This lucid and accessible account explains how Roman Catholicism and its beliefs and practices came to be what they are. The authors move through history to sum up the present characteristics of Catholic Christianity and the major challenges it faces in the third millennium. Explaining matters
in a fresh and original way, they do justice to the Catholic heritage and show that Catholicism is a dynamic and living faith. Well-structured, highly informative, and clearly written, the book does not duck critical problems and the negative side of history. Rather, OCollins and Farrugia explore the challenges which Catholics and other Christians must face, and examine the need to confront contemporary moral issues. This is an authoritative, lively, and up-to-date introduction to Catholicism for the modern reader.
Born in Melbourne (Australia), Gerald O'Collins was ordained a priest in 1963, took his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 1968 and taught for 33 years at the Gregorian University (Rome), where he was also dean of theology (1985-91). Now living back in Australia, he is an adjunct professor of the Australian Catholic University. Author or co-author of 56 published books and of hundreds of articles in professional and popular journals, he is widely known for his appearances on BBC and as a lecturer in many universities and colleges around the world and has chaired conferences for the Templeton Foundation. He has received numerous honorary doctorates and other awards, including the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), the highest honour awarded through the Australian government.
Jesuit Gerald OCollins is a professor of theology in England and formally Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the Gregorian University in Rome. In this small book of 140 pages he compresses the history, beliefs and culture of Catholicism into a form which makes it accessible to those, so to speak, outside the fold.
A little miracle of scholarship and literary skill, it is the ideal book to give a non-Catholic friend who expresses interest in What is it you Catholics believe? - a common occurrence these days, especially when the external forms of what Catholics believe takes on so many different shapes, however common the creedal core.
But more than that: many Catholics will find this a more than useful book to remind themselves in these confusing times what it is, essentially, that they profess to believe. Any young adult, emerging from the often inadequate religious classes of present day schools, will also find this book most enlightening.
- Peter Costello, The Irish Catholic
Despite a long history of external threats and internal strife, the Roman Catholic Church and the broader phenomenon of Catholicism remain a vast and valuable presence into the third millennium of world history. What are the origins of the Catholic Church? How has Catholicism changed and adapted to such vast and diverse cultural influences over the centuries? What great challenges does the Catholic Church now face in the twenty-first century, both within its own life and in its relation to others around the world? In this Very Short Introduction, Gerald OCollins draws on the best current scholarship available to answer these questions and to present, in clear and accessible language, a fresh introduction to the largest and oldest institution in the world. OCollins explains clearly and concisely where the Catholic Church comes from, what it believes and practices, the sacraments and the Churchs moral teaching, and where it is heading. The book also includes a timeline of events in the history of Catholicism and useful suggestions for further reading.