Monday 16 December 2019

I'm Catholic Now What? - Shaun McAfee

I'm Catholic. Now What?
Shaun McAfee 
Our Sunday Visitor
ISBN 9781681923437
ISBN 9781681925653
eISBN 9781681925660

I have very mixed feelings about this book. I absolutely loved Reform Yourself! by Shaun. And have very much enjoyed the other books he has written or contributed to. But this one just did not really do it for me. I am not a convert, but I am a revert. I also went to a Catholic Primary and Secondary schools, and have a university degree in Religious Studies with a focus on Roman Catholic Thought. And to be honest the books is ok, but it took effort and discipline to finish it. Parts of it are very repetitive. And from my background there was nothing new, or drastically inspiring. I found it intriguing that at the time of writing this review on Amazon there are 10 reviews each  5 star and on Good reads only 2 reviews both 3 star.

I agree with some of the other reviewers, everything in this volume should have been covered in a Catholic education, or in even just an OK RCIA (Right Christian Initiation of Adults) program. To be honest if you come out of RCIA and need to read this book, you should go back to your parish and demand better. The information in the books is not bad, and Shaun does have a great deal of passion and zeal. It is evident in the writing. 

The sections in the volume are:

Read This First 
1. License to learn 
2. Get a Bible and read it 
3. Know your way around the Catechism 
4. Know (and practice) the precepts of the Church 
5. Don’t be afraid to genuflect 
6. Heaven is the goal 
7. Knowledge isn’t holiness 
8. Remember that the Church is perfect, but her members aren’t — yet 

9. Live the sacraments 
10. Know how to make a good confession 
11. Go to confession regularly 
12. Get to Mass on time and stay till the end 
13. Where should you sit for Mass? 
14. Receive holy Communion worthily 
15. Reserve Sundays for their true purpose 
16. Try the Latin Mass 
17. Go to Eucharistic adoration 
18. Celebrate the day of your baptism 
19. Get your marriage normalized 
20. Pursue the graces of your marriage 
21. Live out your confirmation 
22. Don’t forget the anointing of the sick 
23. Attend an ordination 

24. Cultivate a devotion to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts 
25. Know the approved Marian apparitions 
26. Pray to the saints 
27. Get to know some saints 
28. Go on a pilgrimage 
29. Consider joining a Third Order 
30. Adorn your home with religious articles 
31. Start a holy card collection 

32. Make the Sign of the Cross 
33. Pray daily 
34. Pray with your family 
35. Prepare a prayer corner 
36. Learn to pray the Rosary 
37. Practice mortification 
38. Learn more about discernment and your vocation 
39. Holy water — keep it close and use it often 
40. Have your house blessed 
41. Grow in appreciation for sacred art 
42. Get a spiritual director 
43. Go on a retreat 
44. Stay at a monastery or rectory 
45. Seek the grace to pray 
46. Indulge yourself, categorically speaking 
47. Attend funerals and pray for the deceased 

48. Realize you’re going to sin again and again 
49. Invite your priest over for dinner 
50. Become a part-time vegetarian 
51. Have a beer 
52. Don’t be superstitious 
53. Discover other ways to live your faith 
54. Read the documents of the Second Vatican Council 
55. Find your people 

56. Bishops, priests, and deacons 
57. The role of the bishop 
58. Papal elections and how they work 
59. Get comfortable with nuns and monks 
60. When to genuflect and when to bow 
61. Names of objects used in Mass 
62. Use your missal (not missile) 
63. What’s the priest wearing? 
64. Learn some Latin 

65. Catholic in the modern world 
66. Never forget: Evil is real 
67. Combat relativism 
68. Don’t believe everything you hear 
69. Read Humanae Vitae 
70. The truth about contraception 
71. Save sex for marriage 
72. What the Church teaches about homosexuality 
73. Break free from masturbation and pornography 
74. Teach your kids about healthy sexuality 
75. Know how to respond to abuse scandals 
76. Speak out against abortion 
77. What the Church teaches about euthanasia 
78. The Church’s stance on immigration 
79. Stop gossiping 
80. Give, and give out of love 
81. Reject consumerism 

82. Become an apologist 
83. Read the Church Fathers 
84. Can we prove that God exists? 
85. What the Church teaches about evolution 
86. Defend against sola scriptura with confidence 
87. Know your heresies 
88. Veneration vs. worship: An important distinction 
89. What is the Immaculate Conception? 
90. Why can’t women be priests? 
91. Papal infallibility and other common misconceptions 
92. Discover Church history 

93. Share the Good News with other Catholics 
94. What is the New Evangelization? 
95. Watch or read a good conversion story 
96. Evangelize using these simple actions 
97. Become a philosopher 
98. Seek reform, not revolution 
99. Let your silence speak 
100. Evangelize your kids 

Where to Go from Here 
Appendix: Helpful Resources 

The book begins with Shaun stating:

“Before diving in, I want to give you a huge welcome to the Catholic Church. Or maybe you’re coming back to the Church — welcome! No matter your background, upbringing, or demographic, I am personally invested in making sure you get off the ground right, and that you always know that this is your family. And if you’re a lifelong Catholic reader, thank you for your fidelity to the Faith.”

I feel that this might be a good read for Catholic high school students. Especially those at Catholic high school with less devout parents. Or it might be good reading during RCIA. But as a follow up I feel it misses the mark. I wish I could rave about this book the way I do, Reform Yourself!, but I just can’t. Another thing that is frustrating is that Our Sunday Visitor eBooks are almost never available in Canada. Just another layer of disappointment.

A good effort from an author I greatly respect and trust. But one I really struggled with giving a rating and finally settled on 4/5 stars. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Shaun McAfee:
Reform Yourself! How to Pray, Find Peace, and Grow in Faith with the Saints of the Counter-Reformation
Filling Our Father's House: What Converts Can Teach Us About Evangelization
St. Robert Bellarmine

Social Media Magisterium: A No-Nonsense Guide to the Proper Use of Media
I'm Catholic. Now What?
20 Answers Conversion - Catholic Answers
Epic Saints: Wild, Wonderful, and Weird Stories of God's Heroes 

Contributed to:
Surprised By Life: 10 Converts Explain How Catholic Teachings On Life Led Them To The Church

Inseparable: Five Perspectives on Sex, Life, and Love in Defense of Humanae Vitae 

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