Which books should every Catholic have/read?

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Apart from the Bible and the Catechism, what book(s) do you recommend that every Catholic should read?

-- Anonymous, May 24, 1998


Hi Paul

I think that every Catholic should read a good overview of Church History (The Church Through The Ages, M Harney, S.J.), a collection of early Catholic writings and Fathers ( The Worlds Great Catholic Literature, G. Shuster) Just to get a good idea of whats there.

Also a selection of Encyclicals (Most by John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, Evangelium Vitae, Ut Unum Sint, Veritatis Splendor, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia. Others by Pius XII including, Mystici Corporis Christi, Humani Generis, and Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam. Mysterium Fidei and Marialis Cultus and Pius X, Pascendi Dominici gregis and Lamentabili Sane. Vatican II documents, Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et spes, Apostolicam Actuositatem, Unitatis Redintegratio, Sacrosanctum concilium, so they know what they DON'T say.

Some type of Apologetics book so that they may be able to defend the faith, (Faith of our Fathers)

In the Misc. area " Crossing the Threshold by John Paul II" and "A Moment Of Grace by Cardinal O'Connor", "Introduction to The Devout Life- St. Francis De Sales", "On The Truth of The Catholic Faith-- St. Thomas Aquinas", "The Spirit of Catholicism- Karl Adam" , " The Imitation of Christ- Thomas Kempis"

Rich Pohlman S.F.O.

-- Anonymous, May 25, 1998


Well, if you have young children, you should read Tolkien and CS Lewis, not everything has to be overtly Catholic. The Church is abour TRUTH, right?! :) I also love the works (sermons) of the early, early Church fathers. The translations are supposedly very good. Have you read the play by Peter Kreeft called "Between heaven and hell"?

-- Anonymous, June 15, 1998

I agree with all of the above selections (even though many of them require a serious dedication to study and the time to do it), but I deplore the fact that you haven't given the questioner ANY MENTION OF PRAYERS! He wasn't asking what every theology student should read, he was asking what every CATHOLIC should read. Books that encourage and nourish Faith are the MOST ESSENTIAL. I read all these letters from so many confused Catholics that say "no one told me this or that and I lost my faith or became protestant because THEY explained it to me." Our Catholic Faith is there for everyone to read, and be nourished, but you have to get your brains out of purely intellectual pursuits and learn how to PRAY. Prayer is the foundation of our faith! If you don't devote some time every day to prayers, all the church history and church documents will not avail to contribute to your individual salvation. I would like to add a few books that may be read EVEN BEFORE all the Encylicals and Apologetics: a MUST: My Prayer Book by Rev. Lasance (the wealth of Catholic prayers and meditations, the entire mass, devotions, novenas, etc.), The Wonders of the Holy Name by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis De Montfort, My Daily Bread put out by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Immitation of Christ, the Jesus, Mary, Joseph Novena Manual by Fr. Stedman, Uniformity with God's Will by St. Alphonsus de Ligouri. Then after reading the Encylicals please also read: Liturgical Shipwreck by Michael Davies, and The Reform of the Roman Liturgy by Msgr. Klaus Gamber. You should also have your own Missal to follow along when you participate in the Mass. Missalettes can be misleading to those searching for Truth as they are printed with what that particular church's mass consists of, and not what it SHOULD consist of according to Rome.

-- Anonymous, May 27, 1998

Yes I do agree with you Martha. St. Alphonsus; on the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ and The Great Means of Salvation And Prefection. St. Francis De Sales has a great work on Prayer. And the Great St. Teresa of Avila "The Spiritual Life" by A. Tanquerey and of course most anything by Archbishop Sheen. These are some of my favorites.

-- Anonymous, May 27, 1998

What every Catholic should read?

It's simple. My Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a' Kempis

-- Anonymous, June 15, 1998

My top ten list: Imitation of Christ; De Sales' Introduction; Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises; The Catechism; Selections from the Fathers; the Conciliar Documents of Vatican II; Chesterton's The Everlasting Man; a good solid prayer book, preferably containing the Order of Mass and other Sacraments, as well as a good selection of contemporary and traditional praters; Merton's Seven Story Mountain; and some recent enyclicals, such as the Gospel of Life. I think it's important to try to strike a balance between theology, devotional reading and prayer books.

-- Anonymous, June 16, 1998

Martha hit on some very good books, especially "The Imitation of Christ"- St. Therese of Lisieux's favorite book. In addition, read "Theology and Sanity" by Frank Sheed, "The Story of a Soul" by St. Therese of Lisieux and "The Incredible Catholic Mass" by Fr. Martin von Cochem.

-- Anonymous, July 03, 1998

I read Ronald Knox's 'The Belief of Catholics' as an evangelical Protestant, went into our local Catholic church to see how much had changed since the pre-Vatican II days since he's written it, encounted the Blessed Sacrament being exposed for adoration, and ended up being received into the Church this Easter. Definitely a book to recommend...

-- Anonymous, July 06, 1998

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