"This Is Our Faith"
One of the things that I needed to do in order to be ready for the novitiate was to read a book, This Is Our Faith, by Michael Pennock. They asked us to read this to ensure that we were all on the same page with theology and Church teachings.
I have had the opportunity to read some books by Pennock before. As a matter of fact, we used a few as textbooks in my theology I-III classes (no books used in IV, it was more debate and discussion oriented) in high school. Overall, he's a pretty decent author. He knows well how to keep things simple, and explain them in a very straightforward manner.
Unlike the others I have read, where his goal was to educate junior high and high school students, in this his target audience is an RCIA class. Here, far more so than the high school books, he clings very closely to the CCC, constantly quoting and cross-referencing so that by the end, any adult with even close to no knowledge about the faith should come out of it with a pretty good understanding of what we believe and the solid basics of why.
Quoting not only the Catechism, but also from Scripture, various theologians from the time of the Fathers onward, and several other sources, this is not only a useful introduction to the faith. Quite frequently, people become so knowledgeable in theology and philosophy that they have problems explaining things without jargon or technical terminology. If you or someone you know has this problem, this book might be a good way to cure that.
Good as it is, it isn't without its problems. Probably my biggest pet peeve is how Mr. Pennock seems to refuse to capitalize the word "Church", even when saying "the Church" or "the Catholic Church". Also, I felt that the chapter explaining the Trinity might have been lacking in substance, but that could be due just as much to the fact that I'm working on Aquinas' "Treatise on the Trinity" in the Summa as anything. Plus, there were a few times when discussing the Church, its infallability, etc. when I thought he didn't really answer the questions in a straightforward way, but kind of "puttered around" the issues, if you will.
All in all, a pretty decent read, and definitely worth taking a look at if you have the time.
+Ad Majorem Dei Gloraim+
"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."
-Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy