Brandon Vogt is the latest in a long series of Catholic bloggers to give unbelievably good reviews to Fr. Robert Barron’s upcoming Catholicism series. Brandon reviewed the book, Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith, but there’s also a ten-part DVD series, which will be airing on PBS this fall.
I’ve not read (or seen) Catholicism yet, but what strikes me is that it isn’t getting good reviews… it’s getting incredible reviews. Brandon says things like,
To be blunt, this is simply the best book on Catholicism I’ve ever read. And I’ve read a lot of them. Without hyperbole, I can say that this will now be the first book I’ll recommend to anyone exploring the Catholic faith.
And Brandon hasn’t just read a lot of good books lately: he’s written one, a book garnering a lot of positive buzz in its own right. So he knows a good book when he sees one. And he’s not putting this in the realm of good, but in a category of its own:
Ultimately, Catholicism stands as Barron’s magnum opus, the culmination of his life’s work so far. Which means it’s the best work from one of the world’s best theologians, a monumental gift to the Church. RCIA programs across the country should adopt the book as a foundational text, and through Word on Fire’s own study program, parishes should use the film series and book to reignite the passion of their flock.
One reviewer described the book and film series as “the most vivid catechism ever created.” And I think he’s right. This will go down as the greatest catechetical tool of our generation, the premier, single-volume book on Catholicism.
Brandon concludes, “Whoever you are, and for whoever you know, buy this book. I simply can’t give it a higher recommendation.” Calling that review “good” is like calling hell “warm.”
So what’s the book all about, anyhow?
Barron is not just concerned with what’s good and true about the Catholic tradition but also what’s beautiful. The Catholic faith is not just a matter of the mind and the soul but of the body and the senses. Therefore if we want to fully understand “the Catholic thing”, we need to gaze on art, history, culture, music, literature, and architecture:
“In order to grasp (Catholicism) more fully, we have to read the Gospels, the Epistles of Paul, the Confessions of St. Augustine, the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas, The Divine Comedy of Dante, Saint John of the Cross’ Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Story of a Soul of Therese of Lisieux, among many other texts. But we also have to look and listen.We must consult the Cathedral of Chartres, the Sainte-Chapelle, the Arena Chapel, the Sistine Chapel ceiling, Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Teresa; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Grunewald’s Crucifixion in the Isenheim Altarpiece, the soaring melodies of Gregorian chant, the Masses of Mozart, and the motets of Palestrina.”
Like I said, I haven’t read or seen Catholicism yet, and so I can’t give a review of my own. But given how incredibly positive every single review I’ve read has been of both the book and DVD series, I wanted to give a quick “heads up” for anyone looking for a
good great new resource about Catholicism.