By Dave Armstrong, 141 pages, Sophia Institute, $14.95.
“Excommunication is a formal declaration that a Catholic is 'outside the Church'; because such a person has egregiously diverged from its doctrines, he is excluded from the sacraments and from the Christian fellowship of believers. The purpose of such an exclusion is not to punish the sinner but to encourage him to repent; the goal is restoration, not damnation.”
Dave Armstrong's above words, clear and to the point, counter one of many Protestant misgivings about Catholic teachings.
While many in the ecumenical movement search for sweeping documents by which hierarchies from different churches can show in black and white the resolution of religious differences, a much more forceful ecumenism can happen at the grassroots between lay members of different churches.
Yet such discussions often end in polite deadlock. One reason for this is the ignorance many churchgoers have about their own church. This is particularly true about Catholics. An astounding number of Catholics raised in the post-Vatican II church, whether or not they continue to attend Mass and consider themselves Catholic, are deeply ignorant about countless articles of faith.
This is therefore a good book not only if your cousins are born-again Christians. The One-Minute Apologist is a good read for Catholics trying to understand more deeply their own faith. It addresses the theology of the veneration of Mary and the Saints, the papacy, original sin, the supposed sexism of the male-only priesthood, and whether Catholics are allowed to read the Bible for themselves, something many Protestants apparently still don't believe Catholics do.