaw, Krakow ...more
Joyce
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Weigel is a really good writer. Each of the book's fourteen letters opens with a tangible place and continues as he highlights how these tangible places (and communities) point to intangible and deeper truths about Catholicism. He wraps up each letter by bringing the reader back to the opening point and place. Great structure, comfortable to read.

The following letters are particularly worth reading:
* Letter Nine: St. Mary's Church, Greenville, South Carolina ― Why and How We Pray >&g
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Faith Williams
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book read like poetry. The reverence with which Weigel takes his reader all over the Catholic world is enrapturing. Weigel's examination of the world through the very Catholic sacramental imagination of the world reminds me that beauty, truth, and goodness are important. And not only are they important, but they can be known. My personal favorite letters were Letter Two: Rome-The Scavi of St Peter's and the Grittiness of Catholicism, Letter Seven: Castle Howard, Yorkshire, England-Brideshea ...more
Sarah
Mar 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is a spiritual travelogue meant to give young Catholic Christians and other "curious souls" a taste of what it means to practice the Roman Catholic faith in the twenty-first century. Weigel discusses the sacramental imagination, the "grittiness" of the faith, Mary and discipleship, and the importance of beauty. He addresses more contentious topics without becoming polemical or allowing the book to be consumed by them; all the same, it's clear that he's a traditionalist. The combination ...more
Hope
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholic
Genius. Beautiful. Authentic. This is a masterfully written book. Weaving history, culture, art, architecture, theology, and the ordinary, the author shows you our profound Faith. His view on Catholicism and why it matters is certainly one of the most thought provoking and extraordinary looks into the richness and meaning and gifts of the Catholic Church. I borrowed this book from the library and have already bought my own copy to read again and again. This book has helped me fall in love with l ...more
Julia
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Weigel's reflective tour of Roman Catholicism in epistolary form, Letters to a Young Catholic is a work both conservative and inspiring (despite my liberal leanings). His letters open with specific sites as expressions and bearers of faith, historical resonance and contemporary meaning. From Baltimore, Warsaw and Rome to The Olde Cheshire Cheese (Chesterton's London Pub) and Chartres Cathedral, places become the lens through which he focuses his analysis, highlighting literature, liturgy, ...more
Fr. Ryan Humphries
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Catholics, People who are Anti-Catholic
I didn't expect much from this book. Other than the profound biography of Pope John Paul II, I'm not a big Weigel fan. Letters turned out to be an amazing series of essays on the parts of the Catholic Faith that too many people ignore... Weigel takes us to the Bird & Baby to sit with Tolkien and the inklings. He takes us to Brideshead manor to meet Cordelia. All the while, he draws the reader to realize that the ethos and the culture that authentic Christianity evokes is what ought to used t ...more
Ci
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: how-to-books
This is my first read of Weigel's work. Even though my knowledge of Catholicism and its church history is limited, this book has an engaging liveliness that brings several books and authors I have read into an interesting Catholic context. Flannery O'Connor and Evelyn Waugh are discussed in great details. In particular, "Brideshead" is analyzed from a conversion through Love, a Catholic progression from secular to the Divine.

Weigel is firm in defending church doctrines and policies. He explaine
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Cocopebbles
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-time-favs
I really really loved this book. When I first bought it, I honestly thought it would be "cute" and full of trite, but heart-warming anecdotes, but BOY was I wrong. George Weigel is insanely smart, well-read, well-traveled, and can write one powerful, thought-provoking sentence one after another.

This is a must read for all Catholics, arm-chair philosophers, and anyone who enjoys having to work for their food (i.e. looking up a few words on dictionary.com, but being all the better for it)! 5 stars
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Eduardo Garcia-Gaspar
Una explicación del Catolicismo, mediante una especie de viaje a lugares que hacen pensar en su significado, incluyendo un pub en Londres, el favorito de Chesterton (más Chartres y la Capilla Sixtina, entre otros).
Se trata de una exploración del significado del Catolicismo, útil para el ya católico (y para quien no lo sea y tenga curiosidad sobre el tema). Al ateo que combate al Catolicismo la obra le provee con una base razonable de creencias que son católicas y que le evitarán caer en clisés t
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V Forr
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A most excellent guide for Catholics young and old. In reading each letter, one learns intriguing historical, cultural, and religious information that aids in the growth of one's faith and the articulation of one's faith. I enjoyed this novel immensely. In addition to such wonderful information, these letters take you one the best journey around the world. A must read from a talented and knowledgeable writer. Happy reading!
Rob
Dec 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this book during Lent. The author does a nice job of providing insights and personal experiences related to important Catholic landmarks while explaining how these places personify what it means to be a Catholic. He discusses topics that have shaped the Catholic worldview and explains why having conviction and a strong understanding of what being a young Catholic means and why it is important in today's day and age.
Kathleen
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I checked this out of my local libary and fell in love with it. It's an atypical travelogue, and a very special one. I particularly loved reading about my favorite scene from Brideshead, the pub that GKC frequented, and St. Peter's, as I'd just been there. After I finished the book, I ordered a copy for myself and one for a friend. When my son backpacks across Europe one day, I will send this with him. I hope there's a Nook version by then.
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American author and political and social activist. Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Weigel was the Founding President of the James Madison Foundation.

Each summer, Weigel and several other Catholic intellectuals from the United States, Poland, and across Europe conduct the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society in Krakow, in which they and an assortment of
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