Almost Catholic: An Appreciation of the History, Practice, & Mystery of Ancient Faith
Jon M. Sweeney, . . Jossey-Bass, $19.95 (230pp) ISBN 978-0-7879-9470-9
Rosaries, rituals, crucifixes and canonized saints: Sweeney, an Episcopalian, enthusiastically embraces these trappings of the Catholic faith, even as many Protestants find them unbiblical and some Catholics have abandoned them. In his latest book, Sweeney talks about his chosen state of being “almost Catholic,” explaining how Catholicism's practices and outlook help connect him to the divine and expand his worldview. Raised as an evangelical Protestant, Sweeney tells how he grew up believing “Catholics were going to hell unless they found our brand of true salvation.” Later, as a church planter in the Philippines, his thinking started to shift when he stepped inside a Catholic church for the first time. Overwhelmed by the sensory experience, he came to love Catholicism as an approach to faith that “lands in the heart and the body as well as in the head.” He has stopped short of converting, however, saying that those who remain outside the institution can still access Catholic life. Although Sweeney's love of Catholic practice makes for interesting reading, he saves his best for describing the differences between Catholic and Protestant thought, providing a depth that goes beyond fascination with externals.
Reviewed on: 12/03/2007