A Reading List, Part II

In Catholic, Christianity, Reading Lists on February 21, 2009 at 6:49 pm

In a previous post, A Reading List, Part I, I promised a list of secondary sources that proved helpful to me.  This list is longer and more subjective than the first. Even so, many more fine books might be included. All I can say is that, on my pilgrimage and given the questions I had, these books were sturdy companions.  “Taste and see” (Psalm 34:8).

  • Letters to a Young Catholic, George Weigel. Mentioned to me by my sister. Very much worth reading, for more than the chapter on St. Mary’s. This was among the first books that pointed to the immense richness of the Catholic Church.
  • Catholic & ChristianAlan Schreck. The very first book about Catholicism I purchased.  Still one of the most helpful short works I’ve read.
  • Evangelical is Not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament, Thomas Howard. I could not imagine (until I read Howard) anyone writing so graciously, so well, about his journey to the Church. I am grateful for the love and respect he expresses for his own biblical, evangelical background.
  • Magnificat, Fr. Peter John Cameron, Editor.  A helpful guide to daily prayer and Scripture reading, as well as texts used in daily Mass.  Liturgical Calendar appears on the inside front cover.  The daily readings selected by the editor have prompted many hours of richly blessed meditation.  This is a monthly subscription publication, but single copies should be available at your Catholic bookstore.
  • On Being Catholic, Thomas Howard. “We are ceremonial creatures,” Howard asserts. An invaluable book, with chapters ranging from “Glad Tidings” and “Is Man Religious?” to “Are Catholics Saved?” “Hiddenness” was a very special chapter.
  • Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, George Weigel. Highly recommended. Although lengthy, it is perhaps the best comprehensive introduction to the Church, to John Paul II, and to the years 1978-2005 one could ask for.
  • Theology of the Body Explained, Christopher West.  George Weigel says John Paul’s theology of the body will be one among the key contributions of his Papacy, though it may take decades to be appreciated. From Weigel’s foreword: “Some will, no doubt, find it odd that the Catholic Church takes human sexuality far more seriously than the editors of Playboy and Cosmopolitan. But that’s the plain truth of the matter.”
  • The Courage to Be Catholic, George Weigel.  For those concerned about the sexual and financial scandals in the Church.  From Weigel’s introduction: “Like every Christian community, the Catholic Church is a Church of sinners . . . The trauma of the Catholic Church in the United States in 2002 will become an opportunity to deepen and extend the reforms of Vatican II if the Church becomes more Catholic, not less—if the Church rediscovers the courage to be Catholic” (italics mine).  
  • Theology and Sanity, Frank Sheed. Tremendously helpful passages include his explanation (to the extent we even can begin to explain) of the Trinity; his description of God being outside time; his analysis of man as both matter and spirit all were extraordinary—as was his continual emphasis that living sanely means living in reality, and reality is both seen and unseen.

 To keep this post as compact as possible, I have included annotations about each book, but not full bibliographic citations.  For additional information, or if you have difficulty finding one of these books, email me at the address shown under Welcome, at the bottom of the copyright notice.

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