Friday, July 10, 2009

Book Review: Surprised by Canon Law

As part of The Catholic Company's Book Reviewer program, I recently had the opportunity to read Pete Vere and Michael Trueman's Surprised by Canon Law, Volume 2. I became rather interested in reading this book when I noticed in the book description that it covered questions regarding parish mergers. Most of the parishes in our diocese are currently in some stage of a merger, including our own, so when I saw that subject of parish mergers was covered in the book, it grabbed my attention.

In all, this book answers a 101 questions pertaining to Canon Law. The book is divided into thirteen chapters. The back of the book has a handy little index and a two page glossary that defines some terms that I suspect many Catholics are not familiar with. Prior to reading this book, I was actually only familiar with a small handful of the glossary entries. That surprised me, given the amount of historical reading I do that is usually intertwined with Church history. And, oddly enough, I was only familiar with one of the terms, Carmelengo, because of my previous reading of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons (You can laugh, it's alright.). We'll just chalk that one up to me being a convert.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. In fact, I found it so interesting that I devoured it in a single afternoon (Amazing what one can accomplish while trying to avoid mopping a kitchen floor!). I liked how the authors would answer a question about Canon Law and in many cases present an example of how the law would be carried out using a hypothetical situation. I also liked how every once in a while you'd find a little bit of humor tossed into the mix. There were several occasions where a witty remark was slipped in. Perhaps they were put in there as little surprises (My feeble attempt at making a reference to the book's title, you like?).

Given that I finished the book as quickly as I did, I would say it's a fairly easy read, but I could be slightly biased since I took a break from reading St. Augustine's Confessions to read this. On that note, this book was like a breath of fresh air with medium type (as opposed to the teeny tiny type I have been staring at for the past few days). Even though the book is an easy and engaging read, that doesn't mean it's light on information. The book is jam packed with loads of information. I would suspect that parts of it aren't going to seem entirely relevant to the average lay Catholic, such as the chapters on Holy Orders and the Institutes of Consecrated Life. For the most part, the book has many chapters that most certainly are relevant to the day to day life of the average lay Catholic. Even the chapters that don't necessarily pertain to those of us who aren't called to join a religious order or become a member of the clergy are still pretty interesting.

I know I'll be recommending this book to friends and family. Obscure Church questions often come up in discussions (like who exactly owns the church property), and this book answers a lot of those questions.

This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Surprised by Canon Law-Volume 2.

As a reviewer for The Catholic Company Book Reviewer program, I was supplied with a free copy of Surprised by Canon Law-Volume 2 in exchange for my honest review.

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