A conversation on twitter yesterday touched on the subject of Catholics reading and studying their faith. The consensus was that Catholics in South Africa are notoriously very bad at reading about their faith. We of course could not comment on Catholics in the rest of the world because we don’t know, though its possible that this trend may be a worldwide trend.
The nuns who run the Paulines Catholic Bookstore in Kensington South, Johannesburg, have told me on more than one occasion that their perception is that Catholics do not buy books. Catholics buy rosaries, statues and such like items. It is the Anglicans that frequent the bookstore who are apparently the book shoppers, not the Catholics. Although this is anecdotal I am inclined to believe this given my personal experiences.
My wife and I have set a joint New Year’s resolutions for 2013 that was inspired particularly by our awareness of how reluctant Catholics seem to be to read about their Catholic faith.
The resolution is that we will only be giving our Catholic family, friends and acquaintances, Catholic books as gifts. So, if you are Catholic and we are invited to your birthday, anniversary or any other occasion that involves the giving of a gift, count on it that you will be getting a Catholic book. The first book we intend handing around is entitled “The Faith Explained” by Leo J. Trese.
If you’re interested in getting The Faith Explained for yourself, you can order it from Amazon here. It is also available for Kindle by following the same link.
I think that more of us should start doing this. Let’s start encouraging one another to read about our Catholic faith by giving one another Catholic books to read. Of course it is important that you make sure you research the author first. It would be a disaster if you turned out to be the one who is disseminating a book that, while it has a Catholic author, only has value in its ability to help get the campfire started.
One sure way of ascertaining with certainty whether a Catholic book is of such a nature that it will not be harmful to the readers understanding of Roman Catholic Faith and Morals, is to ensure that the book has been granted an imprimatur.
An imprimatur is an official declaration from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that the book is completely free from error in matters of Roman Catholic Faith and Morals.
Whether the book has been granted the imprimatur is normally indicated in the front of the book, generally on the same page where the details of the publisher and date of publication is indicated.
Enjoy handing out gifts that make a difference.