Weigel has a witty and eloquent writing style, which I found very agreeable. The author’s good humor materializes on accounts such as G. K. Chesterton’s pub experiences. His arguments are clear and he successfully communicates to the reader the essence of Catholicism as an ideology that is firmly rooted on spiritual development, and how it figures in a largely secular age. It is also a good overview on why the Catholic perspective gives us the “real” view of life, and how the Catholic faith is defined by one’s belief in Christ.
He expounds, “faith in Jesus Christ costs not just something, but everything. It demands all of us, not just part of us. ” Although this book was written to encourage young people to embrace the Catholic world view, it could help Catholics of all ages. He made a lot of excellent points that are worth pondering on. For Catholics, the book is an affirmation of the advantage of “Christian humanism” as opposed to “atheist humanism,” that sacraments are still the right way to salvation as opposed to the intuitive apprehension of spiritual truths held by gnosticism.
What I also liked about Weigel is his passion and fearlessness in being a writer, taking on subjects that are commonly considered taboo in the Catholic Church such as gender, contraception, and other theological controversies. He stresses what he regards as truths with respect to these things, and does so convincingly. Although Weigel articulated his ideas pretty well, it can be felt that he tries too hard to do project a “youthful” voice. He at times succeed in introducing a simple, carefree approach to a section, but as he progresses, reverts back to doing an intellectual tirade.
I feel that the average Catholic youngster would have difficulty grasping some of the author’s messages. Also, many ideas can come off as too lofty for most young Catholics. Not everyone is versed with the ideologies of characters such as Sartre or Nietzsche. Although older, more educated readers can be comfortable with this, it may alienate the very audience that he is trying to reach. Though the Catholic doctrine is supported by ideas, faith is affirmed by things that allow us to experience God on an earthly level.
This affirmation can also be achieved through the sacraments of the Catholic Church. He makes the reader embark on this journey to real people, places, and things that defined Catholicism. The author shows us that the Catholic Church is founded on reality and has a rich historical and cultural heritage. One of the ideas that struck me is the issue of self-denial and suffering as a necessary part of the Catholic life. Weigel expounds that “”suffering makes us the kind of people who can live with Love itself, without suffering from it or getting bored by it.
” But still, he advocates joyful living and and an appreciation of the beauty of life. Another concept worth noting is his argument against the contemporary nihilist perspective holding that all values are baseless. He maintains that “Catholicism insists that everything is of consequence, because everything has been redeemed by Christ. ” He adds that keeping this state of mind changes the way one sees the world. If I could have a chance to meet the author, I would be very much interested in knowing if he himself had cultivated any doubts about the Catholic faith at any point in his life.
I would like to learn more about his life in the seminary, personal experiences, and the challenges he faced with regard to keeping his faith. I would also ask him what he regards as the greatest moral challenge facing the human race today, and what he thinks is the remedy to this. The author, in a memorable quote, states that “while Catholicism is a body of beliefs and a way of life, Catholicism is also an optic, a way of seeing things, a distinctive perception of reality.
” Weigel’s approach to instruction is about achieving a “habit of being” that would enable us to “see, hear, touch, feel, and taste that, in the Catholic view of things, we meet God through visible, tangible, audible things [… ] including the Church itself and the sacraments the Church makes available to us. ” The ability to perceive these tangible things adds depth and dimension to our faith. The author raised a number of relevant issues and covered a lot of ground in explaining the Catholic doctrines and other relevant issues of our day.
He makes a convincing argument about accepting Catholic beliefs by virtue of the spiritual enlightenment they provide, and not just because of tradition. All in all, Weigel did a good job of presenting his vision of Catholicism. This book will definitely help anyone wanting to be a more fulfilled Catholic, and will address any theological or ideological doubts that one may have. It will open the reader’s eyes not just to the truth but also to the Church’s glorious past.