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Theology and Sanity

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  825 ratings  ·  56 reviews
One of Sheed's most popular books, this ideal volume for the layman shows the practical aspects of theology in the life of a Christian believer. Logic, clarity, and simplicity permeate this eminently readable book.
Paperback, 471 pages
Published September 1st 1993 by Ignatius Press (first published 1946)
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Average rating 4.52  · 
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Jeff Miller
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I can't give this book the reviews it deserves. Whatever feeble effort I provide will be lacking.

I remember loving this the first time i read it. Having such a clear thinker and a clear teacher at the same time seems so rare. How often can you read a major section on the Trinity and not be left dumbfounded or feeling the explanation was just not very good. You dive into the mystery wanting to dive farther.

“Sanity, remember, does not mean living in the same world as everyone else; it means living
I think I'm going to love this book! Actually I already do, lol. so far its been a great book for a knowledge-seeker like myself. From p. 7:

"We can be saved and even holy without a great deal of knowledge; for holiness is in the will, and we are saved by what we love, not by how much we know. But knowledge of the truth matters enormously all the same. It matters for the reason we have already stated, namely, that every new thing known about God is a new reason for loving Him. It matters also for
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Indeed, the chapter on the Trinity is the best. Fr Sheed puts it beautifully:

Now it is true that the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity is a mystery, and that we can know
it only by faith.
But what we have just been hearing is not the mystery of the Trinity,
it is not the mystery of anything, it is wretched nonsense.
It may be heroic faith to believe it, like the man who
Wished there were four of 'em
That he might believe more of 'em;
or it may be total intellectual unconcern?
God has revealed certain thin
Weronika Janczuk
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sheed offers an intense, cohesive, accessible, and altogether spectacular narrative summary of Catholic theology, for him the sole medium for understanding the reality of man, man's relationship with the Infinite, and the Infinite's role in the finite universe. His goal is to guide man toward sanity -- toward an understanding of Reality, and toward an ability to engage that Reality; he finds this sanity within Catholicism: "This Church, more rigid than any in dogma and law, is, as no other Churc ...more
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book by an amazingly gifted author. He tackles issues of the faith and how it is necessary to have a sound theology in order to see reality properly. He doesn't allow people to take the easy way out, but forces them to logically think through the proponents of the faith. A great read!!!
Recommended by James Schall in Another Sort of Learning, Chapter 15, as one of Twelve Collections of Lectures and Reflections.

Included in the "Spiritual Reading" section of Fr. John McCloskey's 100-book Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan.

Listed by Patrick Madrid in the Reading Plan of Search and Rescue in Phase 2 (Intermediate).
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
The more things change. The more they stay the same. This book could have been written last year instead of 70 years ago. Frank Sheed explains how being Catholic is the most rational approach to life and discovering your place in it
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Recommended to me by a Monsignor who rightly thought that the book represented the best from basic theological introductions to Roman Catholic thought.

Sheed is an excellent explainer of Catholic doctrines. Organized with an excellent presentation, the author writes the subject in a way that is both understandable as well as engaging. There is a romantic element to Catholic theology that Sheed spells out here with depth of clarity.

In the beginning, God is conceptually outlined with regard to the
Sep 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: at-home
You may think you already know the facts about the Trinity, who Jesus is, and why he came to die for us. But this book gives reasons for why those things are true, and why they are the best explanation of the evidence around us. If you want to write your own book on theology someday, start by reading this book, and you will have solid first principles on which to base your arguments.
Sep 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who wants a good understanding of Catholic theology
This book is not necessarily for beginners but it's maybe the second or third theology book you should read. He has wonderful analogies. The end of the book isn't that great but it's definitely worth reading the first 4/5 of the book. His explanation of the Holy Trinity can't be beat.
Feb 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books ever.
I have been reading it for decades Ha Ha
It really is a refreshingly sane space in a
mad world.
I recommend it to anyone who loves God or
wants to know Him better.
Brett Salkeld
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Necessary reading for anyone with an interest in the Catholic view of the world. All the basics are covered with depth and clarity. A good start to properly catechizing the faithful would be to get all of them to read this book. Engaging. Essential.
Sam Fink
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a book that draws deep passion but one that gnaws at your soul. Deepest thoughts placed in clearest light. A slow read because you realize you fall short on each note. It drives me to want to be a better person.
Daniel Barker
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I took my time with this book and savored it because it is such a tonic and antidote to the insanity that prevails in the wider culture. A brilliant beacon of truth to those who have eyes to see. Highest recommendation.
Stephen Fahrig
May 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
A more expanded, "meatier" version of Sheed's other fine work, "Theology for Beginners." A great resource for developing one's theological understanding.
A more expanded, "meatier" version of Sheed's other fine work, "Theology for Beginners." A great resource for developing one's theological understanding.
Sep 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
An excellent primer that turns Catholic theology into common sense.
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Reality. That's what the book is about.
Kaylan O'byrne
Mar 09, 2009 rated it liked it
thought this books was going to get down to the nitty-gritty and get some answers, but left me with asking more questions. maybe i didn't read it close enough. but it definitely got me thinking.
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Good book on theology.
Has a few inconsistencies.
J Victor Tomaszek
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What else can I say about a book I've read cover to cover five times over the years and am still amazed at the truth I find in it.
Dec 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Not bad. Chapter 7, "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" is worth reading twice.
B.leigh Cronin
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If I could give it more stars, I would.
Brilliant and essential.
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read in a long time. I found it in the bibliography addition to Fundamentalism and Catholicism by Karl Keating and it was well worth tracking down. An introduction to theology that's both accessible for a beginner, like myself, and challenging enough to take time to read and understand. Could not recommend more.
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholic, toreadagain
Page 327 : By our re-birth in Baptism, we are cells in Christ's Body and so we are in His life stream. But to what degree that stream flows into us and makes us supernaturally alive depends upon our will. If we will to open our being wholly, then the life flows into it and vivifies it wholly. If we will to open our being, yet not wholly but reserving this or that small element un-given to God, then the life will still flow to us: but whatever element in ourselves we have kept as our own will rem ...more
Charles Lewis
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first read Frank Sheed's "Theology for Beginners." I'loved that back and have recommended it to many people trying to understand Catholic teaching. I still think it's the best book for those entering the Church or for those needing a solid reminder of Church teaching. "Theology and Sanity" takes that first book and expands it greatly. Yet, it retains the plain, non-technical language of the first book. It's still amazing to me that Sheed, who started life as a street-corner preacher (a very un ...more
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I seem to click a lot more with Frank Sheed's writing than some other popular Catholic theologians, possibly because he starts this book where he says he thought about dedicating this book "To All That Know Less Theology Than I" - I certainly am in that category and appreciate works that are accessible to me. I intend to re-read this at some point, as I feel there is much more I can gain from this work.
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leisure-reading

A beautifully deep, thorough, and yet concise insight into the Catholic vision of reality. This book is packed with wisdom, definitions, revealing analogies, and wonderfully explained doctrine. If you want to know how Catholics view reality as a whole (as a Catholic or not), this is it.
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholic-stuff
I highly, highly recommand this book. Frank Sheed is a fanastic writer whose depth of knowledge and ability to write clearly and understandably make this book so good. He gave answers to many things that I have always wondered about or not fully understood. I ended up with a deeper understand and appreciation for the Catholic Faith and a clear picture that Catholicism is Sanity.
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Frank Sheed was a Catholic apologist and street-corner speaker originally from Australia. He lived in London from 1926 onward. Unlike many of the other prominent Catholic writers in England at that time Sheed was not a convert, but raised Catholic and of Irish descent. Along with his wife, Maisie Ward, he founded Sheed & Ward. The couple tend to be linked together in accomplishments. The couple ha ...more

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“Sanity, remember, does not mean living in the same world as everyone else; it means living in the real world.” 6 likes
“Man is a rational animal. But that does not mean that he is a reasonable animal. It means only that he has reason, and therefore can misuse it. If he had not reason, he could not be unreasonable. But he has, and is.” 5 likes
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