Book Review of Thomas Groome, "Eight Gifts: What Makes Us Catholic"

Essay by kaffeneUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2006

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Thomas Groome explicitly suggests that he is writing this book for the purpose of reaching out to Catholics and non-Catholics alike in an effort to share the spirituality and goodness of the church. In sharing the spirituality, the author believes that he can find a way to effectively communicate the catholicity of the church - that is, the universality in its teachings - as well as clarify exactly what it means to be a member of the Catholic Church today. In this context, Groome names three types of people that he specifically is writing for. First, the author names a non-practicing Catholic who is looking to reconnect with the church of his childhood; next a modern-day woman looking to figure out how the church can remain relevant in her life despite the seemingly sexist patriarchy of the church - and in doing so, embrace the "greater good" of Catholicism; finally, an older man wanting to find a way to reconcile the church of his younger days with the changed face of the Catholic church today.

These three persons that Groome writes for represent what he feels is the continuum that makes up the body of his readers, and more importantly: the continuum that represents Catholic society as a whole.

In the initial chapter of the book, Groome sets the tone for the remaining lessons by calling for Christians to "live...'the greatest commandment' by loving God and neighbors - even enemies - as oneself" (9). This admonition is repeated throughout the book, and serves to unify the other messages he presents. Through anecdotes of his own as well as biblical reinforcement, the author seeks to impart to the reader a sense of how crucial the simultaneous ideas of love, tolerance and understanding one another are to appreciating the other gifts...