Friday, August 5, 2011

Book #49

Why Catholics Are Right, by Michael Coren.

I heard Coren interviewed on a radio program, and the title was part of what intrigued me in the book. It is certainly provocative.

I am not a Catholic. I am mostly an evangelical, but I appreciate church history and the works of early Christians -- it's easy for us non-Catholics to forget the fact that every Christian for the first 1500 years of the church was a Catholic. I also recognize that Catholics bear the largest share of modern anti-Christian persecution. Protestant churches are generally too small and/or independent to present a united front in the same way that the Catholic Church can.

Coren's book is a defense of many of the things that Catholics are routinely criticized for, mostly in terms of history and culture, as well as the recent abuse scandal. Their is little theological debate here, as it is not a work of Catholic vs. Protestant apologetics, but rather Catholic vs. anti-Catholic. The Eucharist is addressed, as is the person of Mary, but the largest share of the book covers the role of the Church in history (Crusades, Galileo, Inquisition) and the church in modern culture (pro-life, the male priesthood, celibacy). The most fringe-est Protestant pastors may have hundreds of followers, or the biggest mega-church pastors may have thousands, but the Pope has more than a billion. The target on the Catholic Church is just that much bigger.

Coren's defense of the church's teaching is passionate, his writing is crisp, and his sense of what lies behind the criticisms is interesting. Coren has made his career in the television news business, and so has been on the "front lines" of the cultural issues of the last few decades. These experiences gives the book a practical feel, as theology can often turn towards the dry and academic.

As a Protestant (although I try to not call myself that) who has run into anti-Catholic feelings (mostly mild, but some quite sharp), I have long felt that the Catholic Church is often unfairly maligned. This book brought some of those feelings into sharp relief, and I learned some things from this book.


  1. I read a few books on Catholicism recently myself, mostly for cultural literacy purposes. The church is hard to avoid when you study European history!

  2. Another old saying is "to study church history is to become Catholic" -- can't say that has exactly happened to me, but studying church history and the church fathers has definitely increased my appreciation for the Catholic Church.