About the Handbook

“There are not a hundred people in the world who hate the Catholic Church, but there are thousands who hate what they mistakenly believe the Catholic Church to be.” Bishop Sheen

The fruit of more than 18 years of study, this handbook is being published digitally for the Kindle and the iPhone so that we can “grow on the go.” You will have access to the full handbook from your mobile device.

Additionally, the full handbook will be available online in a searchable format, so that you can really dig deep to learn more about the Catholic Faith.

And what’s more is that The Fullness of Truth will be easily shareable. Anyone with a Kindle, an iPhone or iPad, or a computer will be able to access it.

Have a friend who is struggling with the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist? There are two chapters devoted to that very truth.

Know someone who is confused about praying to Mary and the saints? There are chapters for that too.

In fact, the book spans almost 200 pages, and in easy-to-understand language it tackles some of the biggest and most confusing aspects of our faith… always pointing back to the two great sources of the Bible and the Catechism.

From The Introduction:

This handbook is intended as an aid to instructing students how to understand, explain and defend the Catholic faith biblically.  Therefore the content presented here is targeted to adults, although older children could benefit for reading and studying it.  The material presented here could form the basis of a stand-alone course in the later years of grammar school or in high school, but that is not its primary purpose.

This handbook is structured to supplement the school’s normal religion curriculum.  Therefore the various segments will dovetail well with the Religion courses taught in traditional Catholic schools and parish schools of religion.  It will also be an invaluable aid to Catholic homeschoolers.  Individual topics are developed in each of the first five major parts.  They begin with a one-page cliff note that summarizes the topic.  A short essay on the same topic follows each cliff note, providing a more detailed development.  The Addendum contains short essays on six different topics.

All references to “teachers” are intended to include parents.  The Church affirms the vital role of parents in the formation of their children in the faith:

“In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to the faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith” (CCC, #656).

“The role of parents in education [in the faith] is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute” (CCC, #2221).

Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years … Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith.  Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God” (CCC, #2226).

Tragically, many Catholics have been drawn out of the Catholic Church because they could not explain or defend Catholic beliefs and practices biblically.  In these circumstances they are led to believe by well meaning Protestants that many unique Catholic beliefs are unbiblical.

Understanding the biblical foundation for Catholic beliefs guards Catholics from this deception, and empowers them to evangelize non-Catholic Christians so they can embrace the complete Christian message, instead of one of the numerous truncated Protestant versions.

Bob Sungenis tells how he was persuaded to leave the Catholic Church:

“I embraced their [Protestant] view of the Catholic Church, seeing it as a deception, a diabolical detour which leads souls away from Christ by entangling them in a morass of ritual, legalism, and unbiblical traditions of men.  I’m ashamed now at the memory of how I so effortlessly allowed myself to be talked into leaving the Church” (Patrick Madrid editor, Surprised by Truth, p. 101).

Protecting children and adults from distortions of the Christian faith is important, but there exists a more pressing reason to teach the Catholic faith biblically. In the Word of God one encounters the Word who is God (CCC, #’s 108, 124). Therefore the Church teaches that the Bible is the “soul of theology” (CCC, # 132). When the truths of the Catholic faith are studied apart from Sacred Scripture, it easily becomes a mere intellectual exercise devoid of vitality. Then it becomes the study of a corpse! This leads to head knowledge that never enflames the heart. It is in this context that the Church makes its own the words of St. Jerome:Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ (CCC, # 133).

Finally, Catholics are called to evangelize all those who do not have the fullness of truth. The Church has a missionary mandate “to preach the Gospel to all men” (CCC, # 849, See also #’s 850-851). Christ desires to fulfill his prophetic office in the laity, not only in the hierarchy. Christ entrusts the laity with his apostolate “by virtue of their Baptism and Conformation” (CCC, # 900). He accomplishes this by making the laity “witnesses and provides them with the sense of the faith [sernsus fidei] and the grace of the word” (CCC, # 904). Thus, the Catechism makes its own the words of St. Thomas Aquinas:

“To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and ofeach believer” (CCC, # 904, See also #’s 905-906).

Sacred Scripture is also the indispensable meeting ground to have a meaningful discussion with non-Catholic Christians about matters of faith and practice. Therefore when Catholics do not understand their faith biblically they leave the impression on non-Catholics that Catholic beliefs are not based on God’s revelation. Furthermore, Catholics are left tentative and even afraid to engage in serious religious discussions with Bible-believing Protestants, when they lack an understanding the biblical basis of their faith.

Many Catholics are also unaware that a great deal of anti-Catholic propaganda is circulated in some Protestants circles. Yet the vast majority of Protestants have never heard the Catholic faith authentically presented. Steve Wood, a former Presbyterian minister, wrote:

“There are many Protestants who have read dozens, even hundreds, of books on theology, Church history, and Scripture, but have never read a single book on Catholicism written by a Catholic. They assume Catholicism is wrong without any serious investigation” (Surprised by Truth, p. 92).

Steve Ray narrates his remarkable conversion journey in Crossing the Tiber. He and his wife embraced the Catholic faith before they talked to a Catholic priest or entered a Catholic church. They were moved to tears during the first Mass they attended. Steve wrote about their deeply profound experience:

“These [Catholics] were supposed to be pagans and statue worshipers, idolaters and the ‘unsaved.’ Janet and I were angry about the lies we have been fed and at the same time overjoyed to find a Church to match what we had read about [in the Bible and the writings of the early Church]” (Steve Ray, Crossing the Tiber, p. 85).

The material presented here is organized in such a way that it will provide a useful aid in guiding students to understand their faith biblically, to embrace it fully, and to proclaim it faithfully. This results in vibrant, well-informed Catholics who can radiate the entire Christian message.

Tim Staples is a Catholic today because a fellow marine knew and lived his faith and he could defend it biblically. Tim wrote:

“I thank God that Matt had enough knowledge of and love for his faith, to give me intelligent answer about Catholicism. If it were not for him I would not be Catholic today. I pray that my testimony will encourage Catholics to defend their Faith when challenged by non-Catholics. I thank God for letting me encounter a Catholic who was willing and able to contend for the Faith (Jude 13)” (Surprised by Truth, p. 194).