This lucid and accessible account explains how Roman Catholicism and its beliefs and practices came to be what they are. The authors move through history to sum up the present characteristics of Catholic Christianity and the major challenges it faces in the third millennium. Explaining matters in a fresh and original way, they do justice to the Catholic heritage and show that Catholicism is a dynamic and living faith. Well-structured, highly informative, and clearly written, the book does not duck critical problems and the negative side of history. Rather, O'Collins and Farrugia explore the challenges which Catholics and other Christians must face, and examine the need to confront contemporary moral issues. This is an authoritative, lively, and up-to-date introduction to Catholicism for the modern reader.