The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins: A Vital Look at Virtue and Vice, With Quizzes and Activities for Saintly Self-Improvement

The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins: A Vital Look at Virtue and Vice, With Quizzes and Activities for Saintly Self-Improvement

by John Zmirak


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The latest installment of the Bad Catholic’s Guides examines the greatest threats to the virtuous life—the seven deadly sins. Theological and historical insights, tongue-in-cheek vignettes of history's greatest saints and sinners, and cringe-inducing quizzes entice readers to tally their scores on the virtue and vice index and calibrate to what degree they have imperiled their immortal souls. Andy Warhol, Ayn Rand, and Mother Angelica are invoked as exemplars of the best and worst of human behavior, while a heady blend of serious theology and pointed satire—punctuated by trivia, charts, and vignettes—brings theology into sharp, hilarious relief, and demonstrates that religious education need not be boring.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780824525859
Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company
Publication date: 11/01/2010
Series: Bad Catholic's guides Series
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 470,299
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

John Zmirak is an editor, a journalist, a college teacher, and a political commentator. He is the author of The Bad Catholic’s Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins and the coauthor of The Bad Catholic’s Guide to Good Living; The Bad Catholic’s Guide to Wine, Whiskey, and Song; and The Grand Inquisitor. He has contributed to Investor’s Business Daily and the National Catholic Register. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Bibliography xv

Introduction xvii

1 Lusting for the Suburbs 1

2 Chastity: Silk Vestments and Fishnet Stockings 23

3 Wrath: Massive, Disproportionate Retaliation 39

4 Patience, for Christ's Sake 55

5 Gluttony: God in the Belly 71

6 Losing Your Temperance 87

7 Greed Is for the Good 105

8 Generosity: How to Give without Being Taken 129

9 The Joy of Sloth 155

10 Diligence: Blessed are the Sweaty 177

11 Vainglory: The Few, the Proud, the Damned 199

12 Humility: Please Allow Me to Humiliate You 217

13 Envy: I See You in Hell 237

14 Pack a Magnum in Your Animus 255

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Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins: A Vital Look at Virtue and Vice, With Quizzes and Activities for Saintly Self-Improvement 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
_Leila More than 1 year ago
If you're not a pansy, you'll love this book. Think Aristotle with a good dash of Chesterton. No stone, theological or paradoxical, is left unturned in this book. Reading Zmirak on the Seven Deadly sins is like riding on one of those buses that careen around hairpin turns on crazy mountain roads, and the tour guide is calling your attention to the view with mad cheerfulness -- only it's the view of your soul!
judithrs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Bad Catholic¿s Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins. John Smirak. 2010. I have to agree with the author, Robert Spencer whose blurb or this book states the following: ¿Reading this guide is to the seven deadly sins is the most fun you can have without actually committing them!¿ Smirak freely using quotes from Thomas Aquinas to Ayn Rand and Mao to illustrate the sins and the corresponding virtues. He takes on Freud, Planned Parenthood, Ayn Rand and numerous others. I found the book fun to read and very interesting. However, the book showed some very careless editing. In the chapter on Lust, he writes about a low-budget comedy that shows the emptiness of a sexless marriage and says the name of it is Unscrewed, but the picture of movie case shows the title as Screwed. It makes me wonder if there are more errors that I missed.
graffitimom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book takes a look humorous look at the seven deadly sins while providing insights and examples of the sins in practice today. There are books and films recommended for further investigation as well as quizzes to see how you stand in reference to each sin. Sometimes I enjoyed reading the book, while, at other times, it seemed to drag a bit. I would not recommend it to someone new in the faith or to someone investigating it, but rather to someone with a good background knowledge and the ability to discern when the writer is being humorous and when the sin is accurately described.
Bachelier More than 1 year ago
John Zmirak's "The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins" (BCGSDS) is a tonic for our age. As with all his works, I think this book is just for me: Joe Six-Pack pew warmer, grudgingly faithful, not as lukewarm as your average Zombie Catholic, but also not as fire-bellied as Michael Voris. Apparently slackadasical Catholics of my type are thick on the ground, which is among the reasons this work is so excellent because the author is so insightful, his prose so engaging, and the lessons here so useful. BCGSDS has humor that hits you right in the kisser, but at the same time is sound as a twenty-dollar gold piece when it comes to the theological teaching. For this is a remarkable book that is both a pedagogic tool and funny as hell. Except Hell isn't funny. Which is why this book is so important. Zmirak's tour of the seven deadly sins is an expansion and recasting of articles for Inside Catholic/Crisis universe and serves as a welcome update for modern ears and idiom after St. Thomas Aquinas's more (eh-hem.) "Scholastic" treatment (read: booorrrinngg). Zmirak correctly points out the dangers of pietism, Jansenism, or scrupulosity (and indifferentism) when addressing the seven deadly sins. Thus he covers the dangers of Frigidity to overcome Lust, Servility to conquer Wrath, Fanaticism to counter Sloth, etc. in an effort "to smash the myth that the opposite of a deadly sin is a virtue." This book in many ways is thus an extension of his "Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey and Song: A Spirited Look at Catholic Life and Lore, from Apocalypse to Zinfandel" and the excellent "Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living" for Zmirak's fundamental argument is one the Church has long espoused: Catholic life and Culture are the result of "zoey" or "life abundantly" rather than wandering in a paranoid Trad-Catholic echo chamber afraid of shadows or alternately abandoning the Magistrium on the altar of "if it feels good do it!" pseudo-hermeneutics of Vatican II permissiveness. To restore our identity as Catholics we need these "bad Catholic" books more than a Knights of Columbus fish-fry. Sadly, for reader "There's a chapter in the book on various acts of elaborate, hilarious, sometimes illegal vengeance I performed on those who'd "wronged" me over the years - and that's literally the only section in the book that the publishers made me edit. They said that parts of it were just too appalling to keep the reader's sympathy." The unexpurgated version exists online and is hilarity incarnate (no, not literally you dunce). But the untouched prose of Prof. Zmirak remains and shines through, which makes this an excellent choice for yourself and as a gift. It is corrective, insightful, and funny. This is spiritual reading at its best. Humor is the most personal of tastes. I was raised an Anglo-Catholic in the lusty gothic South, so I like mine bone dry or sopping wet. Zmirak's near Rabelaisian prose scores high points for me in both categories, sometimes with brevity, sometimes with a well constructed paragraph that ends with a priceless punch line. Some literal. . I suspect the sucker-punch prose aimed straight for your funny bone is why Zmirak did not seek an "Imprimature" or "Nihil obstat." The Bishops that dish those out tend to be prunish rather than prudish. In summary, this is an excellent and entertaining book, simultaneously profound and pleasurable. A very rare literary achievement. Get it today. Full disclosure: I am FB friends JZ.
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CyberMonk More than 1 year ago
Save your money or make a donation to your favorite charity. The author was delightful on the "Son Rise Morning Show"; however, the book seems to be intended for someone with a PhD in Rhetoric English and Social Science with a warp sense of humor. Every paragraph is sprinkled with uncanny verbal imagery and wording, "The man who represses Lust by suppressing every trace of his sexuality is surely better off than the guy who 'lets off steam' in some stranger's Jacuzzi." Something appears to be off when a column of good attributes, "Virtues", is sandwich between two columns of bad attributes, "Vice" to the left and "Neurosis" to the right. It seems to simplify good attributes and complicate the bad, "If you find yourself on the Golden Mean that hangs in tension between the two, you're safely marching the 'straight and narrow' path that leads to Heaven." Who needs God and His Grace; sounds like feel good "New Age" to me. According to the author, it looks like acts of virtue may not transcend time, "Much as I love St. Maria Goretti, the traditional patroness of Chastity, I'm not sure how useful her story is nowadays for illuminating this Virtue"-because of one particular modern time incident. What happened to ".and His truth endureth to all generations"?