{Book Review} Catholicism by Fr. Robert Barron

I often joke I’m on the path to sainthood with all these kids getting me on my knees and such. Isn’t middle school purifying enough for any mother?! But, before we open the cause for canonization, let’s talk legit saints.

Catholicism, TR

If you’ve seen Fr. Robert Barron’s Catholicism series and loved it, then his book, of the same name, may be some great Lenten reading. Several bloggers are writing reviews, with each of us taking a single chapter. These people are really fabulous (slightly intimidating group, but awesome).

Schedule of Reviewers
Chapter 1: Stuart, Stuart’s Study
Chapter 2: Kathy Schiffer, Patheos (Seasons of Grace)
Chapter 3: Lisa Hendey, Patheos (A Good Measure) and CatholicMom.com Founder
Chapter 4: Sarah Reinhard, Snoring Scholar
Chapter 5: Pete Socks, Patheos (The Catholic Book Blogger)
Chapter 6: Trisha Potter, Prints of Grace
Chapter 7: Timothy, Catholic Bibles
Chapter 8: Kathryn Whitaker, Team Whitaker
Chapter 9: Molly, Single Catholic Girl
Chapter 10: Jeff Miller, The Curt Jester

The request to review a chapter in the book tied well with my Lenten promise to read more religious books. When I discovered there was a Saints chapter, I was all: Sign. Me. Up. In chapter eight of his book, Fr. Barron touches on the lives of four different saints: St. Katharine Drexel, St. Therese of Liseiux, Edith Stein and Bl. Mother Teresa. 
Important disclaimer here for those that read my blog who aren’t Catholic. I think the saints may just be one of the most misunderstood teachings of our church. I’ll freely admit that when I first converted I wasn’t too sure of what to think of the “cloud of witnesses.” Just who were these people and why did the church insist on their importance? Fr. Barron has this to say about them:
We need the saints in order to come to a richer understanding of God, for each saint in his or her particular manner reflects something of God’s perfection. We might think of God as an absolutely intense white light that, when refracted in creation, expresses itself in an infinite variety of colors. The saints reflect particular colors, and that is precisely why their variety is so important in the life of the church.
In other words, God wants us all to be saints. We can’t all be, or relate to, St. Francis of Assisi. But by being the very best version of ourselves, by diving into the deep end of spirituality and asking questions, wondering why and getting real with God, we deepen our relationship with him. And sometimes we’re canonized for it. I love the diversity of the saints and this chapter did not disappoint.Fr. Barron did a beautiful job of giving a brief overview of each of these ladies, sharing her story and reflecting on a few key moments. His reflection reminded me that it’s okay to question God like Mother Teresa, wonder if love could be found in the details like St. Therese, give selflessly of my greatest gifts like Edith Stein and to reach out to those in need and make a real difference like St. Katharine.

This book isn’t one that you can blaze through in one sitting. I’ve found that it’s best absorbed in bits and pieces at a time. For me, God led me to review the perfect chapter. I absolutely loved it! And selfishly, he had some awesome photos in there of some places we’ve been lucky enough to visit. I hope they inspire you as much as they did me.

Did you say you like to travel? Image is offering an amazing giveaway (y’all, I entered on the first day!) for a trip for two to visit Paris and Rome and visit some truly fantastic places. I’m already dreaming of eating gelato and croissants. I realize by telling you I’m seriously impeding my chances of winning. But, it’s Lent. So, yeah. Go enter!

Sweepstakes, Dual Logo 3
Note: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review, which y’all know I always give.


  1. Stuart says

    Good morning Kathryn,

    Stuart here (AKA Day 1). I’ve enjoyed following this tour, visiting blogs I might not otherwise have found, and hearing what others had to say on different parts of the book. You’re not alone in being a convert on this tour. I am and at least 2 or 3 others are. :) If you ever want some recommendations for religious books, stop by my blog or shoot me an email with a particular idea of what kind of religious book you’re looking for and I’ll give you some suggestions. It’s kinda what I do. :)

    • says

      Thanks for the link and help, Stuart. What books would you recommend for someone wanting to learn more about Catholicism? Some hard-core theology and some a bit easier to read?

      • Stuart says

        Gotta be a bit more specific than just Catholicism as there many facets of our faith…I’ll see what I can do though. :)

        Easy – Any of Fr. Lukefahr’s books are helpful. If you wanted to take them as “courses,” you can http://www.amm.org/chss/chss.asp sign up here. They ship you the book and and quiz booklet for free, but donations are always accepted.

        Cardinal Wuerl and Mike Aquilina are working on a series of books – #1 is “The Mass,” #2 is “The Church,” and #3 “The Feasts” is due out later this year.

        Bible and Catechism are always helpful, but I’d recommend “Walking with God” by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins before trying to read Genesis through Revelation.

        Hardcore – Like I said, this really depends on what you want to study. If you’re looking for dogma, Dr. Ott’s “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” is nice and meaty.

        Ratzinger’s Introduction to Christianity, but anything by Pope Benedict XVI is awesome. I have an overflowing shelf of his books.

        • Karen says

          I’ve read only “Ratzinger” stuff, haven’t made it to his papal publications, but I am so amazed by how he manages to bring complex thought into manageable prose. It’s not light reading by any means, but it’s accessible.


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