Sunday 13 November 2022

Christianity An Introduction To The Catholic Faith - David Albert Jones - Catholic Truth Society

An Introduction To The Catholic Faith
ISBN 9781860828096
eISBN 9781784693510
CTS Booklet DO859

This is the second volume I have read from the pen of David Albert Jones. He is the author of numerous books, booklets, articles, and papers, mainly focused on ethics and specifically medical ethics. A few of them are from the Catholic Truth Society. Over the last few years I have read over 300 volumes from the Catholic Truth Society. As of the reading of this volume I have read 323 between June of 2018 and October 2022, and many of those titles were read more than once. To be honest based on the title this volume was fairly low on my list of CTS books to read, as was the other I have read by Jones. One day when I was picking my next eBook to read the other one caught my attention, and this one jumped in my reading list after I finished it. And now I have a half dozen books from Jones on my to be read list!

The description of this volume is:

“The author takes the reader through Catholic beliefs about God, Jesus, the Church and how each Christian should live.

A highly readable and accessible introduction to the Catholic Faith, this booklet, a classic text republished for the Year of Faith, takes the reader through Catholic beliefs about God, Jesus, the Church and how each Christian should live. Suitable in particular for university chaplaincies and youth groups.”

The chapters in this volume are:

I. The Mystery of God
The People of God
The Forgiveness of Sins
The Holy Spirit
II. The Body of Christ
The Catholic Church
The Scriptures
The Sacraments
Mary, the Saints and the Angels
III. The Spiritual Life
Eternal Life

We are informed that the aim of this booklet is:

“This booklet aims to give a general introduction to the Catholic faith for someone who is open or sympathetic and who wishes to get some overview of the faith as a whole. This means that no teaching is treated with the depth it deserves, but it is hoped that the shape of the whole emerges quite well. It is a sort of map of the Catholic understanding of God and his revelation in Jesus.

This booklet was first published by Family Publications of Oxford, and was commissioned jointly by the Catholic Society, the Catholic Graduate Society and the Newman Society, all of Oxford University. A later edition was produced by the Dominican Friars to coincide with the 2008 World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia.
The present edition has been produced by the Catholic Truth Society for the Year of Faith 2012.”

Towards the end of the book, we are informed that:

“Catholicism is not an island, it is a continent, a whole world extending across two thousand years and embracing more than one billion people in every country on earth. It completely permeates the roots of Western culture, art and literature, from the beginnings of modern science in the thirteenth century, to the foundations of nursing and mass education in the nineteenth century (to make no mention of the development of brewing!) It is not just that there have been Catholics who have contributed to the arts, sciences and humanities, but, in certain cases at least, they have brought with them a greater depth and vision precisely because of their faith. In the music of Palestrina, Elgar or Messiaen, the poetry of Dante, the painting of Giotto, Fra Angelico or Michelangelo, the plays of Shakespeare (which certain express a Catholic vision, though the pattern of his own religious practice is disputed), the novels of Evelyn Waugh, Francoise Mauriac, or Flannery O’Connor (the list could be extended indefinitely), one can clearly trace a Catholic spirit. One can see this also in other fields, in the contribution of E.F. Schumacher to environmental economics, of Mary Douglas and René Girard to anthropology, of Elizabeth Anscombe and Alasdair MacIntyre to contemporary philosophy. The Catholic spirit exists not just in Europe but on every continent, and every country has its own expression of the faith, from the martyrs of Nagasaki to the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Catholic faith thus touches every aspect of life and excludes none. So what is attractive in the faith, and what the faith inspires someone to do is as infinitely variable as the human spirit. What is essential is to relate the faith to the rest of one’s life and see how a faith in the creator and redeemer of every human reality can deepen one’s appreciation of what it is to be human. This may not necessarily mean reading Catholic authors (even in the partisan field of Reformation history, one of the most illuminating modern contributions has been made by Oxford historian Christopher Haigh, who is not himself Catholic). But it will mean trying to cultivate a Catholic way of thinking.”

This book is a great little read. There was very little that was unfamiliar to me. But Jones writes in a very engaging manner. It was an easy read and a pleasurable read. I can see it being a great resource for those feeling the draw to Catholicism, or for those whose partners or spouse are Catholic. 

As soon as I finished I the previous volume I read by Jones, did research on other volumes that David Albert Jones has authored or co-authored and several were added to my wish list. This was the next in that list. This is an excellent volume from The Catholic Truth Society. It is a great resource from the pen of David Albert Jones. I can easily recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by David Albert Jones:
Angels: A History
Angels: A Very Short Introduction
Approaching the End: A Theological Exploration of Death and Dying
Chimera's Children
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from Belgium
Healthcare Allocation and Justice 
Organ Transplants
The Moral Philosophy of Elizabeth Anscombe
The Soul of the Embryo
Thinking Christian Ethos
Way of the Gospel 

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