Wednesday, August 7, 2013

review of a book "The Church" by Mike Aquilina and Cardinal Wuerl

I just read a book by Mike Aquilina and Cardinal Donald Wuerl titled The Church. I have read several of Mike Aquilina's books but none of Cardinal Wuerl's books with the exception of his previous collaboration with Mike Aquilina on The Mass of which I did enjoy.
One of Mr.Aquilina's books that I thoroughly enjoyed was Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols. Mr Aquilina is a contemporary of Dr.Scott Hahn, another author I love and enjoy. Both Mr.Aquilina and Dr. Hahn are converts to the Catholic Church and both are academics in biblical studies. Cardinal Wuerl is the Archbishop for the Washington D.C, archdiocese. He has written several books primarily on catechism.
The Church is the second work by these two men. This book is meant to be a companion to their previous collaboration The Mass. This book and The Mass would be a wonderful tool in RICA(Rite of Initiation of Christian Adults) and also a refresher for cradle Catholics and a tool of inquiry for non Catholic Christians in what these 2 books can do to provide some or greater understanding of the Catholic Church.
This book The Church is a relatively small book with 228 pages including index, foreword and introduction.
The preface was by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston Archdiocese. The forward was by Father Robert Barron of the Mundelein Seminary in the Chicago Archdiocese.  I have immense respect for these 2 priests. They offered very encouraging words in the praise and introduction for this book. The  subtitle is ‘Unlocking the secrets to the places Catholics call Home’.Most of the  chapters are devoted to a area, structure or thing inside a church building.
For example, The Baptismal Font. They described what is a baptismal font, what its for, the symbolism and the rite used for the font.  
An excerpt from this chapter: “Baptism is the sacramental prerequisite for participation in all the other sacraments  The Church’s law commands: “Every parish church is to have a baptismal font” (CIC- Code of Canon Law- 858 S1)”. The language used is simplistic and easy to understand but without feeling ‘dumbed’ down.  But they also quote from several sources such as The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), the Code of Canon Law (CIC) and the Holy Bible particularly the New Testaments with emphasis on the works/letters of St.Paul.
I found this book to be extremely informative without being too scholarly. I love that they referenced more than 3 sources of information to help the reader understand the subtleties of what they have written. The authors include and very extensive index for anyone that wants to do a “scholarly” look or study the works more in depth.
I highly recommend this book  especially for RICA and like programs. This book did explain to my satisfaction a lot of things that are a part of the church building and the Church.