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Book Recommendations for Investigating the Catholic Faith
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Author:  Bonaventure [ Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Book Recommendations for Investigating the Catholic Faith

This list will be divided into sections for beginners and for those who are more advanced. The intermediate/Advanced section will also include works in apologetics. The Beginners recommendations will mostly be comprised of books for those that simply want to know more about the faith.

This list will also try to cover as many subjects as possible, but of course it cannot be comprehensive. Wherever there is an online text of the book, it will be provided. Feel free to pm me with questions on any book. This is most likely a work in progress, so there will be additions in the future.


-Revised Standard Version
-Douay Rheims Version
-New American Bible

#General works on the Catholic Faith#

-The Catechism of the Catholic Church Online Text
-The Catechism of the Council of Trent Online Text
-Baltimore Catechism #4 Online Text

-Theology for Beginners by Frank Sheed
-The Spirit of Catholicism by Karl Adam Online Text
-The Belief of Catholics by Ronald Knox
-Catholicism for Dummies by by John Trigilio and Kenneth Brighenti
-Unabridged Christianity by Father Mario Romero
-Chief Truths of the Faith by Father John Laux
-"The Faith of Our Fathers" by James Cardinal Gibbons
-Radio Replies by Fathers Rumble and Carty
-Faith of Our Fathers by Cardinal Gibbons

#Mary and the Saints#

-Introduction to Mary by Mark Miravalle Full text online. (This book does have one or two references to Medjugorje, but other than that it is excellent)
-The Catholic Answer Book of Mary Stravinskas, Peter M. J. Stravinskas (Editor)
-The Rosary of Our Lady by Romano Guardini
-Hail Holy Queen by Scott Hahn
-The World's First Love by Fulton J. Sheen
-Any Friend of God's is a Friend of Mine by Patrick Madrid
-Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer) by Pope John Paul II Online Text

#Spirituality and Prayer#
-Holiness for Beginners by Dom Hubert Van Zeller
-Prayer Primer by Father Dubay
-The Blessed Eucharist: Our Greatest Treasure by Michael Muller
-Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Francis de Sales Online Text
-The Imitation of Christ - Thomas a Kempis Online text
-The Sinner's Guide - Ven Louis of Granada Full text online.
-The Kiss from the Cross: Saints for Every Kind of Suffering by Ronda De Sola Chervin
-The Happiness of Heaven by J. Boudreau
-Conformity with the Will of God by Saint Alphonsus Liguori Online text (fixed)
-Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux (there are many editions of this work
-Suffering: The Catholic Answer by Dom Hubert Van Zeller
-The How-To Book of Sacramentals: Everything You Need to Know But No One Ever Taught You by Ann Ball
-Devotion to the Sacred Heart by Fr. John Croiset Full text online.

#Scripture and Biblical Commentaries# (Same as Advanced)

-Making Senses out of Scripture by Mark Shea
-Ignatius Bible Study (Most of the New Testament has been done already)
-Navarre Scripture Commentary (Almost the whole Bible finished)
-Where we got the Bible by Rev Henry Graham
-Saint John's Gospel by Stephen Ray
-How to Read the Bible by Catholic Answers
-Back to the Bible by Cuthbert Lattey
-Introduction to the Bible by Father John Laux
-Inside the Bible by Fr. Kenneth Baker
-"You Can Understand the Bible" by Peter Kreeft
-A General Introduction to Holy Scripture by A. E. Breen
-Holy People, Holy Land: A Theological Introduction to the Bible by Matthew Levering and Michael Dauphinais


-A HISTORY OF THE CHURCH To the Eve of the Reformation by Philip Hughes Online Text
-The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils Online Text
-History of Christendom Series by Warren Carroll (Multi-volume history of the Church)
-Church History by Father John Laux
-Henri Daniel-Rops History of the Church (There are numerous volumes all with different titles)
-The Making of Europe by Christopher Dawson

#Church Fathers/Patristics#

-The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers by Mike Aquilina
-Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words by Rod Bennett
-The Teachings of the Church Fathers by John Randolph Willis (Editor), M. J. Rouet De Journel (Editor)
-Ecclesiastical History by Eusebius Online Text
-One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic: The Early Church Was the Catholic Church by Kenneth D. Whitehead
-Drinking from the Hidden Fountain: A Patristic Breviary : Ancient Wisdom for Today's World (Cistercian Studies, No 148) by Tomas Spidlik

#Conversion Stories#
-Crossing the Tiber by Stephen Ray
-Rome Sweet Home Scott and Kimberly Hahn
-Surprised by Truth: 11 Converts Give the Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic by Patrick Madrid
-Classic Catholic Converts by Charles Connor
-Prodigal Daughters: Catholic Women Come Home to the Church by Donna Steichen
-There We Stood, Here We Stand : Eleven Lutherans Rediscover Their Catholic Roots by Timothy Drake
-Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief by Joseph Pearce
-Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David B. Currie
-Lead, Kindly Light: My Journey To Rome by Thomas Howard
-Welcome Home!: Stories of Fallen-Away Catholics Who Came Back N Returned by St. Joseph Communications
-Before the Dawn by Eugenio Zolli
-When Only One Converts by Lynn Nordhagen
-Conversion of Ratisbonne by Marie Bussierre

#Eucharist and Sacraments#

-The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You by Michael Dubriel
-The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Scott Hahn
-The Blessed Eucharist: Our Greatest Treasure by Michael Muller
-This Is My Body : An Evangelical Discovers The Real Presence by Mark P. Shea
-With Us Today : On the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist by John A. Hardon
-God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

#Important Papal Documents and Church declarations (including Curial Documents)

-Humanae Vitae Online Text
-Orientale Lumen Online Text
-Rerum Novarum Online Text
-Humani Generis Online Text
-Donum Vitae RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE Online Text
-Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) Online Text
-Council of Trent on Justification
-Lamentabili Sane Syllabus against the Modernists Online Text
-Mediator Dei. On the Sacred Liturgy. Online Text
-Musicae Sacrae. On Sacred Music Online Text
-Redemptonis Sacramentum Online Text
-Familiaris Consortio Online Text
-Fides et Ration Online Text
-Casti Conubii Online Text
-Sapientiae Christinae Online Text
-Declaration on certain questions concerning sexual ethics (Persona Humana) [url=Persona humana]Online Text[/url]
-Catholics in Political Life Online Text
-Declaration on Euthanasia Online Text
-Declaration on Masonic Associations Online Text

-The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Scott Hahn
-Worthy is the Lamb -Thomas Nash
-Evangelical Is Not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament by Thomas Howard
-The Spirit of the Liturgy by Cardinal Ratzinger
-Feast of Faith by Cardinal Ratzinger
-How Christ said the First Mass by Father James Meagher
-"Discovering the Mass" by a Monk of the Traditional Benedictine Abbey of Le Barroux
-Evangelical Is Not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament by Thomas Howard
-The Incredible Catholic Mass by Father Martin Von Cochem

#Lives of the Saints#
-Modern Saints Volumes 1 and 2 by Ann Ball
-Saints for Now by Clare Booth Luce
-Butler's Lives of the Saints
-Little Lives of the Great Saints by John Murray
-The Incorruptibles by Joan Carroll Cruz
-Heroes of God: Eleven Courageous Men and Women Who Risked Everything to Spread the Catholic Faith by Henri Daniel-Rops
-Dominican Saints by the Dominicans
-Ordinary Suffering of Extradionary Saints by Vincent O'Malley
-Early Christian Lives (Penguin Classics)

-All About the Angels by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan
-Angels and Demons by Peter Kreeft
-Angels and Devils by Joan Carroll Cruz
-Angels and Their Mission by Jean Danielou

-Three to get Married by Fulton Sheen
-Marriage: The Mystery of Faithful Love by Dietrich Von Hildebrand
-The Family for Families by Francis Filas

-"Hooked on Philosophy: Thomas Aquinas Made Easy"
by Robert A. O'Donnell
-"Aristotle for Everyone: by Mortimer J Adler
-"Six Great Ideas" by Mortimer J Adler
-Philosophy 101 by Socrates by Peter Kreeft
-Introduction to Philosophy by Jacques Maritain

-Life of Christ by Fulton Sheen
-To Know Christ Jesus by Frank Sheed
-Catholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life by William E. May
-The Lord by Romano Guardini
-Our Moral Life In Christ - a Complete Course (Didache Series)
-How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods Jr
-Encyclopedia Of Catholic Devotions And Practices by Ann Ball
-Catholic Traditions In The Home And Classrooms by Ann Ball
-Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary Online Text
-Understanding the Trinity- John Arendzen
-101 Questions and Answers on the Eastern Catholic Churches-by Edward P. Faulk

Intermediate and Advanced


-”The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” by Ludwig Ott
-”The Sources of Catholic Dogma” by Denzinger
-”The Shape of Catholic Theology” by Aidan Nichols
-”Introduction to Christianity” by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
-”Theology and Sanity” by Frank Sheed
-"A Systematic Study of the Catholic Religion by Charles Coppens online text
-The Compendium of Theology by Thomas Aquinas


-“Not by Faith Alone” by Robert Sungenis
-”The Salvation Controversy” by Jimmy Akin
-”The Theological Virtues: Volume 1: Faith” by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange
-”History and Theology of Grace” by Father John Hardon
-”Predestination” by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange
-”Grace, Predestination, and the Salvific Will of God” by Father William Most Online Text
“Curs De Homo” by Saint Anselm of Canterbury
-Grace by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange Online Text


-“The Mother of the Savior” by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange
-”All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed” by Stefano Minelli
-”Mary in the Church Today” edited by Father Bill McCarthy (This is a collection of Marian documents from Pope Paul VI, Pope JPII, Vatican II, and the Catechism.
-“Mary and the Fathers of the Church” by Luigi Gambero.
-“Mary in the Middle Ages” by Luigi Gambero.
-”Mary in Our Life” by William Most Online Text

#Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium#

-”Jesus, Peter, and the Keys” by Butler, Dahlgren, and Hess
-”The Meaning of Tradition” by Yves Congar
-”Not by Scripture Alone” by Robert Sungenis
-”An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine” John Henry Newman Online Text
-Tradition and the Church by George Agius
-Catena Aurea by Thomas Aquinas
-The Literal Exposition on Job: A Commentary Concerning Providence by Thomas Aquinas
-The Thought of Saint Paul by William G Most online text
-Free from all error by William G Most Online Text

#Conversion Stories#

-”The Confessions” by Saint Augustine Full text online.
-”Apologia Pro Vita Sua” by John Henry Newman Online Text

#Moral Theology#

-“Right and Reason” Austin Fagothey
-”Marriage and the Family in the documents of the Magisterium” by Ramon Garcia de Haro
-”Enchiridion on the Family” by The Pontifical Council for Family ( This is a collection of Church Documents)
-”Why Humanae Vitae was Right: A Reader” edited by Janet Smith
-”Introduction to Moral Theology” by William E. May
-"Four Cardinal Virtues" by Josef Pieper
-"Love and Responsibility by Pope John Paul II"
-Catholic Morality-John Laux


-"Summa of the Summa" by Peter Kreeft
-"Orthodoxy" by G.K. Chesterton
-"Josef Pieper: An Anthology" by Josef Pieper
-Scholasticism: Problems and Personalities in Medieval Philosophy
-History of Philosophy by Frederick Copleston (9 Volume series from early Greek to Modern philosophy)
-Aquinas by Frederick Copleston
-The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy by Etienne Gilson
-Saint Thomas Aquinas by Jacques Maritain Online Text
-Introduction to Phenomenology by Robert Sokolowski
-The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas Edited by Eleonore Stump and Norman Kretzmann
-A Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli

#Liturgy and the Holy Eucharist#

-"A Pope and a Council on the Sacred Liturgy" by Aidan Nichols
-"The Mass" by Adrian Fortescue
-"Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist" Abbot Vonier
-"The Hidden Manna" James T O'Connor
-"Not by Bread Alone" by Robert Sungenis
-"The Mass and Modernity" by Jonathan Robinson
-"The History and Future of the Roman Liturgy" by Denis Crouan
-"Looking at the Liturgy: A Critical View of Its Contemporary Form" by Aidan Nichols

#Patristics and Church Fathers

-Patrology Volumes 1-4 by Johannes Quasten
-The Faith of the Early Fathers by William Jurgens
-Early Christian Doctrines by J.N.D Kelly
-Early Christian Creeds by J.N.D Kelly
-The Apostolic Fathers by J.B Lightfoot (there are many version of the apostolic Fathers available)
-City of God by Saint Augustine
-On the Incarnation by Saint Athanasius


-"Trial, Tribulation & Triumph: Before, During, and After Antichrist" by Desmond A. Birch
-"Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life (Dogmatic Theology, Vol 9)" by Cardinal Ratzinger
-"Rapture: The End-Times Error That Leaves the Bible Behind" by David B. Currie
-"Life Everlasting and the Immensity of the Soul" Father Garrigou-Lagrange


-"The Fire Within" by Thomas Dubay
-"Christian Spirituality in the Catholic Tradition" by Jordan Aumann Online Text
-"The Spirituality of the Christian East" by Thomas Spidlik
-"The Way of Salvation and Perfection" by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
-"Transformation in Christ" by Dietrich Von Hildebrand
-The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life by Father Garrigou-Lagrange Online Text
-Christ the Life of the Soul by Dom Columba Marmion
-The Dialogue of Saint Catherine of Sienna
-Diary of Saint Fautina
-The Spiritual Combat by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli
-The Autobiography of Saint Theresa of Avila
-The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology by Adolphe Tanquerey
-Divine Intimacy by Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen

Author:  Defensor Fidei [ Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:12 am ]
Post subject: 

Not sure where it fits in, but the 8 book set and Bible Cheat Sheet from Jim Burnham's is some great material.

Author:  SlowButFaithful [ Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:25 am ]
Post subject: 

How would you rate Jurgens' book on the Church Fathers against the Patristics you list here? I'm not familiar with some of these.

Author:  Bonaventure [ Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:18 pm ]
Post subject: 

Jurgens is very good. He will be in the advanced/intermediate section that is coming next :)

The ones I have listed here are much shorter than Jurgens (which is a 3 volume work). Hence why I recommended them for newbies.

If you are looking for something similar to Jurgens, but shorter; The Teachings of the Church Fathers by John Randolph Willis (Editor), M. J. Rouet De Journel (Editor), would be what you are looking for. Its a one volume work with extracts from the Fathers.

Author:  juststartn [ Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:41 pm ]
Post subject: 

Bonnie Blue Buffy Aussie Venture (whoever you are this week..:)).

Perhaps something on the NFP would be good? Because I know we ladies get some questions about that. If so, I would recommend Kimberly Hahn's Life-Giving Love. I know that there are more out there, but that is one of the most recent ones I have read, from the Catholic perspective (there are plenty out there with the Protestant, though)

Just a thought...


Author:  Bonaventure [ Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:50 pm ]
Post subject: 

Bonnie Blue Buffy Aussie Venture (whoever you are this week..:)).


That is an excellent suggestion. I sent you a pm.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Fri Jan 13, 2006 4:08 pm ]
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Faith of the Fathers, by Cardinal Gibbons. Surprisingly, it's not online anywhere that I know of.

Author:  MaraTom [ Sat Jan 14, 2006 10:46 am ]
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Wow!! Will I live long enough to read them all? :mrgreen:

Author:  Bonaventure [ Wed Jan 18, 2006 9:35 pm ]
Post subject: 

Updated with more books and an advanced/intermediate section.

Author:  SlowButFaithful [ Fri Jan 20, 2006 8:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

You know Bon, one area that's not on your list, but I'm growing to find more and more important is a reference to help understand Jewish history and theology. Without it, the context for some of Christ's parables and certainly for understanding underlying messages in prophetic writing in (for example) Daniel or Revelation is nearly impossible.

I've relied pretty heavily on Stephen here at DCF in some of these areas.

Any suggestions to study on our own?

Author:  FriendofAugustine [ Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:47 am ]
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I haven't found it yet, but my dear separated sister says that Essay by JHCN can be found online as well....

God Bless,

Author:  Bonaventure [ Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:42 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for reminding me.

All of Newman's Works can be found here

I'll have to update the list later.

Author:  me3rd [ Sat Apr 15, 2006 9:01 pm ]
Post subject: 

RE: the Radio Replies series.

While these are my absolute favorites in real answers to real questions... Obi Wan pointed out to me that they are slightly dated in church law. They are dead on track for doctrine... but some other disciplinary things might be incorrect now.

Author:  Aingeal [ Wed May 03, 2006 2:19 am ]
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Seriously, a good book to read to learn about the catholic faith was the one the priest gave me from the church here. "Catholicism for Dummies". No lie.

Author:  Bonaventure [ Mon May 29, 2006 4:40 pm ]
Post subject: 

I have added some things to the list recently if anyone is interested.

Author:  Quo Vadis [ Mon May 29, 2006 5:09 pm ]
Post subject: 

The unabridged Bible by several authors and edited by the Holy Spirit.

Author:  Closet Catholic [ Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

Question for the norwegian/scandinavian users (i'll write in in English, because somebody else might be alble to anwer me):

Is there any good catholic bibles in norwegian, danish or swedish? I allready have the 1968 new testament in norwegian.


Author:  Adonais [ Wed Jun 14, 2006 6:23 pm ]
Post subject: 

I don't know if it's still in print, but Fr. John Hardon's A Catholic Catechism is an excellent resource. When I took Intro. to Theology in college (back in the '80s), it was our textbook. I still think it's more readable in some places than the official Catechism, and it also gives the reader some of the history of how certain doctrines developed over the years. As my professor (whose name some of you would know if I dropped it) said, "it's more than a catechism."

Author:  Whit [ Tue Jun 27, 2006 9:02 pm ]
Post subject: 


The book "Catholicism for Dummies" is that the one that Fr. Trigilio from EWTN co-authored? I'm glad to hear you recommend it...that might be the push I need to get it!

I can heartily recommend "The Incorruptibles" by Joan Carroll Cruz. I bought it >20 yr ago and it's a fascinating read. I also have her book "Miraculous Images of Our Lady"; also very interesting.


Author:  Italianblend [ Tue Aug 15, 2006 6:38 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi, I posted in the Lyceum but I didn't know about this thread.

Any recommendations for an easy read book (I tend to get disinterested in long books). I've been catholic all my life so I don't want something for non-catholics. Something inspirational, perhaps about the sacraments? Or something to rekindle that occasional loss of flame for prayer and the faith? Thanks.

PS: Please dont' give me any sappy inspirational blah blah :wink:

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