Recommended Reading for Inquiring Catholics

Occasionally the Ratzinger Fan Club mailing list plays host to some rambunctious and stimulating theological debates. In response to several requests, the Fan Club has compiled a list of titles that may be helpful to those participating in our frequent email discussions of various topics in Catholic theology.

PLEASE NOTE: This page is a work in progress, as new recommendations are being added all the time. If you would like to suggest a title of your own for our consideration, please contact us and let us know.

Ignatius Press - Catholic Books

"Catholicism 101: The Fundamentals of the Faith"

Catholic Christianity by Peter Kreeft. Ignatius Press; (July 2001).
Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics, by Peter Kreeft. Ignatius Press; (November 1988).
Theology for Beginners, by Frank Sheed. Servant Publications; ; 3rd edition (August 1982).
The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You, by Michael Dubriel. Our Sunday Visitor (September, 2002).

"Classic Apologetics & Introductory Texts"

The Belief of Catholics, by Ronald Knox. Ignatius Press; (September 2000).
The Spirit of Catholicism, by Karl Adam. Crossroad/Herder & Herder; (November 1997).
Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man, by Henri Cardinal de Lubac, S.J. Ignatius Press (November 1988).

Readings in Catholic Theology

Credo: Meditations on the Apostle's Creed, by Hans urs Von Balthasar. Ignatius Press (August 1, 2000).
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Ludwig Ott. Tan Books & Publishers, Inc.; (March 1992).
Introduction to Christianity, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Ignatius Press; (December 1990).
Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas. . The complete text. ALTERNATIVELY:
  • A Summa of the Summa, by Peter Kreeft. Ignatius Press; ; (December 1990) . Selected essential philosophical passages from Thomas' Summa with footnotes and explanations by Kreeft, a popular Thomist teacher and writer.
  • A Shorter Summa, by Peter Kreeft. Ignatius Press; ; (October 1994). Abridged version of Summa of the Summa.
  • Summa Theologiae: A Concise Translation, by Timothy McDermott. Thomas More Publishing; (March 1997).

Studies of Specific Topics

Catholic Tradition, Authority and Doctrinal Development

Back To Virtue: Traditional Moral Wisdom for Modern Moral Confusion, by Peter Kreeft. Ignatius Press; (October 1992).
By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition, by Mark Shea. Our Sunday Visitor; ; (September 1996).
An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, by John Henry Cardinal Newman. Univ of Notre Dame Pr; ; Reissue edition (January 1990).
Jesus, Peter & the Keyes: A Scriptural Handbook on the Papacy, Edited by Scott Butler, et al. Queenship Pub Co; ; (April 1997).
Not by Scripture Alone: A Catholic Critique of the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura, by Robert Sungenis. Queenship Pub Co; ; (March 1998).
Not by Faith Alone: A Biblical Study of the Catholic Doctrine of Justification, by Robert Sungenis. Queenship Pub Co; ; (September 1997).
The Teachings of the Church Fathers, edited by John R. Willis, S.J. Ignatius Press; New edition (October 1, 2002).
Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church, by Henry G. Graham. Tan Books & Publishers, Inc.; Reprint edition (January 1994) .


Called to Communion: Understanding The Church Today, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Ignatius Press; (March 1996).
Models of the Church, by Avery Cardinal Dulles. Image; Expnd Rei edition (August 1, 1991).
Splendor of the Church, by Henri De Lubac. Ignatius Press; (May 1993).


The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and Truth of the Traditional Gospels, by Luke Timothy Johnson. Harper San Francisco; ; Reprint edition (February 1997).
The Lord, by Romano Guardini. Gateway Editions; Reissue edition (January 25, 1982).

Ecumenism and Religious Pluralism

The Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and the Ecumenical Dialogue, by Adriano Garuti. Ignatius Press (December 30, 2004).
The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism, by Louis Bouyer. Scepter Pubs (January, 2001).
The Russian Church and the Papacy, by Vladimir Soloviev. Edited by Fr. Ray Ryland Catholic Answers, 2001.

The Liturgy

Eucharist: Theology and Spirituality of the Eucharist, by Louis Bouyer. Univ of Notre Dame Pr; ; (December 1968).
Not by Bread Alone, by Robert Sungenis. Queenship Pub Co; ; (February 2000).
Mass Confusion: The Do's & Don'ts of Catholic Worship, by James Akin. Catholic Answers; Second Expanded edition (January 1, 1999)

Mary and the Saints

Mary of Nazareth, by Kenneth Howell. Queenship Publishing Company; (January 1998) .

Church History

A Concise History of the Crusades, by Thomas F. Madden. Rowman & Littlefield; ; (October 1, 1999).
History of the Church of Christ [Ten Volumes], by Henri Daniel-Rop.
History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, by William Cobbett. Tan Books & Publishers, Inc.; (October 1988).
Triumph: The Power and Glory of the Catholic Church, a 2,000 Year History, by H. W. Crocker III. Prima Publishing; (November 21, 2001).
The Western Rising, 1549: The Prayer Book Rebellion, by Philip Caraman. Westcountry Books; (January 1994). ["on the popular revolt against the imposition of the new Anglican state religion and suppression of Catholicism in England" - PB].

Apologetics (Catholic-Protestant Relations)

Born Fundamentalist, Born-Again Catholic, by David Currie. Ignatius Press; (June 1996).
Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on "Romanism" by "Bible Christians", by Karl Keating. Ignatius Press; (May 1988).
Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church, by Stephen K. Ray. Ignatius Press; (February 1997).
Catholic and Christian: An Explanation of Commonly Misunderstood Catholic Beliefs, by Alan Schreck. Servant Publications; (June 1984).
Evangelical is Not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament, by Thomas Howard. Ignatius Press; (September 1988).
On Being Catholic, by Thomas Howard. Ignatius Press; (February 1997).
The Salvation Controvery, by James Akin. Catholic Answers, Inc. (2001).

De-Bunking The Da Vinci Code: Articles and Resources
Cracking the Anti Catholic Code: a Special Planet Envoy Critique of The Da Vinci Code, by Carl E. Olson, with Sandra Miesel. Part I; Part II. Envoy Magazine.
Dismantling The Da Vinci Code, by Sandra Meisel. Crisis (September 2003).
The Da Vinci Code: Facts Behind The Fiction, by Amy Welborn. Amy Welborn points out some of the many errors about religion, history, and art contained in The Da Vinci Code in this short pamphlet. Our Sunday Visitor. (May, 2004).
The Da Vinci Code: Of Magdalene, Gnostics, the Goddess and the Grail, by Leadership U. Extensive list of resources on issues pertaining to The Da Vinci Code.

Recommended Books:

The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors of The Da Vinci Code, by Carl E. Olson and Sandra Meisel.
De-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of The Da Vinci Code
by Amy Welborn.

Philosophy & Cultural Criticism

The End of the Modern World, by Romano Guardini. ISI Books (April 1, 2001)
The Drama of Atheist Humanism, by Henri De Lubac. Ignatius Press (October 1, 1995).
Chance or the Dance: A Critique of Modern Secularism, by Thomas Howard. Ignatius Press (March 1, 1989).
Baltimore Catechism, Seraphim Company Inc. (November 1997).
Catechism of the Catholic Church United States Catholic Conference; ; 2nd edition (October 2000) .
Faith of the Early Fathers (Vol. 1), transl. by William A. Jurgens. Liturgical Press; (January 1998).
Faith of the Early Fathers (Vol. 2), transl. by William A. Jurgens. Liturgical Press; (January 1998).
Faith of the Early Fathers (Vol. 3), transl. by William A. Jurgens. Liturgical Press; ; (January 1998).
Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents, edited by Austin P. Flannery. Costello Pub Co; ; 2nd edition (October 1996).

Pope John Paul II

By Pope John Paul II

Crossing the Threshold of Hope
Read it Online!
The Jeweler's Shop Ignatius Press (June 1, 1992).
Love and Responsibility Ignatius Press; Rev. ed edition (April 1, 1993).
The Way to Christ : Spiritual Exercises HarperSanFrancisco (October 7, 1994).

About Pope John Paul II

At the Center of the Human Drama : The Philosophical Anthropology of Karol Wojtyla/Pope John Paul II, by Kenneth L. Schmitz
The Legacy of Pope John Paul II: His Contribution to Catholic Thought, edited by Geoffrey Gneuhs.
The Splendor of Faith : The Theological Vision of Pope John Paul II , by Avery Dulles
The Theology of the Body According to John Paul II : Human Love in the Divine Plan, contains talks given by John Paul II in which he discusses the bodily dimension of human personhood, sexuality, and marriage in the light of biblical revelation.
Witness To Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, the officially-commissioned biography by George Weigel.