What makes a Catholic a Catholic? According to Thomas Groome, an expert on the essential ingredients of Catholic Christianity, Catholics share certain vital features of life and identity. What Makes Us Catholic explains and illuminates that character, and invites Catholics of all kinds to connect more deeply and imaginatively with their own culture and spirituality.
Groome, a theology professor at Boston College, has written this book at a time when his church is reasserting its beliefs through publication of the catechism and pronouncements on such polarizing issues as the ordination of women. He appears to be trying to assure Catholics who are disappointed with the state of their church in the wake of the reforming Second Vatican Council of the 1960s that it's still okay to be Catholic, even if they don't like the present pope and his vision for Catholic Christianity. What really makes people Catholic, he argues, are such thematic elements as sacramentality and the Catholic view of "society's function as serving the common good." Groome's vision of Catholicism seeks to reveal a more palatable side of the church as an advocate of such social values as inclusiveness and concern for the poor. He also downplays the hierarchy's teaching role by saying this function requires the participation of everyone, "not a small group doing all the teaching." Groome's reputation as an author of several Catholic school texts could make his latest book a popular resource for adult educational programs, since each chapter includes questions suitable for group discussion. However, despite the author's claim that he writes for Catholics "who span the spectrum," his views may alienate more conservative members. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.