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Swimming With Scapulars: True Confessions Of A Young Catholic [Hardcover]

By Matthew Lickona (Author)
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Item Number 135501  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   278
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.66" Width: 5.78" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2005
Publisher   Loyola Press
ISBN  082942072X  
EAN  9780829420722  

Availability  0 units.

Alternate Formats List Price Our Price Item Number Availability
Hardcover $ 19.95 $ 16.96 135501
Paperback $ 12.95 $ 11.01 3743781 In Stock
Paperback $ 12.95 $ 11.01 3743781 In Stock
Item Description...
Dave Eggers meets G. K. Chesterton in this funny, wise, and acutely perceptive memoir by a precocious young Catholic. For a wine connoisseur and fan of Nine Inch Nails, 30-year-old Matthew Lickona lives an unusual inner life. He is a Catholic of a decidedly traditional bent.

Publishers Description

Meet Matthew Lickona, a thirty-something wine columnist, sometime cartoonist, avid moviegoer, fan of alternative rock, and wonderfully talented writer. He is also a devoutly religious young man ("I am a Roman Catholic, baptized as an infant and raised in the faith, a faith which holds the exemplary and redemptive suffering of Jesus Christ at its core." ) who fasts during Lent, leads his family in prayer every day, and wears a scapular--a medieval amulet said to protect the wearer from harm.
In Lickona's "true confessions," we are introduced to a unique and singular voice, but one that is emblematic of a new generation of believers who combine a premodern faith with a postmodern sensibility. "Swimming with Scapulars "is a modern-day, Catholic, coming-of-age story that takes its author from the austere Catholicism of his Irish-French family in upstate New York to the exotic spiritual tapestry of
Southern California. It is the story of the formation of an ardent young believer who is painfully honest about his spiritual shortcomings ("In times of suffering, I look first to myself. God is the backup, to be called upon when I find myself insufficient."), yet who finds consuming joy in receiving the Eucharist and embracing "the ancient treasures of the faith."
Lickona doesn't mind that many of his secular friends and acquaintances regard him as a religious fanatic. As he writes, "Perhaps, coming from a fanatic, the message of God's love will regain some of its wonderful outrageousness. 'Listen. I have a secret. I eat God, and I have his life in me. It's the best thing in the world.'"

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More About Matthew Lickona

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Matthew Lickona is a staff writer and sometime cartoonist for the San Diego Reader, a weekly newspaper. Born and raised in upstate New York, he attended Thomas Aquinas College in California. He lives in La Mesa, California, with his wife Deirdre and their four children.

Matthew Lickona currently resides in La Mesa.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Take this Bread and take this Whine  Mar 16, 2008
If I'd been an editor on this book, I would have changed the title to True Confessions of a Young Catholic: Take this Bread and take this Whine.

Matthew Lickona has the blind faith that is the luxury of those who benefit from the system. He admits that he doesn't "understand the Church's teaching on birth control," but then goes on to say, "But what's it matter if I understand it? I don't have to understand it, I only have to follow it." But you don't have to get pregnant, do you?

As for my proposed subtitle: Matthew whines. He whines a lot. He whines about wanting to have sex with his wife while she's ovulating (and he tries to goad her into it, despite the fact that they've agreed to practice natural family planning). When they cut it too close and she ends up with an unplanned pregnancy, he prays for a miscarriage (how pro-life of him). He whines about what a hypocritical sinner he is for praying for such a thing. He doesn't get his wish, which means he gets to whine about how his oldest son doesn't properly love the Church. He whines about how modern church music is too "upbeat." He whines when a priest adapts the text of the Eucharistic prayer. He whines BIG TIME when a lesbian couple comes into Church and by their mere presence distract him from the Mass. He whines when the majority of his congregation are Latino or Vietnamese. He whines because his brother is holier than him. He whines because he and his wife don't have time to make fancy meals when they entertain because they've got too many kids (4, two boys, and two girls, the latter of which are NEVER given much screen-time in his memoir). He whines because his mother-in-law is pagan and thinks the Church is unjust for not ordaining women (Matthew puts up a feeble defense of the Church patriarchy here). And finally, he whines because he doesn't have very many friends (I can't figure out why).

He flagellates himself for the sins of lust and wrath, but what his character really smacks of is pride. "It's hard to be a good Catholic, but LOOK HOW HARD I TRY!!!!" Even when he attempts to make himself vulnerable by expressing some very deep faults (including his short temper with his kids, which comes across as borderline abusive), the tone remains prideful: "I'm so humble that I can admit my terrible sins." A direct quote from Matthew while talking about his pagan mother-in-law: "I want Mom to see something attractive in the faith, something she wants and does not have. I want her to see in our lives evidence that OURS is a living God, one who acts in the human heart in a way the goddess does not."

My God is better than your God, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.

I can appreciate Matthew's spiritual seeking, I just wish it would take him a little further than the Pope's back yard.
Don't judge this book by its (back) cover!  Oct 17, 2007
I had seen this book around for a while before I finally bought it, and I did so mainly after reading Richard John Neuhaus' positive remarks about it on the front cover and discovering that Lickona went to Thomas Aquinas College in Southern California. The marketing folks at Loyola Press should have their knuckles whacked for the silly description on the back cover, which was one of the reasons I avoided the book for so long. Their banner remarks ("He plays alternative rock, He draws offbeat cartoons, He writes about wine") imply that serious Catholics would never do such things, just as their remark that "He wears a scapular" implies that one who does so would not ordinarily do the other three things. Maybe it's a small thing, but I was really annoyed by this "Hey, Catholics can be COOL!" sort of approach. I'm not sure the marketing staff even read the book. I don't remember Lickona talking about drawing cartoons at all, and he spends little time talking about wine or alternative rock.

Don't be deceived by the superficial sales pitch on the back cover: Lickona's book is an honest, thoughtful and substantive spiritual diary. As a fellow Catholic of Lickona's general age, I found this to be a very interesting and all-too-familiar account of trying to live a fully Catholic life "in the midst of a crooked and depraved generation," as St. Paul put it, where one is not generally supported in that commitment by the wider culture. One of the marvelous things about the book is that it reveals just how much each one of us can be part of that crookedness and depravity despite our best efforts. Lickona's humility and honesty prevent this from degenerating into a smug holier-than-thou autobiography or a tedious "finding God in popular culture" sort of thing (of the type that Tom Beaudoin and others are producing). Lickona is not interested in changing the Church to fit the world around it, nor is he willing to dismiss the world as entirely hostile to the Church and therefore as something to be avoided or scorned. Because of that, he has written something that is much more fully Catholic than so many others in the genre, and I think this is what one reviewer was on to when he/she said that Lickona's book "shatters stereotypes." Its accessibility and plain-spoken qualities have much to do with its appeal, and many young Catholics may well find themselves thinking that they too could write a book like this.

Ultimately, this is a book about hope, about what is real and true and beautiful, and about taking the spiritual life seriously (which does not mean without a sense of humor). It is at different turns funny, moving, dull, sad, profound, discouraging and hopeful, not unlike life itself. Lickona has probably not written a classic, but he has taken a thoughtful snapshot of the journey being taken by many young Catholics today. I often read about new generations of young Catholics who are taking the faith seriously and embracing it as the center of their lives; Lickona is clearly one such person, and I sincerely hope that there are many others out there.
A little hokey  Aug 24, 2007
This story seems like the author was trying to create an image for himself as a "cool Catholic. I enjoyed another book a lot better called, CONFESSIONS OF A CATHOLIC SCHOOLGIRL. This book by Michelle Kane was more realistic because the main character rebels against the Catholic Church.Confessions of a Catholic Schoolgirl
A good Catholic Boy  Jul 9, 2007
As the author of CONFESSIONS OF A CATHOLIC SCHOOLGIRLConfessions of a Catholic Schoolgirl, I was expecting SWIMMING WITH SCAPULARS to be a little more controversial as my book is. Unlike the character of Valerie in CCSG, Lickona is surprisingly, for such a young person, really into his "old fashioned" faith.
A good read, funny and heartwarming.
Mona Horton Vosburg  Jun 27, 2007
SWIMMING WITH SCAPULARS is Matthew Lickona's thoughtful, well-written, and sometimes humorous apologia of a husband and father in his thirties, seeking to live a Catholic life in a world that often seems to eschew both his Faith and his commitment to it. There is not much written or published about his generation's ideas about faith and how it is to be lived, so it is delightful that someone of the same generation as my own two sons can articulate what Catholicism means on a personal level. When reading about Lickona's obvious joy at being on the campus of a Catholic college and his feelings of belonging, I wondered why this young man had not been a student in Catholic schools prior to this! Is Cortland or Boston lacking in Catholic institutions at the grade and high school levels? I doubt it, so what is the reason why he did not have this educational experience at an earlier age? He so obviously relished it.

I am of an age where I recall firsthand the "two and three rosary" Masses - liturgies where many of the Faithful in the pews said their rosaries while the priest, turned away from the people, intoned the order of the Mass and the altar boy responded in Latin, which neither he nor many in the pews, other than those of us who studied Latin, could comprehend. Believe me, it was not the soaring and majestic Mass that Lickona would like to believe it was, except on rare holydays. Mass in the vernacular - the everyday language of the Faithful - may not have the melodic rhythm and cadence of Latin or the drama at holydays - but it does provide a means for more-inclusive worship and spirit of community than the Latin Mass ever did in this country and other nations around the globe. (It is no wonder that theater arose out of religious practice if you have ever seen a Tridentine High Mass!) Religious ritual is a community act, including the Eucharist, and it is just as fitting and proper that it be in the language of today's community as it was for the denizens of the Roman Empire in the early centuries of the Church. Indeed, there is ample room for improvement in liturgy and music today, but I am confident that that will come over time. "Tantum Ergo" and "Pange Lingua" did not spring forth in the first thousand years of liturgy; nor was St. Ephraim, to whom we owe the inclusion of singing at Mass, loathe to craft his hymns from the common ditties of his day. I would personally like to see "Dies Irae" sung in Advent and Lent rather than simply being assigned to All Soul's Day; but I would want it in English (perhaps John Newton's version), so everyone could appreciate and reflect on what it says. Don't be too rough on the St. Louis Jesuits, Matthew. They are the Thomas of Celano's of their day!! By the end of this one thousand year interval, the Faithful will probably be looking back longingly to "On Eagles Wings" also.

I would have liked to have seen more faith in action discussed in this book. Belief without action is lacking. I applaud that Matthew has read the Church Fathers at TAC; but I think he may benefit by exploring and studying Congar, de Lubac, Raymond Brown, Richard McBrien, Cardinal Newman, Archbishop Quinn and the documents of Vatican II also. One need not be limited in a Catholic reading circle to reading Chesterton's Father Brown when Greene's THE POWER AND THE GLORY is still on the book shelves. Continue wearing your brown scapular, Matthew (Have you ever considered a 5-fold one?) because I will continue to wear my Miraculous Medal - a true commitment - no matter what the world thinks of my religious practices. Reading this book makes me grateful for my sixteen years of Catholic education and my Italian family's inclusion of religion in everyday life from food to celebration. I suspect that what we had as natural is what Matthew Lickona would like to experience.

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