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Book Review: Handbook of Catholic Apologetics

It should be noted from the outset that this book is the earlier “Handbook of Christian Apologetics” with a new cover and partial title change, and one new chapter (about forty or so pages). I did not compare each and every page, but nearly every section I checked was exactly the same. The only differences being in font-size and the chapter outlines made more concise. They are good changes, but I am not sure if they are enough to demand a new publication.

As far as apologetical content goes, Mr. Kreeft and Fr. Tacelli do a decent job defending the reasonableness of faith and explaining some of the many philosophical proofs for the existence of God. However, since they renamed the book to Handbook of Catholic Apologetics I had been hoping for a stronger focus on apologetics for theists—for explaining and defending the faith to Protestants and persons of other religions. The book is divided about half and half: the first half addresses atheists and non-believers and the latter portion of the book focuses on defending commons objections to Catholic belief (ex. Mary, the Eucharist, etc.). It is a good resource, but far from and exhaustive and serves really as a good beginning, or grounding, in apologetics.

For example, one shortcoming is the gloss over Father Leonard Feeney. In (briefly) mentioning the dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (Outside the Church There is No Salvation), the authors overcomplicate the matter, dismiss Father Feeney (yes, Fr. Feeney was excommunicated, but not for doctrinal reasons as the authors insinuate) and so Mr. Kreeft and Fr. Tacelli fail to give a really good apologetic defense for the doctrine. The brief sentence or two offered by the authors is useless to anyone who is familiar with the particulars of Fr. Feeney’s case about Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus.

Despite some of its shortcomings, Handbook of Catholic Apologetics is a book that has its apologetical merits for Catholics seeking an introduction to basic questions of faith.

You can purchase this book here.

I wrote this review for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, the largest Catholic Store online. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods.

Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.

I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.


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