There are numerous reasons to be Catholic. Patrick Madrid chooses ten of them in his latest book Why Be Catholic?: Ten Answers to a Very Important Question. As a leader in the field of apologetics you would expect the answers to be solid and well researched….they are, and this is a book I feel serves as a good intro for those exploring the faith.
Each of the ten reasons Patrick gives, has a chapter devoted to it. They are: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; The Historical Case for the Catholic Church; The Seven Sacraments, Mass and the Holy Eucharist; Confession and Healing; Peter and the Papacy; The Blessed Virgin Mary’s Role in God’s Plan for Salvation; Mystics, Martyrs and Miracle Workers; Good Works by the Catholic Church; and The Awe, Wonder and Goodness of God. Each one of the reasons can stand on their own and point to the richness and truth of the Catholic faith. Together they make a complete case on why Catholicism is the answer for many questions on faith.
The most appealing part about the book was how Patrick made the case for Catholicism, using his own life experiences to paint the picture. Some of these examples were the challenges thrown at him by the Protestant father of a girl he was dating in 1977. He details these events as follows. “What invariably followed was a ten- or fifteen-minute discourse in which Christie’s dad explained in his friendly, patient way why the “Roman Catholic Church” was wrong about this, that and the other doctrine or practice”: “call no man father,” the authority of the pope, the notion that Catholics think they can “earn” their salvation, confession to a priest, infant baptism, purgatory, and, of course, Mary. He hammered me pretty hard on all these issues.” In the end this “persecution” by Christie’s dad only strengthened Patrick’s faith as he dove headlong into research to defend the Catholic Church’s position on each point that was being made.
One point I found particularly interesting was made in the opening chapter “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”. In it’s 2000 year history the Church has not been perfect. Mistakes have been made. Most recently involving the priest sex scandals in the United States. The Catholic Church despite good people and bad, good decisions and wrong ones, has survived and will continue to survive.
Another point. The lineage of the Catholic Church can trace it’s roots back to Jesus Christ. No other religion can lay claim to that. “Even those who are familiar with the basic outline of Christian history sometimes have a historical blank spot spanning the roughly fourteen hundred years that elapsed between the death of the last apostle, John, and 1517, when an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther burst into the ecclesiastical scene and mobilized what would become the Protestant Reformation.” That is perhaps the strongest evidence I had during my own conversion 18 years ago.
Patrick’s story, I feel is the same as many we are faced with. Either water cooler conversations or tension laden battles about our faith, we all are faced with challenging questions from time to time. The ten points in this book are solid places to start when asked to explain just why are we Catholic? Patrick has taken his 25 plus years experience as an apologist and given us readers a fine addition to our libraries.
I would recommend this book to two groups in particular. I see it serving as a good introductory resource for those just dabbling in apologetics. A book that’s not too dense but gives enough info to wet the appetite. In particular I see it as serving as a valuable tool in any RCIA program. Taken chapter by chapter one week at a time, the ten chapters of the book serve as a fantastic introduction to the faith. This book explains many beautiful aspects of the faith in an easy to understand, down to earth manner that will lay the foundation for serious study, for years to come.
I received a copy of the book for this review from Image Books.