A brief and renovating look at the Catholic faith.
In his nonfiction debut, Catholic priest Regan opens his discussion of the contemporary American Catholic experience by reflecting on the many people in the modern era who find the observance of its rules and regulations to be unappealing: “keeping rules for most people did not promote experiencing the joy and adventure of freedom!” In a series of short, highly readable chapters, Regan seeks to highlight what he sees as the more inviting aspects of Catholicism, which some readers may not expect—most prominently, its flexibility and humanity: “Our true belief as Catholics,” Regan writes, “is in a God who had shared freedom with all human beings and gave us all enough room to make mistakes, no matter how honest or important we believe our conclusions to be.” He’s comfortable attesting to the fact that many Catholics disagree about aspects of the faith, and he’s equally quick to admit that the church’s revised 2011 translation of the liturgy has met with a decidedly mixed reaction. Readers who are familiar with the history of Catholic writings will be struck again and again in Regan’s compassionate, empathetic notes, which would have been unrecognizable to Catholic thinkers of earlier ages. When writing about the laggard faith of some fellow Catholics, for instance, or the persistence of some in sin, he writes a line that might have shocked Ignatius of Loyola: “Is it the right of you or me or any power on earth to set the timetable for another’s liberation into God?” More conservative Catholics may find such reflections more relaxed than they’d prefer, but many modern believers, especially young ones, will find a version of Catholicism in these pages that they can embrace.
A terrific, welcoming volume about Catholicism.