Have you ever read a book by Patrick Madrid? If you have, I’ll bet you haven’t stopped at just one–that his easy style, clarity and humor captivated you, and you’ve picked up another of his titles along the way.
I’m a fan, and here’s why: Patrick is a master of Plainspeak–not lofty theological prose which only a doctoral candidate could wade through, but clear, direct explanations for Catholic teachings and traditions. He writes apologetics for the masses, and I think he’s just what the doctor ordered for most folks who are casually inquiring about the Faith.
It was my privilege this week to review Patrick’s latest book, Why Be Catholic?: Ten Answers to a Very Important Question.
At one point, he uses a simple business model to show how the Catholic Church has been so successful in winning souls for Christ. He writes:
“I like to think of the Catholic Church as being in the ‘solutions business.’ It is a two-thousand-year-old global organization with a proven track record of success that is dedicated to providing the solutions to life’s most urgent problems, dilemmas and challenges. Its CEO, Jesus Christ, knows exactly what human beings need to live healthy, happy, fulfilling lives based on truth, goodness, and love… “
In talking about the saints, he uses a popular saying that is probably familiar to most:
Consider another popular saying, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” Why not? Because if you’re truly someone’s friend, if you really care about her health and well-being, you’ll step in when necessary to help her avoid a potential catastrophe, right? The great saints all came to understand this about God and about the Church. When they realize that God is looking at them intently, His gaze overflowing with love, it melts their hearts….”
Patrick praises the Church, but isn’t afraid to look, too, at the way Catholics have disappointed their fellow believers. For example, he candidly addresses the clergy abuse scandal:
“Scandals are part of the life of the Church not because of its teachings and customs, but because individual Catholics choose to reject and ignore those teachings. For example, the ancient Catholic custom of priestly celibacy, freely chosen by men “for the sake of the Kingdom” (Matt. 19:10-12), is not a cause of sexual misbehavior among priests. It is when a priest abandons his commitment to striving for the ideal that he backslides into sin.”
It’s almost a disservice to give you just the Cliff’s Notes version of Patrick’s ten reasons for choosing the Catholic Faith. Patrick Madrid explores each so fully, dissipating his readers’ concerns, clearing away doubt. In a nutshell, though, here they are (without his characteristic humor and aplomb): (1) Catholics themselves; (2) Historicity; (3) Sacraments; (4) Mass and the Holy Eucharist; (5) Confession and Healing; (6) Peter and the Papacy; (7) Mary; (8) Saints; (9) The Church’s Good Works; and (10) The Awe, Wonder, and Goodness of God.
Too simplistic? Still skeptical about one or more of these areas? Get Why Be Catholic? and learn for yourself why you should come on over to the Catholic Church. If you’re a Catholic who just wants to better explain the Faith to others, this book is for you, too!