cover image Why I Am Still a Catholic

Why I Am Still a Catholic

. Riverhead Books, $15 (336pp) ISBN 978-1-57322-677-6

At a time when rigorous devotion to traditional religious faith is challenged by generic spirituality and cafeteria-style religion, the contributors to this volume seem an anomaly. Gone are the days when intellectual Catholic Christians like Walker Percy and Allen Tate, themselves both converts, would make available for the culture at large their views reconciling Catholicism with the prevailing intellectual scene. In this volume, however, the Ryans collect essays from 24 well-known intellectuals, business people and celebrities who raise their voices to say why their Catholic faith is still the center of their lives. The contributors include literary figures like Jon Hassler and Andre Dubus, sports figures like basketball star Bob Cousy and racecar driver Mario Andretti, celebrities like Maria Shriver and businessman Thomas S. Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza. The essays are delightful to read. Priest and novelist Andrew Greeley writes that, despite its rigid hierarchy, Catholicism is more fun than the rigors and hard-boiled demands of Protestantism. Former Notre Dame president Theodore Hesburgh comments on the ways that Catholicism has enlarged his intellectual life. Philosopher Michael Novak explains how reasonable a religion he thinks Catholicism is. The voices of African American Catholics, Hispanic Catholics and Catholic women are noticeably absent from this collection. Even so, the essays give a brief glimpse of the enticing nature of the Catholic faith. (May)