Encyclopedia of Catholicism provides ‘real portrait of Catholic Church’

Roman Catholicism, with its numerous saints, long history and deep traditions, can be difficult for the uninitiated to grasp. But a new book from an expert on the Catholic Church who teaches at Washington University in St. Louis should help to change that.

The Encyclopedia of Catholicism, compiled by Frank K. Flinn, adjunct professor of religious studies in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, will be released May 20.

Frank Flinn

Each volume was written by an expert in the field and reviewed and approved by series editor J. Gordon Melton. The references are accessible enough to be of use to the general reader, as well as the serious scholar.

The volumes each include approximately 700 A-to-Z entries that provide easy access to the theological concepts, personalities, historical events, institutions and movements that helped shape the history of each religion and the way is it practiced today.

General introductions by each author place the religion in context and further readings, a bibliography, an index and some 80 black-and-white photographs are also included.

“I think the Encyclopedia of Catholicism is a real portrait of the Catholic Church,” Flinn says. “A person who is completely unaware of what Catholicism is could read this book and come away with a solid understanding of the tenets of the church and to some degree, what it means to be Catholic.”

Professor Flinn is available for live or taped interviews using Washington University’s free VYVX or ISDN lines.