Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Handbook of Roman Catholic Moral Terms (Georgetown University Press)

The Handbook of Roman Catholic Moral Terms is 260 page volume containing over 800 moral terms and definitions. It is not comprehensive by any means, but it is current as it contains topics like Theology of the Body, Natural Family Planning, and Humanae Vitae. As another reviewer pointed out, there are some peculiarities in the book. For example, there is no clear definition on grace but just a referral to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran. There is also an entry for the Lambeth Conferences, a Anglican and Episcopalian conference. Yes, there were some controversial decisions made at these conferences, i.e., female ordination, but why reference it? These is a book for ROMAN CATHOLICS, not Protestants! The author/editor, James T. Bretzke, seems to view Natural Family Planning (NFP) as "Catholic birth control" and though he does include some pro side of NFP, he also includes several references to people who tried NFP.

I was a bit disappointed with this book. There are some good entries in here, but there are some confusing/troublesome entries as well. There also entries that you wish would have had their own section devoted to them, rather than just referencing another entry and the topic you wanted being a mere footnote. Perhaps, it is become I am not scholarly enough and I misunderstood some entries. However, Bretzke does seem to be a bit liberal in his theology. Overall, I'd give this book 3 stars. If you are studying moral theology, then this book might be of interest to you and you might get more out of it than I did. For the casual/average reader though, you're better off not bothering.

This book was provided to me for free by Georgetown Press University in exchange for an honest review.