.- Dr. Christopher Kaczor's new book addresses some of the most widely-held myths about the Catholic Church and its teachings, tackling sensitive topics like homosexuality and the abuse scandal.
“I really hope that people who are struggling with these issues and have difficulties, are able to be really aided … to find their way to happiness,” Kaczor told CNA Sept. 26.
His new work is titled “The Seven Big Myths about the Catholic Church,” and is published by Ignatius Press. It will become available Oct. 8 and sells for $17.95.
Kaczor is a philosophy professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and received his Ph.D. in 1996 from the University of Notre Dame. He specializes in ethics, Thomas Aquinas, and the interplay between faith and reason.
The inspiration for this book comes from a work he read by Michael Medved, “The 10 Big Lies about America.”
“I read this book, and thought, 'This is a great book. It's taught me a lot. Someone needs to do a book like this about the Catholic Church,'” he explained.
A further inspiration for the book is the “Summa Contra Gentiles” of St. Thomas Aquinas. In that work, St. Thomas explained the Catholic faith using reason.
Kaczor said he tries to “make use of reason in a way that shows the compatibility of reason and faith in a way similar to Aquinas,” addressing topics that are relevant to the present-day.
“I thought about the objections and questions my students have and my friends who are inactive Catholics have, and these are the seven biggest issues they have and talk about.”
Kaczor busts the myths that the Church is opposed to science and to happiness, the idea that it is against women, and that it is homophobic. He also delves into the link between love and procreation, the nature of marriage, and the causes of the priest sex abuse scandal.
He hopes the book will be used by active Catholics to help them communicate the truth behind the myths to “their brother, their sister, their neighbor, the person in their office, who no longer practices their faith.” Ultimately, he hopes to reach out to secular people and inactive or former Catholics.
Kaczor believes there's “a huge need for clarification on these issues … and they cause people to needlessly reject the Catholic Church.”
The issues addressed come in large part from the years he has spent teaching university students. The chapter on contraception is rooted in a course he teaches on happiness, love and marriage.
“I want my students who take the course to really understand what marriage is and have good marriages.”
“I really hope people can be equipped to have good relationships and have a better life … I think this is an issue we can really help people with, to see the beauty and the reality of what marriage can be.”
The book is meant to do the same thing, but for a much wider audience than he is able to appeal to in the classroom.
“I can only teach so many students at a time. But with a book, you can teach hundreds, even thousands of people.”
Kaczor is optimistic about the appeal of the book and its reliance on reason to address emotionally charged issues, such as supposed homophobia in the Church.
“Even though our culture emphasizes emotion a lot, I think people do want to be fair.”
They don't want to be “unfair to others and unreasonable and ignorant to what they're saying. So I think there is still a desire to seek out the truth,” Kaczor stated.
“I think sometimes when the truth is shared in a friendship, in a charitable way, even people who are overwhelmed by emotion can see, 'Oh, that really does make sense, it’s a reasonable thing you're saying, there.'”