Chad Torgerson’s “Waking Up Catholic: A Guide to Catholic Beliefs for Converts, Reverts, and Anyone Becoming Catholic” is part of a beginners’ guide to Catholicism and part of a moving story of conversion by a former protestant.
Beginning Catholics may care more about the information, while better-studied Catholics will find more value in the apologetics. Between the two, there’s something for everyone.
A Tale of Conversion
“For years, I misunderstood the Catholic faith – and the Tradition that helps to form it. It separated me from the Catholic Church, just as it has divided and separated Christ’s church for centuries. For me, that time is over.”Chad Torgerson
Chad Torgerson’s “Waking Up Catholic” is not exactly a narrative work. Its focus is on education. However, as Torgerson moves through some of the biggest elements of the book, he also explains how he encountered and interacted with these ideas on his own path to conversion.
As a result, the book becomes more than a “TLDR” of Catholic source material. It is also a story of one man’s conversion from Lutheranism to “non-denominational Protestantism” to Catholicism. Along the way, it also offers its own respectful criticisms of those organizations.
An Introduction to Catholicism
“Personally, when I first began my journey to Catholicism, I struggled to find the answers to many questions. When I became Catholic, I wanted to ensure that others did not have the same experience.”Chad Torgerson
In the introduction to his work, Chad Torgerson explains that a significant target audience for the book is protestants approaching Catholicism for the first time, as he once did.
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While similar works by some protestant converts might come off as adversarial, Chad Torgerson’s approach is patient, understanding, and conciliatory. He uses his understanding of common protestant beliefs like sola scriptura as a way to explain the Catholic alternatives.
The approach is welcoming, friendly, informative, and eye-opening for Catholic readers and protestant leaders alike.
A Reintroduction to Catholicism
“One of the greatest beauties of the Catholic faith is the depth of its teachings, but for someone without a graduate-level degree in theology, the average Catholic, it can be overwhelming. Naturally, we begin searching for answers.”Chad Torgerson
“Waking up Catholic” is not just for recent and potential converts to Catholicism. It’s also for “cradle Catholics” who were raised in the faith but desire a deeper understanding than what they remember from Sunday School.
As the above quote shows, Chad Torgerson is not interested in making readers feel bad about their lack of knowledge. Rather, he is eager to give a glimpse into the great wealth of knowledge that the Catholic Church presents, and understanding that no one has all of the information that there is.
A Catholic Sourcebook
“With the Sacred Tradition being the major dividing factor between Catholics and non-Catholics, many of the differences will arise from this distinction. Therefore, to understand the Catholic view on these subjects as found later in this book, it is vital to understand the concept of Catholics Tradition. Without it as a cornerstone of belief, it would be difficult to understand the Catholic view on many subjects.”Chad Torgerson
In his exploration of Catholic topics like the Papacy and the saints, Chad Torgerson draws on a wide variety of Catholic source documents including the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the works of the Church Fathers, and documents by councils and church leaders.
All Catholics have access to these documents, if not on their bookshelf, then on the internet. Chad Torgerson presents these documents, not simply as a short answer to a complex question, but as a jumping-off point for readers to find deeper answers for themselves by going to the source.
Argument and Apologetics
“On their own, the Church and its Sacred Tradition can be criticized and picked apart by naysayers of Catholicism. Together, they hold firm. Together, they build an impenetrable fortress of reason and logic. As we begin to study and learn about the Catholic faith, we must always keep these two at the center of our studies. They will guide us in the right direction and show us a deeper level of Christianity than we will find anywhere else.”Chad Torgerson, “Waking Up Catholic”
Even more learned Catholics that are closer to students of the Bible, Tradition, the Church Fathers, and more recent church documents and ideas can find value in this book.
Chad Torgerson presents not only common protestant arguments against Catholicism but also how he used to argue them as a protestant. In defending these ideas, he explains how Catholics can defend these ideas when they find themselves challenged.
A Call to Action
“When pressed with an argument, many Catholics respond by saying that it is simply what they were taught; they do not question it. As a child, they learned the Catholic Tradition, and that is all they need to know. That may be efficient for their own lives, but how can they truly spread the Word if they do not understand the basic tenets of their faith?”Chad Torgerson, “Waking Up Catholic”
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“Waking Up Catholic” is not only instructional – but it is also a call to action. The book not only gives Catholics the resources that they need to refute challenges and spread their faith, but it also challenges Catholics to engage in these activities.
What other people say about “Waking Up Catholic” book
“Whether you are a new convert, a cradle, or wondering what Catholics believe, I highly recommend this book. It gives you just enough information to be dangerous without being “preachy” and gives everyone a baseline review of apologetics.”Elizabeth L’s Amazon Review
Online booksellers carrying “Waking Up Catholic” provide a wealth of positive reviews from readers from a wide variety of backgrounds. Most reviews stress the book’s readability, and the user-friendly way in which it provides information in the form of quotes and citations.
Readers regularly comment that while the book provides a wealth of information on its own, it has also inspired them to access some of the source material that it draws on, leading to an even deeper understanding and appreciation of their faith.
Chad Torgerson’s “Waking up Catholic” is available online in print and ebook format. Order it today to start a new exploration of the Catholic faith.