THIS BOOK WILL HELP YOU
• to appreciate the significance of one of the largest organized religions in the world
• to understand the history of the Church, and what it means to be Roman Catholic
• to recognize the Catholic Church’s key practices and beliefs
• to avoid faux pas in conversation, in traveling and in personal relationships
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in the world. Although it has evolved over time and spread to every continent, its belief, structure and liturgy date back to the one Church founded by Christ. This personal introduction by an English priest, whose experience includes many years of service with the British army, is offered as one man's guide to the origins and practices of Catholic Christianity.
The book considers the Jewish roots and historical context of Christianity. It traces the evolution of thought that culminated in the message of its founder, and the impact of Jesus' teachings on his followers. It recounts the history of the early Church, its aims and beliefs, and the formulation by the Church Fathers and the great ecumenical councils of answers to questions of faith, morals and teachings. Thematic chapters deal with the topics of faith and reason, how to recognize truth, authority, myth, the question of sin, judgement and deliverance, and the meaning of the sacraments. Others deal with historical events, changing attitudes, religious practices, institutional structures and sacred texts.
Written in an informal and friendly style, this guide is the perfect introduction to a rich, complex and profoundly influential system of belief.
ACCESS THE WORLD’S RELIGIONS
Simple Guides: Religion is a series of concise, accessible introductions to the world’s major religions. Written by experts in the field, they offer an engaging and sympathetic description of the key concepts, beliefs and practices of different faiths.
Ideal for spiritual seekers and travellers alike, Simple Guides aims to open the doors of perception. Together the books provide a reliable compass to the world’s great spiritual traditions, and a point of reference for further exploration and discovery. By offering essential insights into the core values, customs and beliefs of different
societies, they also enable visitors to be aware of the cultural sensibilities of their hosts, and to behave in a way that fosters mutual respect and understanding.
About the Author
EDMUND HARTLEY was born in Kent, England, in 1932 into a Catholic family. He began his schooling with the Benedictines, who asked him to leave, and completed his education under the Xaverian Brothers. Considered intellectually mediocre, he was put to Art School where he obtained the appropriate diplomas. National Service (1953–55) followed, culminating in the award of a Commission. Then, at the age of twenty-three, having decided that the Catholic priesthood was the highest possible human attainment, he was accepted for training and began his studies (1955–61) at St John’s Seminary, near Guildford, Surrey, along with two of his three brothers. A period as a curate followed, after which he was drafted into the Army again, this time as a Chaplain. As a priest in service uniform for over eighteen years he spent time in Germany, Malaya and the UK. Since leaving the Army in 1983, he has been looking after a parish in south-east Kent.