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Recommended Catholic Books (Six Lists)

Recommended Catholic Books (Six Lists) January 26, 2021

These were all formerly posted on my blog, with some moved to Facebook only. Now they are all restored to my blog again. The categories and original dates are listed below:

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I. Recommended Books For Catholic Teens and Young People [11-13-05]

II. Recommended Catholic Apologetic and Historical Books [1-13-07]

III. Top 50 Recommendations for Catholic Apologetics Books [6-4-07]

IV. Recommended Books For New or Prospective Catholic Converts [11-26-07]

V. Recommended Catholic Scholarly Works on Tradition, Soteriology, and the Eucharist [6-25-08]

VI. Desert Island Top Ten Catholic Books List [6-2-09]

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I. Recommended Books For Catholic Teens and Young People

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I was asked about this today. The book that readily came to mind was Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons?: And 199 Other Questions from Catholic Teenagers by Matthew Pinto (an acquaintance of mine). Also, he has another related book: Did Jesus Have a Last Name? And 199 Other Questions from Catholic Teenagers.
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The other Catholic writer for teenagers I know about (and also know a bit personally) is Amy Welborn, a terrific writer. She has written several books in a series called Prove It! . . . (designed for readers about 12 and older). Here they are:
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Prove It! God
Prove It! Jesus
Prove It!: Church
Prove It! Prayer
Prove It! the Catholic Teen Bible – NAB
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Also, from my own writing, The New Catholic Answer Bible (NAB) would be good, I think, for teenagers. It offers 88 one-page inserts which give a capsule summary of arguments regarding all the major apologetic / theological topics, with biblical support and references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Half were written by Paul Thigpen and half by myself (the original Catholic Answer Bible included only my inserts).
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Although I don’t try to write specifically for teenagers (I make little attempt to simplify anything, for better or ill), and my writing is probably most suitable for those with a high school education and/or a bit of prior theological education (by that I mean Sunday School, catechism, Bible study groups, good Catholic teaching at home, several books on theology read, etc.) — some folks regard it even as “semi-academic” –, it seems like a lot of those in their late teens and early 20s visit my blog.
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Other books I found for teenagers and/or “young people” while looking at the above pages and surfing around Amazon’s various “lists” and so forth, are:
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Father McBride’s Teen Catechism: Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Alfred McBride)
Teen Guide to the Bible (Alfred McBride)
Ask the Bible Geek: Answers to Questions from Catholic Teens (Mark Hart)
If You Really Loved Me: 100 Questions on Dating, Relationships and Sexual Purity (Jason Evert)
Real Love: Answers to Your Questions on Dating, Marriage and the Real Meaning of Sex (Mary Beth Bonacci)
We’re On a Mission from God: The Generation X Guide to John Paul II, The Catholic Church and the Real Meaning of Life (Mary Beth Bonacci)
The International Student Bible For Catholics Where Straight Answers Are Standard Procedure
Letters to a Young Catholic (Art of Mentoring) (George Weigel)
The Catholic Youth Bible: New Revised Standard Version : Catholic Edition (Brian Singer-Towns)
For younger children, more books are listed in Rich Leonardi’s guide, So you’d like to… Hand on the Catholic Faith to Your Children

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II. Recommended Catholic Apologetic and Historical Books 

Everything we read stimulates our mind to think, and what we think determines what we desire, and desires are the seedbed of our actions. Given this iron law of human nature — from reading to thinking, to desiring, to acting — we are shaping our destiny by the ideas we choose to have enter our minds through print . . . Common sense, not to say enlightened prudence, tells us we must be selective. The secret is to know what to read. — Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan 

1) CATHOLIC DOCTRINE AND BELIEFS

Adam, Karl, The Spirit of Catholicism (perhaps the best book written about the Catholic Church in the 20th century. Must reading for Catholic and non-Catholic alike), tr. Justin McCann, rev. ed., Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1954 (orig. 1924), 260p.
Denzinger, Henry, Enchiridion Symbolorum, 13th ed., tr. Roy J. Deferrari, St. Louis: B. Herder Books, 1957.
Fournier, Keith A., Evangelical Catholics, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990, 223p.
Gibbons, James Cardinal, The Faith of Our Fathers, NY: P. J. Kenedy & Sons, rev. ed., 1917, 352p.
Guardini, Romano, The Faith and Modern Man, tr. Charlotte E. Forsyth, NY: Pantheon Books, 1952, 166p.
Howard, Thomas, Hallowed be This House, Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1976, 128p.
Howard, Thomas, On Being Catholic, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997, 263p.
Keating, Karl, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1988, 360p.
Knox, Ronald, The Belief of Catholics, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1927, 198p.
Kreeft, Peter, Fundamentals of the Faith, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988, 300p.
Kreeft, Peter, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990, 269p.
Kreeft, Peter, Angels (and Demons), San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995, 157p.
O’Brien, John A., The Faith of Millions, Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., rev. 1974, 438p.
Ott, Ludwig, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, tr. Patrick Lynch, Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1974 (orig. 1952 in German), 544p.
Premm, Matthias, Dogmatic Theology for the Laity, tr. David Heimann, Rockford, IL: TAN Books and Pub., 1977 (orig. 1967), 456p.
Ryan, Kenneth & J.D. Conway, eds., What Would You Like to Know About the Catholic Church?, St. Paul, MN: Carillon Books, 1976, 320p.
Ryan, Kenneth, What More Would You Like to Know About the Church?, St. Paul, MN: Carillon Books, 1978, 261p.
Schreck, Alan, Catholic and Christian, Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1984, 232p.
Scott, Martin J., Things Catholic Are Asked About, NY: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1927, 268p.
Sheed, Frank J., Theology For Beginners, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1957, 241p.
Stravinskas, Peter M.J., ed., Catholic Encyclopedia, Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1991.
Trese, Leo J., The Faith Explained, Chicago: Fides Pub. Assoc., 1959, 564p.

2) CATHOLIC CATECHISMS

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Liguori, MO: Liguori Publications, 1994, 803 pp.
Catechism of the Council of Trent, tr. John A. McHugh & Charles J. Callan, NY: Joseph F. Wagner, 2nd rev. ed., 1936 (orig. 1566), 603p. See on the Internet: The Nazareth Master Catechism (side-by-side comparisons including Baltimore, Trent, Pius X, and Aquinas).
German Bishops Conference, The Church’s Confession of Faith: A Catholic Catechism for Adults, tr. Stephen Wentworth Arndt, ed. Mark Jordan, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1987, 378p.
Hardon, John A., The Catholic Catechism, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975, 623p.
Hardon, John A., Pocket Catholic Catechism, NY: Doubleday Image, 1989, 336p.
Hardon, John A., Pocket Catholic Dictionary, NY: Doubleday Image, 1980, 510p.
Hardon, John A., The Question and Answer Catechism, NY: Doubleday Image, 1981, 334p.
Lawler, Ronald, Donald W. Wuerl, Thomas C. Lawler, eds., The Teaching of Christ: A Catholic Catechism for Adults, Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1976, 640p.
Schreck, Alan, Basics of the Faith: A Catholic Catechism, Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1987, 348p.

3) CATHOLIC APOLOGETICS (DEFENSES OF CATHOLICISM)

Armstrong, Dave, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2003 (completed in 1996), 297p.
Armstrong, Dave, More Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, AuthorHouse, 2002, 173p.
Armstrong, Dave, The Catholic Verses, Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2003, 235p.
Armstrong, Dave, The One-Minute Apologist, Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2007.
Armstrong, Dave & Paul Thigpen, The New Catholic Answer Bible, Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2005, 1394p [with 88 apologetic inserts on as many topics].
Chesterton, G.K., Orthodoxy, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1959 (orig. 1908), 160p.
Chesterton, G.K., The Everlasting Man, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1955 (orig. 1925), 274p.
Conway, Bertrand L., The Question Box, NY: Paulist Press, 1929, 467p.
Conway, Bertrand L., The Question Box, NY: All Saints Press, rev. ed., 1962, 463p.
St. Francis de Sales, The Catholic Controversy, tr. Henry B. Mackey, Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1989 (orig. 1596), 413p.
Gibbons, James Cardinal, Our Christian Heritage, Baltimore: John Murphy Co., 1889, 523p.
Graham, Henry G., Where We Got the Bible, St. Louis: B. Herder, 2nd ed., 1924, 153p.
Hahn, Scott, The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth, NY: Doubleday, 1999, 174p.
Keating, Karl, What Catholics Really Believe, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992, 155p.
Kreeft, Peter & Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994.
Madrid, Patrick, Any Friend of God’s is a Friend of Mine, San Diego: Basilica Press, 1996, 123p.
Mirus, Jeffrey A., ed., Reasons For Hope, Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, rev. ed., 1982, 254p.
Most, William G., Catholic Apologetics Today, Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1986, 272p.
Novak, Michael, Confession of a Catholic, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983, 221p.
Ray, Steve, Crossing the Tiber, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997, 285p.
Shea, Mark P., By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition, Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1996, 192p.
Shea, Mark P., This is My Body: An Evangelical Discovers the Real Presence, Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1993, 64p.
Shea, Mark P., Making Senses Out of Scripture, San Diego: Basilica Press, 1999, 262p.
Sheed, Frank J., Theology and Sanity, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1946, 407p.
Sheed, Frank J. & Maisie Ward, Catholic Evidence Training Outlines, Ann Arbor, MI: Catholic Evidence Guild, 1992 (orig. 1939), 362p.
Stravinskas, Peter M.J., The Bible and the Mass, Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Pub., 1989, 166p.
Stravinskas, Peter M.J., The Catholic Answer Book, Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1990, 192p.
Stravinskas, Peter M.J., The Catholic Answer Book 2, Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1994, 238p.

4)  BOOKS BY OR ABOUT CATHOLIC CONVERTS

St. Augustine, Confessions, tr. R.S. Pine-Coffin, NY: Penguin, 1961 (orig. 398 A.D.), 347p. Confessions (tr. E.B. Pusey) available online.
Baram, Robert, ed., Spiritual Journeys, Boston: St. Paul Books & Media, rev. ed., 1988, 436p. [27 conversion stories].
Bouyer, Louis, Newman: His Life and Spirituality, tr. J. Lewis May, NY: Meridian, 1958, 391p.
Chervin, Ronda, ed., Bread From Heaven: Stories of Jews Who Found the Messiah, New Hope, KY: Remnant of Israel, 1994, 189p.
Chesterton, G.K., The Catholic Church and Conversion, NY: Macmillan, 1926, 115p.
Currie, David B., Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995, 215p.
Dulles, Avery, A Testimonial to Grace, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1946, 121p.
Ffinch, Michael, G.K. Chesterton: A Biography, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1986, 369p.
Grodi, Marcus, editor, Journeys Home, Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing, 1997, 316p.
Hahn, Scott and Kimberly, Rome Sweet Home, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993, 210p.
Howard, Thomas, Evangelical is Not Enough, Nashville: Nelson, 1984, 160p.
Howard, Thomas, Lead, Kindly Light, Steubenville, OH: Franciscan University Press, 1994, 88p.
Ker, Ian, John Henry Newman: A Biography, Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1988, 764p.
Knox, Ronald, A Spiritual Aeneid, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1950 ed., 232p.
Knox, Ronald, The Quotable Knox, ed. George J. Marlin, Richard P. Rabatin, & John L. Swan, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996, 227p.
Madrid, Patrick, ed., Surprised by Truth, San Diego: Basilica Press, 1994, 269p. [11 conversion stories, including my own].
Muggeridge, Malcolm, Confessions of A Twentieth-Century Pilgrim, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988, 150p.
Newman, John Henry Cardinal, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1956 (orig. 1864), 440p.
O’Brien, John A., ed., Giants of the Faith, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1957, 358p.
O’Brien, John A., ed., The Road to Damascus, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1949, 230p. [15 conversion stories].
O’Neill, Dan, ed., The New Catholics, NY: Crossroad, 1989, 187p. [17 conversion stories].
Pearce, Joseph, Wisdom & Innocence: A Biography of G.K. Chesterton, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997, 542p.
Stoddard, John L., Rebuilding a Lost Faith, NY: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1922, 234p.
Talbot, John Michael, Changes: A Spiritual Journal, NY: Crossroad, 1984, 138p.
Vanauken, Sheldon, Under the Mercy, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub., 1985, 263p.

5) CATHOLIC HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS AND WRITINGS

St. Thomas Aquinas, Basic Writings, ed. Anton C. Pegis, tr. Laurence Shapcote (1911), 2 vols., NY: Random House, 1945 (orig. 1272), 2276p.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae (orig. 1272).
St. Augustine, The City of God, tr. Gerald G. Walsh et al., abridged ed., Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1958 (orig. 413 A.D.), 551p. The City of God also available online.
Bettenson, Henry, ed., Documents of the Christian Church, London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1947, 457p.
Dogmatic Canons and Decrees, Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1977 (orig. NY: 1912), 257p., [Documents of Councils of Trent and Vatican I, plus Decree on the Immaculate Conception and the Syllabus of Errors of Pope Pius IX].
Flannery, Austin, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Northport, NY: Costello, rev. ed., 1988, 1062p.
Fremantle, Anne, ed., A Treasury of Early Christianity, NY: Mentor, 1953, 511p.
Fremantle, Anne, ed., The Papal Encyclicals, NY: Mentor, 1956, 317p.
Jurgens, William A., ed. and tr., The Faith of the Early Fathers, 3 vols., Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970, 1979, 1178p.
Lightfoot, Joseph B. & J.R. Harmer, tr., The Apostolic Fathers, 2nd Ed., ed. & rev. by Michael W. Holmes, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989 (lst ed. 1891), 347p. Complete, larger set available online.
Neuner, Josef & Jacques Dupuis, eds., The Christian Faith ln the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church, NY: Alba House, 5th rev. ed., 1990, 828p.
Quasten, Johannes, Patrology, 4 vols., Allen, Texas: Christian Classics, 1977, 2071p.
Staniforth, Maxwell, tr., Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers, NY: Penguin, 1968, 237p.

What I have called . . . “chronological snobbery” [is] the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited. You must find out why it went out of date; was it ever refuted (and if so by whom, where and how conclusively) or did it merely die away as fashions do? If the latter, this tells us nothing about its truth or falsehood. From seeing this one passes to the realization that our age is also “a period,” and certainly has, like all periods, its own characteristic illusions. They are likeliest to lurk in those widespread assumptions which are so ingrained in the age that no one dares to attack or feels it necessary to defend them.  — C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy

6) HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: OVERVIEWS

Belloc, Hilaire, Europe and the Faith, Rockford, IL: TAN Books & Pub., 1992 (orig. 1920), 191p.
Belloc, Hilaire, The Catholic Church and History, NY: Macmillan, 1927, 109p.
Chapman, John, Bishop Gore and the Catholic Claims, London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1905, 124p.
Civardi, Luigi, How Christ Changed the World, tr. Sylvester Andriano, Rockford, IL: TAN Books & Pub., 1991 (orig. 1961), 111p.
Farrow, John, Pageant of the Popes, NY: Sheed & Ward, rev. 1950, 396p.
Grandi, Domenico & Antonio Galli, The Story of the Church, tr. John Chapin, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1960, 358p.
Hughes, Philip, A Popular History of the Catholic Church, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1949, 309p. Related book A History of the Church to the Eve of the Reformation available online.
Hughes, Philip, The Church in Crisis: History of the General Councils, 325-1870, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1961, 438p.
Laux, John, Church History, NY: Benziger Bros., 1930, 621p.
Lortz, Joseph, History of the Church, tr. Edwin G. Kaiser, Milwaukee: Bruce Pub. Co., 1939, 578p.
Luce, Clare Boothe, ed., Saints For Now, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1952, 312p.
Newman, John Henry Cardinal, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, 1845; rev. 1878, Notre Dame, IN: Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 1989, 445p.
Schreck, Alan, The Compact History of the Catholic Church, Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1987, 189p.
Sheed, Frank J., ed., Saints Are Not Sad, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1949, 441p.

7) EARLY CHURCH HISTORY

Adam, Karl, The Son of God, tr. Philip Hereford, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1934, 235p.
Barbet, Pierre, A Doctor at Calvary, tr. Earl of Wicklow, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1950, 213p.
Bruce, F.F., The Canon of Scripture, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988, 349p. [Protestant].
Carroll, Warren H., The Founding of Christendom, (A History of Christendom, vol.1), Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1985, 605p.
Carroll, Warren H., The Building of Christendom, (vol.2), Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1987, 618p.
Daniel-Rops, Henri, Jesus and His Times, tr. Ruby Millar, NY: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1954, 615p.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, tr. G.A. Williamson, Baltimore: Penguin, 1965 (orig. c.325 A.D.), 429p.
Guardini, Romano, The Lord, tr. Elinor C. Briefs, Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1954, 535p.
Pelikan, Jaroslav, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine: Vol. 1 of 5: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition, Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1971, 394p., [Lutheran].
Pope, Hugh, St. Augustine of Hippo, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1937, 439p.
Prat, Fernand, The Theology of St. Paul, 2 vols., tr. John L. Stoddard, Westminster, MD: The Newman Bookshop, 1926, 1039p.
Ricciotti, Giuseppe, Paul the Apostle, tr. Alba I. Zizzamia, Milwaukee: Bruce Pub. Co., 1946, 534p.
Sheen, Fulton, Life of Christ, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1958, 476p.
Walsh, William Thomas, Saints in Action, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1961, 359p.
Ward, Maisie, Saints Who Made History, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1959, 377p.
Wilson, Ian, The Shroud of Turin, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, rev. 1979, 320p.

8) CHURCH HISTORY IN THE MIDDLE AGES

Carroll, Warren H., The Glory of Christendom (A History of Christendom, vol. 3), Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1993, 774p.
Chesterton, G.K., St. Francis of Assisi, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1924, 158p.
Chesterton, G.K., Saint Thomas Aquinas: “The Dumb Ox”, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1933, 198p.
Daniel-Rops, Henri, Cathedral and Crusade, vol.1, tr. John Warrington, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1956, 381p.
Dawson, Christopher, Religion and the Rise of Western Culture, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1950, 242p.
Dawson, Christopher, The Historic Reality of Christian Culture, NY: Harper & Row, 1960, 131p.
DeWulf, Maurice, Philosophy and Civilization ln the Middle Ages, NY: Dover, 1922, 312p.
Duggan, Alfred, The Story of the Crusades, Garden city, NY: Doubleday Image, 1963, 240p.
Jorgensen, Johannes, St. Francis of Assisi, tr. T. O’Conor Sloane, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1907, 354p.
Leclercq, Jean, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God, tr. Catharine Misrahi, NY: Mentor Omega, 1961, 336p.
Peters, Edward, Inquisition, Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1989, 362p.
Rand, Edward K., Founders of the Middle Ages, NY: Dover, 1928, 365p.
Walsh, William Thomas, Isabella of Spain, NY: Robert M. McBride & Co., 1930, 515p.
Walsh, William Thomas, Characters of the Inquisition, Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1987 (orig. NY: 1940), 301p.

9) CHURCH HISTORY: 1600 TO THE PRESENT

Ball, Ann, Modern Saints, Rockford, IL: TAN Books & Pub., 1983, 457p.
Belloc, Hilaire, Survivals and New Arrivals, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1929, 288p.
Brodrick, James, Galileo, NY: Harper & Row, 1964, 152p.
Daniel-Rops, Henri, The Church in an Age of Revolution (1789-1879), tr. John Warrington, NY: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1960, 509p.
Janelle, Pierre, The Catholic Reformation, Milwaukee: Bruce Pub. Co., 1963, 311p.
Pope John XXIII, Journal of a Soul, tr. Dorothy White, NY: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1965, 453p.
Hitchcock, James, The Decline and Fall of Radical Catholicism, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1971, 198p.
Kelly, George A., The Crisis of Authority, Chicago: Regnery Gateway, 1982, 115p.
Lapide, Pinchas, Three Popes and the Jews, NY: Hawthorn Books, 1967, 384p. [Jewish].
Martin, Ralph, A Crisis of Truth, Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1982, 245p.
Martin, Ralph, The Catholic Church at the End of an Age, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1994, 309p.
Maynard, Theodore, The Story of American Catholicism, 2 vols., Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1941, 593p.
Muggeridge, Malcolm, Something Beautiful for God, [Mother Teresa], NY: Harper & Row, 1971, 156p.
Neuhaus, Richard John, The Catholic Moment, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, 292p.

There was, in fact, in England and America a type of Catholic whom I always considered to be a “Sheed and Ward” Catholic, because their view of Catholicism was in line with and often influenced by the kind of books Sheed and Ward published . . . The chief characteristics of Sheed and Ward Catholicism were a deep love of the church, which did not preclude a keen awareness of the church’s failings, a keen intellectual interest in the teachings of the church, and a great ability to enjoy the life of faith and the life of reason. — Richard L. Purtill (Catholic philosophy professor), “Chesterton, the Wards, the Sheeds, and the Catholic Revival”

10) PROTESTANTISM AND THE REFORMATION

Adam, Karl, The Roots of the Reformation, tr. Cecily Hastings, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1951 [portion of One and Holy, 1948], 95p.
Belloc, Hilaire, Characters of the Reformation, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1958, 200p.
Belloc, Hilaire, How the Reformation Happened, NY: Robert M. McBride & Co., 1928, 290p.
Bouyer, Louis, The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism, tr. A.V. Littledale, London: Harvill Press, 1956, 284p.
Daniel-Rops, Henri, The Protestant Reformation, vol. 2, tr. Audrey Butler, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1961, 359p.
Dawson, Christopher, The Dividing of Christendom, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1965, 304p.
Grisar, Hartmann, Luther, tr. E.M. Lamond, ed. Luigi Cappadelta, 6 vols., London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1917, 2936p.
Grisar, Hartmann, Martin Luther: His Life and Work, tr. Frank J. Eble, Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1950 (orig. 1930), 609p.
Hughes, Philip, A Popular History of the Reformation, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1957, 313p.
Hughes, Philip, The Reformation in England, NY: Macmillan, 1951, 404p.
Janssen, Johannes, History of the German People From the Close of the Middle Ages, 16 vols., tr. A.M. Christie, St. Louis: B. Herder, 1910 (orig. 1891).
Knox, Ronald, Enthusiasm, Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1950, 622p.
Lortz, Joseph, How the Reformation Came, NY: Herder and Herder, 1964, 115p.
Tavard, Georges, Understanding Protestantism, tr. Rachel Attwater, Glen Rock, NJ: Deus/Century Books, 1963, 120p.

11) EASTERN ORTHODOXY

Attwater, Donald, The Christian Churches of the East, vol.2, Milwaukee: Bruce Pub. Co., 1962.
Congar, Yves, After Nine Hundred Years, NY: Fordham Univ. Press, 1959, 150p.
Daniel-Rops, Henri, The Protestant Reformation, v.1, tr. Audrey Butler, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1963; pt.2: “A Crisis of Unity: Christendom Disintegrates and Loses the East,” pp.80-150.
Dvornik, Francis, The Photian Schism, Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1938.
Englert, Clement C., Catholics and Orthodox: Can They Unite?, NY: Paulist Press, 1961, 127p.
Fortescue, Adrian, The Orthodox Eastern Church, London: Catholic Truth Society, 3rd ed., 1911.
Hardon, John A., Religions of the World, vol.2, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1968, ch.15: “Eastern Orthodoxy,” pp.112-159.
Le Guillou, M.J., The Spirit of Eastern Orthodoxy, tr. Donald Attwater, Glen Rock, NJ: Paulist Press, 1964, 121p.
Soloviev, Vladimir, Russia & the Universal Church, London: Geoffrey Bles, 1948.

One of the surprising features of modern Catholic publication is the role of the laity: their productivity has been phenomenal. There is no comparison on this score with any previous two centuries of the Church’s history. Men of the stature of Maritain, Chesterton, Belloc, and Dawson and women of the rank of Sigrid Undset, Katherine Burton, and Alice Meynell have no counterpart in any two hundred years since the time of Christ. — Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

12) THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Daniel-Rops, Henri, The Book of Mary, tr. Alastair Guinan, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1960 (orig. 1948), 189p.
Delaney, John J., ed., A Woman Clothed With the Sun, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1961, 274p.
Fox, Robert J., Fatima Today, Front Royal, VA: Christendom Publications, 1983, 258p.
Gambero, Luigi, tr. Thomas Buffer, Mary and the Fathers of the Church, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999, 439p.
Graef, Hilda, Mary: A History of Doctrine and Devotion, vol. 1 [to the Reformation], NY: Sheed and Ward, 1963, 371p.
Howell, Kenneth, Mary of Nazareth, Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing, 1998, 126p.
Miravelle, Mark I., editor, Mary: Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate: Theological Foundations, Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing, 1995, 325p.
Most, William G., Mary in Our Life, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1963, 358p.
Sheen, Fulton J., The World’s First Love, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1956, 237p.
Smith, Jody Brant, The Image of Guadalupe, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1983, 173p.
Walsh, William Thomas, Our Lady of Fatima, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1947, 223p.

13) THE PAPACY

von Balthasar, Hans Urs, The Office of Peter and the Structure of the Church, tr. Andree Emery, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986 (orig. 1974), 358p.
Butler, B.C., The Church and Infallibility, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1954, 229p.
Butler, Scott, Norman Dahlgren, & David Hess, Jesus, Peter & the Keys, Santa Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing Co., 1996, 431p.
Chapman, John, Studies on the Early Papacy, London: Sheed & Ward, 1928, 238p.
D’Ormesson, Wladimir, The Papacy, tr. Michael Derrick, NY: Hawthorn Books, 1959.
Jaki, Stanley, And On This Rock, Manassas, VA: Trinity Communications, 2nd ed., 1987, 128p.
Jaki, Stanley, The Keys of the Kingdom, Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1986, 226p.
Madrid, Patrick, Pope Fiction, San Diego: Basilica Press, 1999, 338p.
Ray, Stephen K., Upon This Rock, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999, 331p.
Ripley, Francis J., The Pope: Vicar of Jesus Christ, Dublin: Catholic Truth Society, 1965.
Rivington, Luke, The Primitive Church & the See of Peter, London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1894.
Walsh, John Evangelist, The Bones of St. Peter, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1985, 195p.

14) MARRIAGE, GENDER, AND THE FAMILY

Bouyer, Louis, Women in the Church, tr. Marilyn Teichert, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1979.
Boyle, John F., ed., Creative Love: The Ethics of Human Reproduction, Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1989, 251p.
Chervin, Ronda, Feminine, Free, & Faithful, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986, 143p.
Ford, John C., Germain Grisez, Joseph Boyle, John Finnis, & William E. May, The Teaching of Humanae Vitae: A Defense, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1988, 219p.
von Hildebrand, Dietrich, Man and Woman, Chicago: Franciscan herald Press, 1965.
von Hildebrand, Dietrich, Marriage, Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 1984 (orig. 1942), 68p.
Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio (On the Family), Apostolic Exhortation, Washington, D.C.: United States Catholic Conference, December 15, 1981, 93p.
Pope John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), Apostolic Letter, Boston: St. Paul Books and Media, August 1988, 111p.
Kippley, John F. & Sheila K., The Art of Natural Family Planning, Cincinnati: Couple to Couple League, Int., 3rd ed., 1987, 253p.
Suenens, Leon-Joseph Cardinal, Love and Control, tr. George J. Robinson, Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, rev. 1962, 200p.

15) CATHOLIC PHILOSOPHY AND MORAL THEOLOGY

Copleston, Frederick C., Aquinas, Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1955, 263p.
Copleston, Frederick C., Medieval Philosophy, NY: Harper & Bros., 1952, 194p.
Fremantle, Anne, ed., The Social Teachings of the Church, NY: Mentor-Omega, 1963, 320p.
Gilson, Etienne, Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1938, 114p.
Gilson, Etienne, Elements of Christian Philosophy, NY: Mentor-Omega, 1960, 380p.
Gilson, Etienne, The Spirit of Thomism, NY: Harper & Row, 1964, 125p.
Howard, Thomas, Chance or the Dance?, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1969, 150p.
Johnson, Paul, Intellectuals, NY: Harper & Row, 1988, 384p.
Kreeft, Peter, Back to Virtue, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995, 200p.
Kreeft, Peter, Christianity for Modern Pagans, [commentary on Pascal’s Pensees], San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993, 341p.
Kreeft, Peter, Making Sense Out of Suffering, Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1986, 184p.
Laux, John, Catholic Morality, Rockford, IL: TAN Books & Pub., 1990 (orig. 1934), 164p.
Pope Leo XIII, The Church Speaks to the Modern World, ed. Etienne Gilson, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1954, 348p.
Maritain, Jacques, The Range of Reason, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1942, 227p.
Maritain, Jacques, Moral Philosophy, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1960, 468p.
Murray, John Courtney, We Hold These Truths, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1960, 317p.
Newman, John Henry, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1955 (orig. 1870), 396p.
Sheen, Fulton, God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1925, 351p.

III. Top 50 Recommendations for Catholic Apologetics Books

Ahlquist, Dale, Common Sense 101: Lessons from G.K. Chesterton, Ignatius Press, 2006.

Akin, Jimmy, Mass Confusion, Catholic Answers, 2nd expanded edition, 1999.

Akin, Jimmy, The Salvation Controversy, Catholic Answers, 2001.

Aquilina, Mike, The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers, Our Sunday Visitor, 1999.

Aquilina, Mike, The Mass of the Early Christians, Our Sunday Visitor, 2001.

Armstrong, Dave, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2003.

Armstrong, Dave, The Catholic Verses, Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2004.

Armstrong, Dave, The One-Minute Apologist, Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2007.

Armstrong, Dave & Paul Thigpen, The New Catholic Answer Bible, Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2005.

Benedict XVI, Pope, Jesus of Nazareth, Doubleday, 2007.

Bennett, Rod, Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words, Ignatius Press, 2002.

Currie, David B., Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995.

Currie, David B., Rapture: The End-Times Error That Leaves the Bible Behind, Sophia Institute Press, 2003.

Dubruiel, Michael, The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You, Our Sunday Visitor, 2002.

Hahn, Scott & Leon J. Suprenant, editors, Catholic for a Reason: Scripture and the Mystery of the Family of God, Emmaus Road Publishing, 1998.

Hahn, Scott, The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth, NY: Doubleday, 1999.

Hahn, Scott, Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith, Doubleday, 2007.

Hahn, Scott and Kimberly, Rome Sweet Home, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993.

Hahn, Scott, Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments, Doubleday, 2004.

Howard, Thomas, Evangelical is Not Enough, Nashville: Nelson, 1984.

Howard, Thomas, On Being Catholic, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997.

John Paul II, Pope, Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology Of The Body, Pauline Books & Media, 2006.

Jones, Alex, No Price too High: A Pentecostal Preacher Becomes Catholic, Ignatius Press, 2006.

Keating, Karl, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1988.

Keating, Karl, What Catholics Really Believe, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995.

Kreeft, Peter, Catholic Christianity: A Complete Catechism of Catholic Beliefs Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ignatius Press, 2001.

Kreeft, Peter and Blaise Pascal, Christianity for Modern Pagans: Pascal’s Pensees, Ignatius Press, 1993.

Kreeft, Peter, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven, but Never Dreamed of Asking, Ignatius Press, 1990.

Kreeft, Peter, Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics, Ignatius Press, 1988.

Kreeft, Peter & Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994.

Kreeft, Peter, Making Sense Out of Suffering, Servant Ministries, 1986.

Kresta, Al, Why Are Catholics So Concerned About Sin?: More Answers to Puzzling Questions About the Catholic Church, Servant Publications, 2005.

Kresta, Al, Why Do Catholics Genuflect?: And Answers to Other Puzzling Questions About the Catholic Church, Charis Books, 2001.

Madrid, Patrick, ed., Surprised by Truth, San Diego: Basilica Press, 1994.

Madrid, Patrick, ed., Surprised by Truth 2, Sophia Institute Press, 2000.

Madrid, Patrick, Pope Fiction, San Diego: Basilica Press, 1999.

Madrid, Patrick, Where Is That In the Bible?, Our Sunday Visitor, 1999.

Michuta, Gary G., Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger, Grotto Press, 2007.

Pinto, Matthew J., Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons?: And 199 Other Questions from Catholic Teenagers, Ascension Press; Revised edition, 2003.

Pinto, Matthew J., Did Jesus Have a Last Name? And 199 Other Questions from Catholic Teenagers, Ascension Press, 2005.

Ray, Stephen K., Upon This Rock, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999.

Ray, Steve, Crossing the Tiber, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997.

Schreck, Alan, Catholic and Christian: An Explanation of Commonly Misunderstood Catholic Beliefs, Servant Publications; Rev edition, 2004.

Shea, Mark P., By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition, Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 1996.

Shea, Mark P., Making Senses Out of Scripture, Basilica Press, 1999.

Stravinskas, Peter. M. J., Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia, Our Sunday Visitor; Revised edition, 1998.

Trigilio, John, & Kenneth Brighenti, Catholicism for Dummies, 2003.

Trigilio, John, & Kenneth Brighenti, The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions, Sourcebooks, Inc., 2006.

West, Christopher, Good News About Sex and Marriage: Answers to Your Honest Questions About Catholic Teaching, Servant Publications; Revised edition, 2004.

West, Christopher, Theology Of The Body For Beginners, Ascension Press, 2004.

IV. Recommended Books For New or Prospective Catholic Converts

The following three are all great introductions:
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Catholic and Christian, Alan Schreck
The Spirit of Catholicism, Karl Adam [available online]
Evangelical is Not Enough, Thomas Howard
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For a great analysis of many fundamental Protestant-Catholic differences, see:
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The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism, Louis Bouyer
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As to why we believe our doctrines are more biblical, there is my own book:
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A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (available for $2.99 on my own e-booksite)
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For the crucial Bible and Tradition issue, I recommend Mark Shea’s book, By What Authority?
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And for salvation / faith alone issues, see:
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Biblical Catholic Salvation, Dave Armstrong ($2.99 for the e-book)
The Salvation Controversy, Jimmy Akin and Regis Martin
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For a good book on baptism and the Eucharist, including a conversion story, see Steve Ray’s Crossing the Tiber.
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For questions about the Mass and Catholic liturgical matters, see:
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The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You, Michael Dubruiel
The Bible and the Mass, Peter M.J. Stravinskas
Mass Appeal: The ABCs of Worship, Jimmy Akin
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Also, conversion books are great. Surprised by Truth is a big bestseller, that has helped many people. There were two “sequels” too:
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Surprised by Truth II
Surprised by Truth III
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Anything by Scott Hahn or Pat Madrid or Peter Kreeft or Karl Keating would be good. Catholic radio host Al Kresta has written two very helpful “Q & A” or “FAQ”-type books:
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Why Do Catholics Genuflect?: And Answers to Other Puzzling Questions About the Catholic Church
Why Are Catholics So Concerned About Sin?: More Answers to Puzzling Questions About the Catholic Church
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G. K. Chesterton wrote a book called The Catholic Church and Conversion that is still relevant today [online version]
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His book Orthodoxy also makes for great “introductory” material. [available online]
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Those would be my basic recommendations (hope you’ll excuse the “self-plugs”, but hey, I write my books to try to assist people in answering important questions about the faith).

*

V. Recommended Catholic Scholarly Works on Tradition, Soteriology, and the Eucharist

1) Eucharist and the Mass
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Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger [Pope Benedict XVI], God Is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2003.
Abbot Vonier, A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist, Zaccheus Press, 2003.
James T. O’Connor, The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2nd edition, 2005.
Peter M. J. Stravinskas, The Bible and the Mass, Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Pub., 1989.
Scott Hahn, The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth, New York: Doubleday, 1999.
Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue III: The Eucharist as Sacrifice, 1967.
Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue IV: Eucharist and Ministry, 1970.
*
2) Sola Fide (“Faith Alone”) / Pauline Theology
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Fernand Prat, The Theology of St. Paul, Westminster, Maryland: The Newman Bookshop, 1952 (two volumes).
*
N. T. Wright and James D. G. Dunn [Anglicans] are very helpful, along “catholic” lines, for a study of sola fide, because their conclusions often echo what Catholics have argued for centuries:
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N. T. Wright, Paul: In Fresh Perspective, Fortress Press, 2006.
N. T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: Romans: Chapters 9-16, Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.
N. T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: Galatians and Thessalonians, Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.
James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006.
James D. G. Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, revised edition, 2007.
*
Also, from another Protestant scholar:
*
E. P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1977.
E. P. Sanders, Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1985.
*
Ecumenical Efforts:
*
George A. Lindbeck, Walter Cardinal Kasper, Henry Chadwick, Edward Idris Cardinal Cassidy et al, Justification and the Future of the Ecumenical Movement: The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (Unitas Series), Liturgical Press, 2003.
Justification by Faith Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VII, 1985.
Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification [Lutheran World Federation and Catholic Church], Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000.
Louis Bouyer, The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism, Scepter Publications, 2001 [originally from 1958; discusses both sola Scriptura and sola fide a lot, mostly from a comparative historical perspective]
*
3) Bible, Church, and Tradition Issues:
*
Yves Congar, The Meaning of Tradition, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, God’s Word: Scripture – Tradition – Office, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008.
Avery Cardinal Dulles, Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith, Sapientia Press, 2007.
Hans Urs Von Balthasar, Word and Revelation: Essays in Theology I, Herder & Herder, 1964.
Scott Hahn, Scripture Matters: Essays on Reading the Bible from the Heart of the Church, Emmaus Road, 2003.
J. Francis Stafford, Harold C. Skillrud, and Daniel F. Martensen, Scripture and Tradition: Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue IX (Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue), 1995.
Robert A. Sungenis (editor), Not by Scripture Alone: A Catholic Critique of the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura, Queenship Pub. Co., 1998. [compilation that has several chapters from scholars: Dr. Philip Blosser, my friend Dr. Robert Fastiggi, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, and Fr. Peter Stravinskas]

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VI. Desert Island Top Ten Catholic Books List

All of these have been hugely influential in my own life, and I think they are very important books, that would be of spiritual and educational benefit for anyone (though the Cardinal Newman titles are quite “heavy” reading and not to everyone’s taste). No particular order . . .
*
Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton
Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis
The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism, Louis Bouyer
Evangelical is Not Enough, Thomas Howard
The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis
Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, St. John Henry Cardinal Newman
Christianity for Modern Pagans: Pascal’s Pensees, Blaise Pascal and Peter Kreeft
The Spirit of Catholicism, Karl Adam
An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, St. John Henry Cardinal Newman
St. Thomas Aquinas: “The Dumb Ox“, G. K. Chesterton
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Photo credit: St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), c. 1888. Photo by Herbert Barraud/Henry Guttmann/Getty Images. [public domain]
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