By Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
[Editor’s Note: This blogpost is part of a roundtable conversation on the new book Catholicism by Fr. Robert Barron, hosted at the Patheos Book Club here.]
I have started this book review so many times, I can’t even begin to count them. I write and write and write and yet I can’t seem to find the right words to adequately express my thoughts about Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism.
Put simply: Barron’s book may be one of the best things that I have ever read about our faith.
Now you see, already my words seem inadequate and then I reflect on how hard it is to write about God. Then I remember what a challenge it can be to write about the rich, extraordinary and magnificent Roman Catholic Church. And then I look at Barron’s book and it hits me – maybe there are no words?
However there are words and lots of them, which is why so many of us define not simply as writers, but as Catholic writers. Now,with this book, when people look at me quizzically and ask me why I am so ardent about my faith and my church, I can consider handing them a copy of Catholicism.
And when other Catholics say they want to learn more about the Roman Catholic Church, but don’t know where to begin, I can do the same thing.
This book is that good. Reminding us that less is more, in about 300 pages Fr. Barron has written a book about The Church that is at once, comprehensive, passionate and compelling. We are served a rich dish of catechesis that is never preachy, overarching or dry and reminds us that the simple truth is just that – the truth.
Many writers, all with the best of intentions and passion for Christ, make too many words — and words of the wrong kind. That doesn’t happen here; it does not have to because that Truth is the Truth, the big T kind. You know — the universal kind of truth, the kind that reminds us that the roots of the very word Catholic are based in the notion of according to the whole, which is what this book reveals so well.
I am convinced that this book will become a dog-eared and well-loved companion for many of us who are already Catholic, and the key that turns (and thus opens) the minds and hearts of many others.
Fr. Robert Barron, best known for his Word on Fire work, this is the richest of all results of that Word, and that very fire.