Why I Am Roman Catholic, By Matthew Levering
Why I Am Roman Catholic
  • Length: 160 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: August 27, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0314
  • ISBN: 9781514003145

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The Roman Catholic tradition in Christianity is breathtaking, complex, and rich in insight about what it means to follow God. But what does it look like to claim this tradition as one's own? And how does this intersect with the reality of our daily and personal lives?

In this vulnerable and succinct volume, theologian Matthew Levering addresses the heart of these questions. Bringing together personal memoir and theology, he reflects on why he identifies as Roman Catholic, and considers how this tradition addresses what it means to follow and participate in the life of the Triune God as a finite creature. Rather than shy away from the challenges this tradition presents, Levering presses into these challenges to offer an honest yet hopeful account of being Roman Catholic.

'The Ecumenical Dialogue Series' seeks to foster ecumenical dialogue across theological differences. In each volume, contributors explore what it means to be Christian, what it means to identify with a specific tradition in Christianity (Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox), the challenges and benefits of their tradition, and how they can create dialogue and unity across historically tense division.

"Reading Matthew Levering's testament to his Catholic faith shows me that 'we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses' (Hebrews 12:1), urging us to repentance and perseverance in Christ. Inspiring!"

Andrew Hofer, O.P., Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC

"The remarkably fruitful and faithful Matthew Levering has offered us a new gift with this small jewel on Why I Am Roman Catholic. Personal, penetrating, humbly forthright, and with a sweeping spiritual vision of the divine life, Levering follows his own ecumenical advice: share joyfully with others what the Lord has given you. The volume marks a testimony, not an apology, for his Christian ecclesial commitments, though it is not without a store of gentle persuasions. Richly adorned with the gleaming traces of one the most profound gifts of his tradition—the communion of saints—Levering's limpid discussion takes us through his own sense of blessing, challenge, and hope in his Christian vocation as a Catholic. Non-Catholics in particular will find this an encouraging witness, and all Christians should receive it with thanks, as do I."

Ephraim Radner, professor emeritus of historical theology at Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto and author of A Profound Ignorance: Modern Pneumatology and Its Anti-Modern Redemption

"This is above all an honest book: Levering is honest about himself, honest about the problems of belief, honest about the difficulty of being a Catholic. It is also a generous book: Levering's reading and sympathies are wide-ranging; he looks for, and finds, what is inspiring and encouraging. Finally, while feeling deeply why one might be discouraged, even despair, he is alert to grounds for hope that come from the future—the future that is in the hands of God who loves us into being and will never desert us, his creatures."

Andrew Louth, professor emeritus of patristic and Byzantine studies at Durham University, United Kingdom

"In this frank yet gracious reflection, Levering shares his deepest fears, longings, and hopes, and the secret he is learning—as a Catholic Christian alongside the saints—of finding peace, whatever the circumstances. This book will help Christians draw closer to each other across ecumenical boundaries by showing how a wise, committed, leading theologian of today understands his faith. But at its very core it is more than a work of ecumenism. It is an inspirational work of Christian devotion that conveys the sheer joy of drawing close to Christ."

Han-luen Kantzer Komline, DeWitt Professor of Theology and Church History at Western Theological Seminary

"One of the most important things about this wonderful book is the relationship between Levering's honest and direct description of his own inner faith and the extensive footnotes that reference writers from throughout the Christian tradition and across the Christian world. Levering shows how much his famous work as a theologian is most certainly a gift to the church but also reflects the rich inner life of one who searches for and looks toward his Lord."

Lewis Ayres, professor of Catholic and historical theology at Durham University

"Like Augustine's Confessions, Matthew Levering's Why I Am Roman Catholic is not just another testament to how someone with a great heart and a great mind found his way to the Catholic Church. It is a treasury of saintly wisdom, theological insight, and personal testimony, and as such, an invitation to consider anew the tradition Levering loves and from which he has learned so much."

John Betz, associate professor of systematic theology at the University of Notre Dame



1. Why I Am Christian
2. Why I Am Catholic
3. What I Have Found Especially Beneficial About Being Catholic
4. What I Have Found Difficult About Being Catholic
5. Catholics and Ecumenism
6. Catholic Theological Exegesis

General Index
Scripture Index


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Matthew Levering

Matthew Levering (PhD Boston College) is the James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology at University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. He is the author or co-author of over thirty-five books including Scripture and Metaphysics, Participatory Biblical Exegesis, and Engaging the Doctrine of Israel. He is also the Director of the Center of the Center for Scriptural Exegesis, Philosophy, and Doctrine, and a longtime member of Evangelicals and Catholics Together.