Catholicism for Dummies Exposed


Brother Michael Dimond


An examination and exposé of the heretical best-selling book, Catholicism for Dummies, by “Reverend” John Trigilio and “Reverend” Kenneth Brighenti


While it’s true that the book Catholicism for Dummies contains some true statements and facts concerning what the Catholic Church teaches, it’s also true that many statements in the book constitute heresy and apostasy.  So, if after reading this article you still believe the book is completely Catholic, you are simply a dummy.  You have deceived yourself into thinking it teaches Catholicism.  Please note that one of the authors, “Fr.” John Trigilio, is actually a featured speaker for EWTN.  He even hosted their show defending Vatican II.  It was called “Council of Faith.”  He is currently featured on two special programs produced by EWTN.  Trigilio’s book Catholicism for Dummies has also received numerous recommendations from well-known Vatican II “Catholics.” 


Novus Ordo “apologist” Jimmy Akin said the following about Catholicism for Dummies: “… the only secular ‘For Numskulls’-type book on Catholicism that I can recommend. I have read others on the market, published under other ‘For Numskulls’-type imprints, and the ones that I have read are all deficient, ranging from somewhat to seriously so. I was so impressed with Catholicism For Dummies, however, that I recommended it to Catholic Answers to carry.”  Catholic Answers took his advice and now sells it.  Catholic Answers describes the book in this way: “Catholicism for Dummies presents the rich tapestry and history of the Catholic Church – from devotions to doctrines.  You’ll find within these pages everything you wanted to know about the Catholic Faith.”   The book Catholicism for Dummies has also been promoted by many others including Michael S. Rose and Professor Charles Rice.  Rice described it as “A gold mine of insight on the Catholic faith for people of all ages and beliefs.”  No, this book is only a gold mine of heresy and apostasy, as we will see.  I will now give examples of where the book teaches heresy.


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 186: “The Church believes that you’re being irreligious when you show contempt for God, such as by desecrating a holy object or place.  The action is called a sacrilege.  When a house of worship - a church, temple, synagogue, or mosque – is vandalized, the Church maintains that the sin of sacrilege has been committed; a house of God was desecrated, and contempt was shown not solely for those who attend the house’s services but also and preeminently for the person the place was built for.  You’re also violating the Second Commandment if you make jokes, watch movies, or read books that are disrespectful to God or anything considered holy.  So, for example, if you ridicule or laugh at a Jewish man for wearing a yarmulke (skull cap), a Muslim woman for wearing a khimar (head covering), a nun for wearing her religious habit, or a priest for wearing a cassock (a long close-fitting garment, usually black), you’re being sacrilegious.  Human beings wear certain things out of religious tradition, or they perform certain rituals as an external way of showing their love for God.  When others make fun of religious garb or religious practices, it is an insult to the one being remembered by them, God himself.” (Wiley Publishing Inc. 111 River St., Hoboken, NJ.)


This paragraph would rank high among the most heretical paragraphs ever written by a person who claims to be Catholic.  They say it is a sacrilege when a synagogue or mosque is desecrated.  They state that these places are holy, and that when these places are desecrated contempt for God is shown.  This is amazingly heretical.  They go on to teach the incredible heresy that if you show contempt for Jews or Muslims for wearing their religious clothing you are insulting God and violating the second commandment.  They obviously believe that to be a religious Jew or Muslim is the same thing as being a religious Catholic; otherwise they would never say what they stated above.  This clearly indicates that the false religions of Judaism and Islam are good and true.  Here’s what the Catholic Church thinks about these religions:


Pope Eugene IV, Council of Basel, 1434: “… there is hope that very many from the abominable sect of Mahomet will be converted to the Catholic faith.”


Pope Callixtus III: “I vow to… exalt the true Faith, and to extirpate the diabolical sect of the reprobate and faithless Mahomet [Islam] in the East.”


Pope Benedict XIV, A Quo Primum, June 14, 1751: "Surely it is not in vain that the Church has established the universal prayer which is offered up for the faithless Jews from the rising of the sun to its setting, that they may be rescued from their darkness into the light of truth."


Let’s look at the next example of heresy in the book:


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 9: “To Catholics, all people are basically good…”


Catholics do not consider all people as basically good.  All men (outside Our Lady) are born in a state of original sin and Jesus states that most men go to Hell. (Matthew 7:13).  The idea that all men are basically good is a bold expression of religious indifferentism, moral relativism and it implies universal salvation.


Catholicism for Dummies, Introduction page 1: “Three great religions trace their roots to the prophet Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  And one of those great religions, Christianity, is expressed in three great traditions: Catholicism, Protestantism, and Eastern Orthodoxy.”


They state that Judaism and Islam are great religions and that Protestantism and Eastern “Orthodoxy” are great Christian traditions.  This is totally heretical.  Some might argue that the term “great,” even though it frequently means good, can also mean “numerically large.”  Since it can carry the meaning of “good,” a Catholic must not use such a word to describe a false religion, unless it’s made clear in the context that the religion is false but simply stands out in history.  Of course, the authors of Catholicism for Dummies don’t teach that these religions are false and evil.  On the contrary, their entire book constitutes proof that they regard these false religions as good.  As it stands, their statement is heretical and an expression of false ecumenism. 


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 11: “The practice of attending what’s called the Vigil Mass, the Saturday evening Mass, wasn’t universally allowed until 1983.  The rationale for this relatively new practice is that in the Jewish tradition after sundown means the next calendar day, so Mass celebrated after sundown on Saturday evening can count for a Sunday obligation.”


Throughout its history, the Catholic Church has only considered Sunday attendance sufficient for the weekly holy day of obligation.  However, in 1983 this was changed by the arch-apostate John Paul II.   The Catholic Church does not permit any of the observances of the Old Law of Judaism to be religiously followed.  Therefore, those who think that Saturday Mass is equal to Sunday for the weekly Mass obligation are following Judaism.  The Council of Florence condemned those who followed the religious practices of Judaism.


Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, 1441, ex cathedra: “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments… after our Lord’s coming… ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began...  All, therefore, who after that time (the promulgation of the Gospel) observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, the holy Roman Church declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation.”


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 94:  “… Catholicism doubts the Baptisms in the following faith communities to be a valid sacrament: Christian Scientists, Quakers, Salvation Army, Jehovah Witnesses, Unitarians, and Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.)  The reason has nothing to do with the religions themselves or their members, because all espouse a true love of God and neighbor.  The reason merely has to do with what Catholicism considers to be a valid sacrament.”


The heretical sects they mention here do not espouse a true love of God.  Notice how any even mild criticism of a non-Catholic religion is repudiated by the authors.  This is consistent with the complete (and often shocking) religious indifferentism seen throughout the book.


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 94: “So through Catholic Baptism, a Christian’s immediate spiritual family is God the Father, Jesus, God’s son and a brother to all, and Mary, the Mother of Jesus and a mother to all.  And every one who was, is, or ever will be baptized becomes their extended spiritual family.  Catholics believe that Baptism makes all people brothers and sisters in Christ, whether they’re Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox.”


It’s heretical to teach that by baptism non-Catholics become part of the same spiritual family as Catholics.  True Catholics are only united to other Catholics by baptism.  To be part of the same spiritual family is to be part of the same Church.  This would mean that non-Catholics are part of the true Church.  All in the Catholic Church have the same faith and baptism.  Non-Catholics do not have the same faith as Catholics and are therefore not part of the same spiritual family.


Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 9), June 29, 1896: “The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium.”


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 95: “Even secular science today uses the name Eve to refer to the first human woman – the first homo sapien.  We want to mention that avowed atheist scientists from Oxford University in England have identified seven ancestral matriarchal groups from which all Europeans appear to have descended.  Every European, according to the study, can trace his evolutionary history back to the seven ancestral mother groups, also referred to as the Seven Daughters of Eve.  This corroborates the discovery of biochemists Allan Wilson and Vincent Sarich of the University of California at Berkley who’ve shown that every man and woman on earth, past, present, and future, can be traced genetically to one human woman.”


Here they promote the unscientific and unbiblical theory of evolution.


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 99: “The Catholic Church doesn’t see itself as being right and all other religions being wrong… You can think of it like this: Catholicism sees itself more like someone who knows everything about mathematics versus someone who knows only algebra, geometry, or trigonometry.  The Church believes that all religions know some truth, but it knows more.”


This is completely wrong.  The Catholic Church does see itself as being right and all the other religions as being wrong.


Pope Pius VIII, Traditi Humilitati (#4), May 24, 1829: “Indeed this deadly idea concerning the lack of difference among religions is refuted even by the light of natural reason.  We are assured of this because the various religions do not often agree among themselves.  If one is true, the other must be false; there can be no society of darkness with light.  Against these experienced sophists the people must be taught that the profession of the Catholic faith is uniquely true, as the apostle proclaims: one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”


Pope Leo XIII, Libertas (# 21-23), June 20, 1888: “Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless; or to adopt a line of action which would end in godlessness – namely, to treat the various religions (as they call them) alike, and to bestow upon them promiscuously equal rights and privileges.  Since, then, the profession of one religion is necessary in the State, that religion must be professed which alone is true, and which can be recognized without difficulty, especially in the Catholic States, because the marks of truth are, as it were, engraven upon it… Men have a right freely and prudently to propagate throughout the State what things soever are true and honorable, so that as many as possible may possess them; but lying opinions, than which no mental plague is greater, and vices which corrupt the heart and moral life should be diligently repressed by public authority, lest they insidiously work the ruin of the State.”


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 100: “People who lack any knowledge of Christ and his teachings are sometimes called anonymous Christians, and they don’t consciously, deliberately, and willingly reject Christ and his Catholic Church, so they aren’t responsible for not knowing the whole truth.  Therefore, the Church believes in Baptism by desire, which allows salvation for non-Christians who, through no fault of their own, haven’t yet accepted Christ explicitly but nonetheless live good, moral lives as if already Christian.  Only those who consciously, deliberately, and willingly reject Christ are considered liable.”


There is no such thing as an anonymous Christian.  In this statement they manifest a complete denial of the necessity of the Catholic faith for salvation.


Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra: “Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.”


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 114: “… getting married in the Catholic Church isn’t as complicated as some may think.  At least one person must be Catholic, but the other person can be any other religion.  If the non-Catholic was baptized in a non-Catholic church, the non-Catholic needs documentation verifying Baptism.  If the non-Catholic is unbaptized, unchurched, or of a non-Christian religion, a special dispensation from the local bishop is needed.  The priest or deacon doing the ceremony can obtain it.”


Historically, the Catholic Church allowed a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic only on rare occasions.  The non-Catholic party would have to agree to raise all the children Catholic.  The post-Vatican II Counterfeit Church now allows “Catholics” to marry non-Catholics without any dispensation.  A dispensation to marry a non-Catholic is now only necessary if the non-Catholic “is unbaptized, unchurched, or of a non-Christian religion.” 


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 115: “A valid Sacrament of Matrimony requires the presence of a priest or deacon, a bride and groom (no same-sex marriages), and two witnesses of any religionSecular or other writings from other faiths can be read at the wedding reception before grace is prayed and the toast given…”


Here these apostates promote that the witnesses of a marriage can be of any religion whatsoever and that religious writings from different religions can be read at the wedding reception.  What apostates!


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 120: “… a nonpracticing Catholic doesn’t realize that a non-Catholic minister can still marry the couple in a non-Catholic ceremony with the Catholic Church’s blessing as long as the couple meets with the priest or the deacon and still fulfills all the same Pre-Cana preparations as everyone else.  A dispensation from the local bishop is possible and can allow the bride or groom to be validly married in the eyes of the Church, by a non-Catholic minister, and in a non-Catholic church of the non-Catholic spouse, but the Catholic priest or deacon must fill out the necessary forms, and the couple still has to make the same preparations as other Catholic couples.”


Here they promote the completely novel and heretical idea that a Catholic can marry before a non-Catholic minister and in a non-Catholic Church.  This was never allowed in the whole history of the Catholic Church until after Vatican II.


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 188: “Just going to a Christian Sunday worship service isn’t good enough.  In order for Catholics to satisfy and fulfill the Third Commandment, they must attend a valid Catholic Mass.  Going to another denomination for a Sunday worship service is nice, but Catholics must also attend Mass the evening before or sometime during the day on Sunday.”


The heretics state that going to a protestant denomination to fulfill your Sunday obligation “is nice,” but “isn’t good enough” to fulfill your Sunday obligation.  Every moral theology manual before Vatican II would tell you that to actively participate in a Protestant service would be a mortal sin.


Pope Pius IX, Graves ac diuturnae (# 4), March 23, 1875, speaking of a non-Catholic sect: “They [the faithful] should totally shun their religious celebrations, their buildings, and their chairs of pestilence which they have with impunity established to transmit the sacred teachings.  They should shun their writings and all contact with them.  They should not have any dealings or meetings with usurping priests and apostates from the faith who dare to exercise the duties of an ecclesiastical minister without possessing a legitimate mission or any jurisdiction.”


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 193: “Catholicism doesn’t teach that married couples must have as many children as biologically possible.  It does, however, allow for Natural Family Planning (NFP), which is not the old, archaic, and unreliable rhythm method.  So responsible parents can morally decide how large or small a family they can reasonably afford, raise, and maintain, as long as moral means are employed to do so.”


They state that you can decide for yourself how large a family you want.


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 204: “Treating all citizens – regardless of gender, color, ethnicity, or religion – with the same dignity and human rights is a mandate of social justice to all governments.”


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 207: “The person must know that what they’re doing or planning to do is evil and immoral.  For example, someone steals a postage stamp, thinking that it’s only worth 50 cents.  She knows that it’s sinful, but if she’s unaware that the stamp is rare and actually worth a $1,000.00, she’s not guilty of mortal sin but of venial sin… Venial sins are any that only meet one or two of the conditions needed for a mortal sin but do not fulfill all three at the same time, or they’re minor violations of the moral law, such as giving an obscene gesture to another driver while in traffic.”


To steal something that is only worth a small amount of money is a mortal sin, not a venial sin.


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 215: “Most religions have some controversial teachings, doctrines, disciplines, and policies that the outside world rejects or misunderstands.  A few members may even dislike or oppose some doctrine or other, yet these positions remain part and parcel of the official religion, because at the very core is an obligation to speak the truth “in season and out of season… for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine but wanting to have their ears tickled” (2 Timothy 4:2-3)  For this reason, the Catholic Church, like other faiths, stands by her convictions and teachings…”


They seem to state that all religions - by adhering to their core teachings, are speaking the truth in season and out of season.


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 224: “Women can serve on the parish council and finance committees.  They can be readers at Mass, extraordinary ministers (laypersons who assist the priest at Mass to give out Holy Communion) if needed, and ushers.  They can work in the parish office, teach religious ed, and so on, just like their male counterparts.  And many parishes have women pastoral associates – usually nuns or religious sisters who help the pastor with many spiritual and pastoral duties.  In addition women can hold positions of influence and power even in the diocesan chancery.  The Church has women who are canon lawyers, judges, and chancellors across the country.  The Church has allowed local bishops and pastors the option to permit female altar servers at Mass.  Now many parishes have both altar girls and altar boys.”


This is wicked novelty condemned by Catholic teaching.


Pope Benedict XIV, Allatae Sunt (#29), July 26, 1755: “Pope Gelasius in his ninth letter to the bishops of Lucania condemned the evil practice which had been introduced of women serving the priest at the celebration of Mass.  Since this abuse had spread to the Greeks, Innocent IV strictly forbade it in his letter to the bishop of Tusculum: ‘Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be altogether refused this ministry.’  We too have forbidden this practice in the same words in Our oft-repeated constitution...”


1 Corinthians 14:34- “Let women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted them to speak, but to be subject, as also the law saith.”


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 234: “The Catholic Church permits and encourages married couples to space births and plan how big or small their family will be.  But if artificial contraception is out, what’s in?  Definitely not the archaic and undependable rhythm method.  That’s not what the Church means by Natural Family Planning (NFP)… By using natural science – taking body temperature, checking body fluids, and using some computations – a woman can determine with 95 percent accuracy when to have sex and not get pregnant… When practiced properly, NFP is as effective as any artificial birth control method.  And it’s not difficult to learn.  Mother Theresa taught illiterate Indian women from the gutters how to effectively use NFP.  In addition, no prescription and no expensive devices are involved, so it’s easy on the budget.  Birth control pills, on the other hand, are commodities bought and sold for profit.”


They state that the Catholic Church “encourages” couples to space births and plan how big or small their family will be.  They encourage NFP as “effective as any birth control method.”


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 237: “The Church respects and loves the homosexual the same as it does the heterosexual.  Catholicism teaches that the homosexual must be treated with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.  Every act or thought of hatred, violence, or persecution toward the homosexual is condemned.”


First, they utter the heresy that the Catholic Church equally respects a homosexual and a heterosexual!  Perhaps they should read Romans chapter 1.  Then they say that the homo must be treated with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.  What does treating a homosexual with “sensitivity” and “compassion” mean?  A Catholic tells the homosexual in charity that his behavior is unnatural and an abomination before God.


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 266: “In all 2,000 years of Church history, only two papal ex cathedra statements have been made.”


This is completely wrong and actually laughable.  There have been many more than just two ex cathedra statements in Church history.   When we consider that these authors have PhDs, yet demonstrate a profound ignorance of real Catholic teaching, this reveals again how shallow, deceiving and misleading such official degrees can be.


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 287: “… the word militant isn’t used in the sense that Catholics are at war with Protestants, Jews, or Muslims.  The term militant refers to a spiritual warfare against sin and the devil…. Confirmation makes the faithful Soldiers of Christ, who battle against greed, envy, anger, lust, pride, laziness, and gluttony, as well as prejudice, racism, anti-Semitism…”


They say that Catholics aren’t at spiritual war with Protestants, Jews, or Muslims.  We are at spiritual war against these members of false religions because they lead people to Hell.  But of course heresy, apostasy and embracing false religions mean nothing to these apostates.  They also say that confirmation makes a person a Soldier of Christ to fight against anti-Semitism.  We wonder what they mean by this statement.  Do they mean that you are not to be a racist or against the Jewish religion (there’s a huge difference between the two, of course) or do they mean both?  They probably mean both. 


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 288: “… hell isn’t a physical place.  It’s as real as heaven or purgatory, but you can’t travel to it anymore than a spaceship can reach heaven.”


Catholicism for Dummies, Page 288: “Catholics believe that purgatory evens the score and fulfills justice while accommodating mercy.  They [Catholics] believe that purgatory isn’t a place but a spiritual state of the soul in which it’s purified before entering heaven.  Known as the Church Suffering, the souls in purgatory are definitely and absolutely going to heaven, just not yet.  Think of it like this: Joe and Max were both born on the same day and both died on the same day.  Joe was a gambler, boozer, and womanizer, and he was dishonest, lazy, and undependable.  Max, on the other hand, spent his life obeying the Ten Commandments, practicing virtue, and loving God and neighbor.  Just before dying, Joe repents of his old ways and accepts the Lord into his heart.  Should Joe and Max both go to heaven at the same time?  Catholicism teaches no… both can’t walk through the pearly gates side by side.”


They say that Hell and Purgatory are not actual places.  They got this heresy from Antipope John Paul II.  In the summer of 1999, he taught that Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory are not actual places.  It’s revealed in the bible that Heaven and Hell are actual places.  They go on to say that two men (of some religion) live different lives.  Max loves God and neighbor.  Joe was a gambler, boozer and womanizer.  Max then dies.  Then Joe dies, at the same time.  Just before dying, Joe “repents” and attempts to use the Protestant method of accepting the Lord into his heart to save his soul.  They conclude by stating that they both go to Heaven, just not at the exact same time.  Joe might have to spend a little time in Purgatory.  This is heresy.


These few quotes from the book Catholicism for Dummies demonstrate the incredible levels of heresy and apostasy held and promoted by these two authors.  These authors are simply men who are able to read and write and obtain degrees.  What’s incredible is that Trigilio and Brighenti would probably be considered very conservative among Novus Ordo “priests.”  The real problem here is that Trigilio and Brighenti should have never become “priests.”  They are utterly of bad will and they are not remotely Catholic.  The people who promoted this book are also not Catholic.  The mere fact that this book is considered a textbook on what the Catholic Church teaches proves once again that we are living through the final days of the Great Apostasy at the end of the world. 


Brother Michael Dimond

Most Holy Family Monastery

4425 Schneider Rd.

Fillmore NY 14735