Catholicism: A Very Short Introduction

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Oxford University Press, 2017 - RELIGION - 139 pages
Despite a long history of external threats and internal strife, the Roman Catholic Church remains a vast and influential presence in our modern world. But what were its origins, and how has it changed and adapted over the centuries? After Pope Benedict XVI dramatically resigned in early 2013 (the first Pope to resign since the fifteenth century), and Pope Francis was elected, many wondered what direction he would lead the Church in, and whether the Church could modernise in the face of the demands of our world.

In this Very Short Introduction, Gerald O'Collins covers the history of the Catholic Church, and considers some of the key issues facing Catholicism today, such as the catastrophic revelations about clerical child abuse, the impact of the growth of Islam, and the destruction in the Middle East of ancient Christian church communities. He also shows how Catholics are being increasingly challenged by an opposition between their traditional Christian values and rights which are endorsed by the secular world, such as the right to physician assisted suicide or same-sex marriage, and considers the future for the largest and oldest institution in the world.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

 

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Contents

From Pentecost to Christopher Columbus AD 301492
1
From Christopher Columbus to the present 14922017
26
Catholics on God and the human condition
49
The sacraments and the Catholic Church
66
Catholic moral lifeand teaching
88
Characteristics of Catholicism
100
The future of Catholicism
114
Timeline
125
Further reading
127
Index
133
Very Short Introduction
140
A Very Short Introduction
141
A Very Short Introduction
142
A Very Short Introduction
143
A Very Short Introduction
144
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About the author (2017)


Gerald O'Collins, SJ, PhD (Cantab.) is Adjunct Professor of the Australian Catholic University, a research fellow of the University of Divinity (Melbourne), and Professor Emeritus of the Gregorian University (Rome), where he taught for 33 years and also served as Dean of the Faculty of Theology. He has written or co-written 67 books, including Catholicism: The Story of Catholic Christianity (OUP, 2004), Salvation for All (OUP, 2008), and The Second Vatican Council on Other Religions (OUP, 2013). He has authored hundreds of articles in professional and popular journals, and lectured at many universities and colleges worldwide. In 2006 he was created a Companion of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AC), the highest civil honour granted through the Australian government.

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