Encyclopedia of Catholicism /

Encyclopedic guide explores the terms, concepts, personalities, historical events, and institutions that helped shape the history of Catholicism and the way it is practiced today.

Main Author: Flinn, Frank K.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Facts On File, c2007.
Series: Encyclopedia of world religions.
Facts on File library of religion and mythology.
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Review by Choice Review

This one-volume Catholic encyclopedia is part of the "Encyclopedia of World Religions" series, which also includes single volumes on Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Protestant Christianity. Encyclopedia of Catholicism focuses mainly on the 19th and 20th centuries, with approximately 800 entries, about 200 of which are biographical (Pope Benedict XVI, elected in 2005, has a citation). The encyclopedia begins with a brief overview of Catholicism, and then proceeds to the various items, people, and themes that make up the citations. Included in the text of each entry are cross-references, and following each entry is a section giving titles for further reading--always a plus. The book includes a few illustrations and a four-page bibliography. In his preface, editor Flinn states that he has given attention to highlighting female contributions to Catholicism, when possible, in this largely male-dominated tradition.One of two comparable works is The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia (rev. and expanded ed., 2004), ed. by Michael Glazier and Monika Hellwig. A leading Catholic theologian, Hellwig, strangely, is not one of the influential women included in the Encyclopedia of Catholicism (she is not included in her own work either, but this may be authorial modesty). The other comparable work is The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism (1995), ed. by R. P. McBrien et al. Both of these one-volume encyclopedias are better choices than the Encyclopedia of Catholicism because they include many more citations, and, especially in the case of The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia, are much more in-depth. With their greater substance, they even include more women than the Encyclopedia of Catholicism manages to. Finally, these two standard encyclopedias are greatly enriched because they are the result of the work of many distinguished contributors. On the whole Encyclopedia of Catholicism is an unneeded reference work. Summing Up: Optional. Lower-level undergraduates and general readers. J. Dickinson University of California, Berkeley

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

The Encyclopedia of Catholicism is a volume in a series of single-volume reference works on six religious traditions of global scope and import. Christianity is presented in this volume on Roman Catholicism and a previously-published one on Protestantism. Approximately 600  alphabetically-arranged entries cover concepts, people, events, institutions, and movements. Issues facing both the Roman Catholic Church and contemporary society are discussed. Notable examples include Abortion, Capital punishment, and Ecotheology (i.e., humankind's relationship to the environment). The entries for Feminism/feminist theology and Women, ordination of explore the issue of full participation on the part of women in the Roman Catholic Church, as contemporary society struggles with the full participation of women in, for example, business and politics. A striking omission is homosexuality and the attendant issues of gay marriage and civil unions. The entry for sexuality does mention homosexuality in the context of the sex abuse scandal that has plagued the Roman Catholic Church in recent years and the article on John Paul II references his description of same-sex unions as a new ideology of evil. The words homosexual, homosexuality, and gay don't even appear as entries in the index. Promotional material for the encyclopedia claims that, while useful to the general reader and serious scholar, it is ideally suited for high-school and junior-college students. However, that may not always be the case. For example, the first entry in the encyclopedia,  for Abbess/abbot, mentions two types of monastic life, namely, eremitical and cenobitic hardly commonly-used adjectives without defining either in the article or elsewhere in the encyclopedia. Most of the references in supplemental bibliographies are to scholarly works, some not in English. Admittedly, presenting the complexity of Roman Catholicism in a manner accessible to a younger audience is a challenge indeed. So the author and publisher of this new encyclopedia are to be commended for their effort in producing an alternative to the multi-volume New Catholic Encyclopedia (Gale, 2002). Another good, single-volume work is The A to Z of Catholicism (Scarecrow, 2001).--McConnell, Christopher Copyright 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Flinn's (religious studies, Washington Univ.) entry in the publisher's world religions series succeeds admirably in presenting Catholicism and its tenets to a general audience. Easy to read and to comprehend and written in accessible, nontechnical language, the work is made up of more than 700 A-to-Z entries detailing the theology, events, persons, doctrines, and movements that have shaped Catholic religion throughout its nearly 2000-year existence. Entries come with ample cross references and suggestions for further reading. A comprehensive index, a chronology, and a brief introduction to Catholicism help to instruct and aid in further reading. Flinn manages to explore both basic concepts (e.g., the Bible, God, the patron saints) and more controversial issues (e.g., abortion, pedophilia, anti-Semitism) with clarity and objectivity. Although he discusses many social and religious issues, the volume lacks any mention of homosexuality and the church, an interesting omission. Some 80 black-and-white illustrations complete the text. Bottom Line Certainly less comprehensive than Gale's massive New Catholic Encyclopedia (2003), which will remain the source of choice for serious religious scholars, this is nonetheless a quality and economical alternative for students, lay scholars, and the general public. Highly recommended for school, public, and undergraduate libraries.-Amanda K. Sprochi, Univ. of Missouri Lib., Columbia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.