Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Very Surprising Book Review

So, if I told you that a book arrived in the mail last Saturday afternoon, ten minutes before 65 people were coming over for a swim party/bbq... and that I had to force myself not to open the book and dig in right then, you might want to know a little more about that book, right?

Is it a new bestseller? A mystery? Romance?

Did J.K. Rowling send me a secret copy of an undisclosed 8th Harry Potter book? (Oh, how I wish!)

And when I tell you that I have devoured, and I mean devoured, this book in the past four days, I know you are going to want to know more about this book.


Did you expect me to tell you that the book I have been unable to put down for four days was a question-and-answer book on Canon Law?

Neither did I.

Truthfully, when I selected this book from The Catholic Company's Reviewer Program, I was a little nervous that I had bitten off more than I could chew. But, at the same time, I was intrigued. Canon law has always seemed... so mysterious, so complicated, so not-laity-friendly. Canon law was a subject for theologians. It was for them, not us.

Surprised by Canon Law, Vol. 2 blew that theory right out of the water. Pete Vere and Michael Trueman have written in a simple, straightforward, easy-to-understand manner. They take complex topics like Church Penal Law or the Canonization Process and explain them using ordinary language and everyday examples.

The question-and-answer format allowed me to absorb the information in little nuggets. And what information there is! How do parishes merge? (p. 50) Who can receive ordination to the diaconate or priesthood? (p. 19) What is excommunication? (p. 99) [Just a teaser here... the mainstream media has this one all wrong!] How can a priest be dismissed from clerical state but still remain a priest? (p.118) How are the cardinals shielded from the public during a papal election? (p. 85) Who is eligible to become a saint? (p. 75)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, but I would not recommend it to someone who has only a cursory understanding of the Catholic faith. If you don't know about the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and can't explain the difference between a Sacrament and a sacramental, this is not the book for you. Surprised by Canon Law, Vol. 2 is a book for those who are familiar with the basics of the Catholic faith, but are looking to deepen their understanding.

Now, I need to get my hands on a copy of Vol. 1 to see what I missed in the first go-around.


  1. How did you join the Reviewer Program?

  2. Carrie,

    You can apply to be a reviewer here. They are always looking for new reviewers, and it's a great way to get free books!