Monday, July 7, 2008

What Are Your Favorite Catholic Books?

If you are looking for The Blogger's Choice Catholic Reading List you have come to the right place!

IMPORTANT NOTE: By special request of some of my students (who are on retreat) -- I have been asked to extend the deadline for entries until Wednesday.


So, read over the list and add any books you would like to see on this list. I will close the entries on Wednesday.

Please add you personal favorites to this list via the com box so we can put together a great Blogger's Choice Catholic Reading List.

We are off to a great start!

painting by, Ignat Bednarik

Of course these must start the list:

  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • New American Bible (NAB) and, of course, the Catholic Bibles of earlier periods in bible translation history:
  • Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition (RSV-CE)
  • Douay-Rheims (the earliest translation from the original Latin)
  • Navarre Bible.
Soutenus says:
Rome Sweet Rome, by Scott Hahn
The Lamb's Supper, by Scott Hahn

Creative Clayer over @ Spirit of Truth says:
Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith, by Scott Hahn
Miracle Hour, by Linda Schubert (a wonderful method of prayer that covers 12 different ways of praying in 5 minute sections)

Joseph the Worker says:
Catholicism and Fundamentalism, by Karl Keating
The Mass of the Early Christians, by Mike Aquilina
History of the Mass, by Robert Cabie
My Life with the Saints, by James Martin
Christ in His Fullness, by Bruce Sullivan
Jesus of Nazareth, by Pope Benedict XVI
Day by Day With the Catechism, by Peter Giersch
Mary Day by Day, edited by Rev. Charles G. Fehrenbach

Sister Mary Martha says:
The Rosary, by Kevin Orlin Johnson

JP says:
The Catholic Passion: Rediscovering the Power and Beauty of the Faith, by David Scott

Scripture Matters, by Scott Hahn
Dictionary of Catholic Devotions, by Michael Walsh
Adventures in Orthodoxy, by Dwight Longenecker
Behold Your Mother, by Heidi Hess Saxton
Come Be My Light, by Mother Teresa
Full of Grace, by Johnnette Benkovic
Good News about Sex and Marriage, by Christopher West
Hail Holy Queen, by Scott Hahn
Life Giving Love, by Kimberly Hahn
Lord Have Mercy, by Scott Hahn
Love & Responsibility, by Karol Wojtyla
The Story of a Soul, the Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux
Surprised by Truth, by Patrick Madrid (there are three of them now, I believe, and I love them all)
Theology of the Body, by John Paul II
Why Do Catholics Do That? by Kevin Orlin Johnson

Grandma (Cathy) said...
Rediscovering Catholicism, by Matthew Kelly
Living the Mysteries: A Guide for Unfinished Christians, by Scott Hahn and Mike Aquilina
The Lamb's Supper, by Scott Hahn
The Only Necessary Thing, by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Dust I Am said...
City of God, by St. Augustine
Confessions, by St. Augustine
The collected sermons of St. John Chrysostom (a Saint recognized by both the Eastern and Western parts of the Church)
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, by St. Alphonsus Liguori (A great Saints of the Catholic Counter-reformation)
Attaining Salvation, by St. Alphonsus Liguori (A great Saints of the Catholic Counter-reformation)
The Story of a Soul, by St. Therese (written over 100 years ago)
Shelly said...
A Father Who Keeps His Promises - Scott Hahn
Please Don't Drink the Holy Water - Susie Lloyd
Left to Tell - Immaculee Ilibagiza
Rise, Let Us Be on Our Way - PJPII
Introduction to the Devout Life - St. Francis de Sales [translator: John K. Ryan]
The Spiritual Life - Adolphe Tanquerey
Barb, sfo said...
Francis of Assisi, by G.K. Chesterton
Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton
The Story of a Soul, by Therese of Lisieux
The Province of the Heart, by Phyllis McGinley
Saint Watching, by Phyllis McGinley
Fiction: In This House of Brede, by Rumer Godden
anything by Flannery O'Connor (fiction and letters)

Esther said...
Stories of Padre Pio, by Madama Katharina Tangeri
Through the Year with Fulton Sheen Compiled, by Henry Dieterich
Saint Maximilian Kolbe Apostle of Our Difficult Age, by Antonio Ricciardi, OFM, Conv.
No Wonder They Call it the Real Presence, by David Pearson
In the Presence of Our Lord, by Fr. Benedict Groeschel
Saints Behaving Badly, by Thomas J. Craughwell (for fun)

Sister said...
Apparitions: Mystic Phenomenon and What They Mean, by Kevin Orlin John
To Quell the Terror, by William Bush
On Being Catholic, by Thomas Howard
Jesus, Peter, and the Keys: A Scriptural Handbook on the Papacy, by Scott Butler, Norman Dahlgren, and David Hess
The Fire Within, by Thomas DuBay
Where We Got The Bible, by Henry Graham

Bia said...
Dawn of the Messiah, by Edward Sri
The Death of Innocents, by Sister Helen Prejean
Crossing the Threshold of Hope, by John Paul II
Lisa said...
Anything by Enid Dinnis
Anything by Fulton J. Sheen
Anything by G.K. Chesterton
Anything by Joan Carroll Cruz
(Sorry, but I couldn't narrow any of those authors down!)
A Man Born Again: St. Thomas More by John E. Beahn
The Mass in Slow Motion by Ronald Knox
The Story of a Family: The Home of St. Therese of Lisieux by Fr. Stephane J. Piat, O.F.M.
The Story of a Soul: the Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux
The Perfect Joy of St. Francis by Felix Timmermans

uncle billy said...
The Evidential Power of Beauty by Fr.Thomas DuBay

graphic sources:
painting by, Ignat Bednarik
Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard


Jean M. Heimann said...

1.The Story of a Soul - St. Therese of Lisieux
2.Father Elijiah: An Apocalypse by Michael D. O'Brien
3.Mother Angelica-Raymond Arroyo
4.Amazing Grace for Those Who Suffer-Jeff Cavins and Matthew Pinto
5. Saintly Women of Modern Times - Joan Carol Cruz
6.True Devotion to Mary - St. Louis de Montfort
7. Modern Saints - Ann Ball
8. Mystics and Miracles - Bert Ghezzi
9. The Virtue Driven Life - Fr. Benedict Groeschel
10. Theotokos: Woman, Mother, Disciple, A Catechesis on Mary the Mother of God by John Paul II

Tiber Jumper said...

Crossing The Tiber- Steve Ray
Rome Sweet Home-Scott Hahn
Father John Hardon's Prayerbook for Marian Catechists
Practicing the Presence of God-Brother Lawrence
Thomas a Kempis-The Imitation of Christ
The Four Witnesses-Rod Bennett
Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church: A 2,000-Year History-HW Crocker
Catholic and Christian-Alan Schreck
Born Fundamentalist, Born-again Catholic-David Currie

Gail F said...

Anything by G.K. Chesteron
Anything by James Schall
Any essay by Ronald Knox
St. Augustine's "Confessions" (Mary Boulding translation)

Leticia said...

1. Life is a Blessing; A Biography of Dr. Jerome Lejeune
by Clara Lejeune
2. A Grace Given by Kent Gilges
3. Healing the Original Wound or anything by Fr. Benedict Groeschel
4. The Snakebite Letters or anything by Peter Kreeft
5. How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
6. Spendor in the Ordinary; Your Home as a Holy Place by Thomas Howard

JSullivan said...

Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor
The Loved One - Evelyn Waugh
Silence - Shusako Endo
Earthen Vessels - Gabriel Bunge, OSB
Five Loaves & Two Fish - Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan
Following Christ in a Consumer Society - John Kavanaugh, SJ

SaintInTraining said...

Wow, lots of good suggestions!

I don't know where to start, but here are some of my recent discoveries or books I would recommend reading during the summer:

Happy are You Poor - Fr. Thomas Dubay
The Journal of Elizabeth Leseur - Elizabeth Leseur
Being Consumed - William Cavanaugh
Introduction to the Devout Life - St. Francis de Sales
Christ in the Home - Raoul Plus, SJ
Loaves and Fishes - Dorothy Day
The Long Loneliness - Dorothy Day
The Ascent to Mount Carmel - St. John of the Cross

Anonymous said...

1. Theo-Drama, vol. 4--Hans Urs von Balthasar
2. Heart of the World--Hans Urs von Balthasar
3. Does Jesus Know us? Do We Know Him?--Hans Urs von Balthasar
4. The Clown--Heinrich Bohl
5. The Analogical Imagination--David Tracy
6. Prolegomena to Charity--Jean Luc Marion
7. Viper's Tangle--F. Mauriac

Anonymous said...

No Man is an Island - Thomas Merton

Claude Muncey said...

Forgive me if there are some duplications with earlier posters. In no particular order:

* The Long Lonliness - Dorothy Day
* anything by Flannery O'Connor
* Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine - Henry Cardinal Newman
* The Seven Story Mountain - Thomas Merton
* New Seeds of Contemplation - Thomas Merton
* Selected Writings, Dorothy Day
* The Rule of Benedict
* The Holy Way - Paula Huston

Dale said...

"The Life of Christ" by Abbot Giuseppe Ricciotti (get the 703 page version, not the shorter one).

"A Canticle for Leibowitz" by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Br. Matthew Augustine Miller, OP said...

1. The Spiritual Combat- Lorenzo Scupoli (Called "Unseen Warfare", by our Eastern brothers)

2. The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross

3. Discourses and Sayings- Dorotheus of Gaza

4. Introduction to Spirituality- Louis Bouyer

5. Summa Theologica- St. Thomas Aquinas

6. Predestination- Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

7. The Three Ages of the Interior Life- Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

8. The Roots of Christian Mysticism- Olivier Clement

9. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: the Alphabetical Collection- ed. Benedicta Ward

10. The Confessions- St. Augustine

11. Augustine and the Limits of Virtue- James Wetzel

Anonymous said...

Befriending the Stranger - Jean Vanier

dominic1962 said...

Many good classics have been mentioned already (i.e. titles by St. Louis de Montfort, St. Therese of Lisieux, etc.) so just another thumbs up to the classics.

Also, Cranmer's Godly Order by Michael Davies, Iota Unum by Romano Amerio, Spirit of the Liturgy by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, Heresy of Formlessness by Martin Mosebach and others in this same vein.

Eric said...

Lots of good suggestions already, I will try not to repeat anything but offer only additions:

1. The Little Flowers of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano (I recommend the translation by Raphael Brown, very readable, published by Doubleday. Plus, it contains the Life of Brother Juniper and the Sayings of Brother Giles). Timmermans' novel The Perfect Joy of Saint Francis, mentioned above, is also excellent. I always recommend reading The Little Flowers before anything else about Francis, though, because it all stems from here.

2. The Autobiography of Saint Ignatius of Loyola - personally I think this is more accessible than The Spiritual Exercises, which are intended as guidelines for Jesuit retreat masters. Plus it's always nice to read a personal conversion story, even if it's from a few centuries ago (or, perhaps, because it's from a few centuries ago).

3. Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton - everyone's favorite Gesthemane Trappist collects his favorite stories about the early Christian desert mystics. His brief introduction is also nice, not for historical context so much as for framing the importance of their insight into the spiritual life. While I could recommend many books by Merton, this is my favorite.

4. The Lord by Romano Guardini - recommended by Pope Benedict can you go wrong? It is a series of sermons (very well-written sermons) reflecting on the life of Jesus in the Gospels. Brilliant, though slow going at times because he makes you really think.

5. The Divine Comedy (Inferno, Purgatory, Paradise) by Dante translated by Anthony Esolen, professor of English at Providence College. Esolen's notes will make you appreciate this work as truly Catholic though thoroughly Dante. It is three volumes, but at least read the Inferno. You will have a new appreciation for the wages of sin.

Son said...

Father Elijah by Michael O'Brien

Jesus of Nazareth by Benedict XVI

The Ascent of Mt. Carmel by John of the Cross

Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge

Letter and Spirit by Scott Hahn

Witness to Hope by George Weigel

Micki said...

1. This Saint's For You, Thomas Craughwell
2. Therese and Lisieux, Pierre Descouvemont
3. Swimming With Scapulars: True Confessions of a Young Catholic, Matthew Lickona

Micki said...

PS....I also love anything by Mother Teresa

GrandmaK said...

If it's not too late I'd like to add one more book...forgot it on my original list...Parish Priest, Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism, by Douglas Brinkley and Julie M. Fenster.

Elena said...

1. Mother's Rule of Life
2. Mothers' Manual-- Helps for
Mothers and Expectant Mothers
by A. Francis Coomes S.J.
3. Philadelphia Catholic in St. James' Court.
4. Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church (Paperback)
by The Right Rev. Henry G. Graham

Anonymous said...

1. Transformation in Christ by Dietrich Von Hildebrand
2. Man, Woman, and the Meaning of Love by Dietrich Von Hildebrand
3.Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body by John Paul II
4. Prayer Primer: Igniting A Fire Within by Thomas Dubay
5.If You Really Loved Me by Jason Evert (a great book for teens)


TSO said...

John Meehan's "Two Towers"

sexy said...







dudleysharp said...

For Bia:

Death Of Truth: Sister Prejean's "The Death Of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions."

Four articles


quote: "The DNA report commissioned by O'Dell and his lawyers actually corroborates O'Dell's guilt. There is a three-probe DNA match indicating that the bloodstains on O'Dell's clothing is indeed consistent with the victim Helen Schartner's DNA as well as her blood type and enzyme factors." "There is certainly no truth to O'Dell's accusation that evidence was suppressed or witnesses intimidated by the prosecution."

(b) "Sabine district attorney disputes author's claims in book"

quote: "I don't know whether she is deliberately trying to mislead the public or if she's being mislead by others. But she's wrong,"
District Atty. Burkett, dburkett(AT)

(c) Book Review: "Sister Prejean's Lack of Credibility: Review of "The Death of Innocents", by Thomas M. McKenna (New Oxford Review, 12/05).

"The book is moreover riddled with factual errors and misrepresentations."

"Williams had confessed to repeatedly stabbing his victim, Sonya Knippers."

"This DNA test was performed by an independent lab in Dallas, which concluded that there was a one in nearly four billion chance that the blood could have been someone's other than Williams's."

" . . . despite repeated claims that (Prejean) cares about crime victims, implies that the victim's husband was a more likely suspect but was overlooked because the authorities wanted to convict a black man."

" . . . a Federal District Court . . . stated that 'the evidence against Williams was overwhelming.' " "The same court also did "not find any evidence of racial bias specific to this case."

"(Prejean's) broad brush strokes paint individual jurors, prosecutors, and judges with the term "racist" with no facts, no evidence, and, in most cases, without so much as having spoken with the people she accuses."

"Sr. Prejean also claims that Dobie Williams was mentally retarded. But the same federal judge who thought he deserved a new sentencing hearing also upheld the finding of the state Sanity Commission report on Williams, which concluded that he had a "low-average I.Q.," and did not suffer from schizophrenia or other major affective disorders. Indeed, Williams's own expert at trial concluded that Williams's intelligence fell within the "normal" range. Prejean mentions none of these facts."

"In addition to lying to the police about how he came to have blood on his clothes, the best evidence of O'Dell's guilt was that Schartner's (the rape/murder victim's) blood was on his jacket. Testing showed that only three of every thousand people share the same blood characteristics as Schartner. Also, a cellmate of O'Dell's testified that O'Dell told him he killed Schartner because she would not have sex with him."

"After the trial, LifeCodes, a DNA lab that O'Dell himself praised as having "an impeccable reputation," tested the blood on O'Dell's jacket -- and found that it was a genetic match to Schartner. When the results were not to his liking, O'Dell, and of course Sr. Prejean, attacked the reliability of the lab O'Dell had earlier praised. Again, as with Williams's conviction, the federal court reviewing the case characterized the evidence against O'Dell as 'vast' and
'overwhelming.' "

Sr. Prejean again sees nefarious forces at work. Not racism this time, for O'Dell was white. Rather, she charges that the prosecutors were motivated to convict by desire for advancement and judgeships. Yet she never contacted the prosecutors to interview them or anyone who might substantiate such a charge.

"(Prejean) omits the most damning portion of (O'Dell's criminal) record: an abduction charge in Florida where O'Dell struck the victim on the head with a gun and told her that he was going to rape her. This very similar crime helped the jury conclude that O'Dell would be a future threat to society. It supports the other evidence of his guilt and thus undermines Prejean's claim of innocence."

"There is thus a moral equivalence for Prejean between the family of an innocent victim and the newfound girlfriend of a convicted rapist and murderer."

"This curious definition of "the victims" suggests that her concern for "victims" seems to be more window-dressing for her cause than true concern."

(d) Hardly The Death Of Innocents: Sister Prejean tells it like it wasn't -- Joseph O'Dell
by Anonymous, at author's request

In lionizing convicted murderer Joseph O'Dell as being an innocent man railroaded to his 1997 execution by Virginia prosecutors, Sister Helen Prejean presents a skewed summary of the case to bolster her anti-death penalty agenda. While she is a gifted speaker, she is out of her element when it comes to "telling it as it was" in these cases.

Prejean got to walk with O'Dell into the death chamber at Greensville Correctional Center on July 22, 1997. However, she wasn't in Virginia Beach some 12 years earlier when he committed the crime for which he was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death. That is where the real demon was evident, not the sweet talking condemned con-man that she met behind bars. O'Dell was, in the words of then Virginia Beach Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Albert Alberi (case prosecutor), one of the most savage, dangerous criminals he had encountered in a two decade career.

Indeed,O'Dell had spent most of his adult life incarcerated for various crimes since the age of 13 in the mid-1950's. At the time of the Schartner murder in Virginia, O'Dell had been recently paroled from Florida where he had been serving a 99 year sentence for a 1976 Jacksonville abduction that almost ended in a murder of the female victim (had not police arrived) in the back of his car.

The circumstances of that crime were almost identical to those surrounding Schartner's murder. The victim of the Florida case even showed up in Virginia to testify at the trial. Scarcely a mention of this case is made in the Prejean book.

Briefly, let me outline some of the facts about the case: Victim Helen Schartner's blood was found on the passenger seat of Joseph O'Dell's vehicle. Tire tracks matching those on O'Dell's vehicle were found at the scene where Miss Schartner's body was found. The tire tread design on O'Dell's vehicle wheels were so unique, an expert in tire design couldn't match them in a manual of thousands of other tire treads. The seminal fluids found on the victim's body matched those of Mr. O'Dell and pubic hairs of the victim were found on the floor of his car.

The claims that O'Dell was "denied" his opportunity to present new DNA evidence on appeals were frivolous. In fact, he had every opportunity to come forward with this evidence, but his lawyers refused to reveal to the court the full findings of the tests which they had arranged to be done on a shirt with blood stains, which O'Dell's counsel claimed might show did not have the blood marks from the defendant or the victim.

Manipulative defense lawyer tactics were overlooked by Prejean in her narrative. O'Dell was far from a victim of poor counsel. As matter of fact, the city of Virginia Beach and state government gave O'Dell an estimated $100,000 for his defense team at trial. This unprecedented amount nearly bankrupted the entire indigent defense fund for the state. He had great lawyers, expert forensic investigators and every point at the trial was contested two to five times.

There was no "rush to justice" in this case.

O'Dell's alibi for the night of Schartner's murder was that he had gotten thrown out of the bar where he encountered Schartner following a brawl. However, none of the several dozen individuals supported his contention - there weren't any fights that night. Rather, several saw Miss Schartner getting into O'Dell's car on what would be her last ride.

But Prejean would want us to believe the claims of felon Joseph O'Dell. He had three trips to the United States Supreme Court and the "procedural error" which Prejean claims ultimately doomed him was the result of simple ignorance of basic appeals rules by his lawyers.

Nothing in the record ever suggested that Joseph O'Dell, two time killer and rapist, was anything but guilty of the murder of Helen Schartner.

Justice was properly served.

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