Mass Appeal 'Idiot's Guide' Puts Fun into the Fundamentals of Catholicism

By Karlak, Pat | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 26, 2000 | Go to article overview

Mass Appeal 'Idiot's Guide' Puts Fun into the Fundamentals of Catholicism


Karlak, Pat, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Guilt is a given, but humor? It's not a well-known byproduct of the Catholic religion.

Setting out to change all that is a book that takes an irreverent approach to the faith.

It's called the "Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Catholicism," (Macmillan, $17) and it's finding a big audience among practicing and "fallen-away" Catholics.

Co-authors and longtime friends Mary Faulkner and Bob O'Gorman, a Loyola professor, managed to meet the biggest challenge they faced in writing the book: How to craft a comprehensive guide to the 2,000-year-old faith that counts 1 billion members worldwide, without putting readers to sleep and without poking fun in a mean- spirited way.

"The church is not an amusing organization. We wondered how we were going to write the book," says Faulkner.

Once they got a handle on the format, which is common to all 350 books in the "idiots" series, the humor started to flow.

It helped that the two are "happy Catholics" who take great joy in their religion.

In fact, they go so far as to find a direct correlation between that joy and whether someone remains a member of the faith.

"Many who were not happy Catholics are not Catholics today, which is an interesting connection," says Faulkner, a free-lance writer who has a master's degree in religious education.

The irreverence makes appearances throughout the 396-page book.

It's apparent in the chapter titles: "The Church: Moving from Steeple to People," to "Tasting, Touching, Smelling God."

It's apparent in sections such as:

"You're so Catholic if ... you name your first daughter Mary, you have mistakenly genuflected before taking your seat in the theater, or you know more than 15 recipes for preparing tuna fish."

It's apparent in the telling of Catholic culture, where you learn, for example, that in preparing a body for an Irish Catholic wake, the women in the family would tie the deceased's two big toes together, which they believed would prevent the person from returning to Earth as a ghost.

And it's apparent in the titles of the sidebars that provide nuggets of useful information and serve to loosen up the book and make it breathe: "Saints Preserve Us," "For Heaven's Sake!" and "S'ter Says," which is accompanied by a sketch of a benevolent nun.

Even Jesus and Mary smile from their photos in the book.

Who would think writing about Catholicism could be so amusing? Time was when Catholics who publicly explored their religion were excommunicated - or worse. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mass Appeal 'Idiot's Guide' Puts Fun into the Fundamentals of Catholicism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.