Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Fine Book Out Of Rome

I'm Protestant, but I decided long ago that I don't believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ. I think Catholics can be every bit as much true Christians as any Protestant, and I'd rather listen to a good priest than a bad minister. I don't agree with everything the Catholic Church teaches, but I have to say the same for every Protestant church I've ever attended. And I admire how the Catholic Church handles certain issues, such as abortion. Really, as far as I'm concerned, Catholicism is just another denomination.

This past weekend I finished a book that provides a wonderful example of what I mean: Can God Be Trusted?: Finding Faith in Troubled Times by Father Thomas D. Williams. Fr. Williams is a Vatican analyst for CBS News and a professor of theology at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome. Not exactly your everyday priest!

And yet I found this book through Crossings Book Club, a Protestant book club that I've belonged to for many years. I can't remember ever seeing them offer a book by a Catholic before.

This book's great! It's gentle, wise, balanced, and highly readable. It has a lot to say about God's love and grace, but also about our personal responsibility and our need to have a right understanding of what God does and doesn't promise. It emphasizes a key point that I've become keenly aware of in recent years: The Lord's blessings are largely contingent upon our obedience. There are numerous Bible references. There was one reference to a verse in the Apocrypha, but all the rest can be found in the same Bible that Protestants use. Fr. Williams quotes quite a few writings by Pope Benedict XVI and other Church fathers and saints, but that's to be expected and I didn't see anything to take issue with. I think this book is as sound as anything a Protestant might have written.

Considering where I found it, obviously I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Fr. Williams has a number of other books out there, which seem to be as highly regarded as this one. And some of his quotes from the Pope have piqued my interest too. Who knows, I may be reading more Catholic books in the future.

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