As Catholics, it is essential for us to continuously nourish our faith by increasing our understanding of what we believe. One way is immersing ourselves in the references available such as books. Reading can be very difficult for us faithful for it requires time and discipline but the fruits it brings us can be very rewarding. Let us welcome 2023 with a new year’s resolution. To boost our spiritual readings as a means of becoming holy!
As St. John Bosco said, “Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book.”
Here are the best catholic books you can start reading this 2023.
I love history! This actually helped me in knowing my faith more. This genre covers the history of Catholicism and Christianity in general. It is for everyone who is interested in learning the past. I highly recommend this to those who intend to convert to the Catholic faith. These are must-haves.
Timeless: A History of the Catholic Church
Author: Steve Weidenkopf
Looking for a great introduction to Church history? This book is for you! It contains tons of facts on the important events the Church had been involved in, crusades, heresies, and more all in an easy-to-digest and unbiased approach. Good choice for beginners in faith!
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization
Author: Thomas E. Woods
With a lot of misconceptions spread against the Catholic Church, this book can easily bust them all. Thomas was able to present the Church’s contribution to the western civilization backed up with facts and historical records. Eye-opening!
Church History : A Complete History of the Catholic Church to the Present Day
Author: Fr. John Laux
This piece by Fr. John contains the thorough yet concise history of the Church. He made it comprehensive but not that overwhelming. You would have a top view of what the Church has been through throughout the ages. From the Pentecost up until modern times. A clear and compelling work.
Other History and Culture Catholic Books
Enthusiasm by Ronald Knox
Love of Learning and the Desire for God by Jean Leclercq
Our Lady of Fatima by William Walsh
Triumph by H.W Crocker III
Survivals and New Arrivals by Hilaire Belloc
As a revert to the faith, I have always been curious about the doctrines of the Church. These books on theology delve into what the Church teaches. Explaining Church’s doctrines in an easy-to-understand way.
The How-To Book of Catholic Theology: Everything You Need to Know But No One Ever Taught You
Author: Fr. John P. Cush
This is the best Catholic book on theology for beginners! Fr. Cush explained true theology in a clear and simple manner which could be really helpful to laypersons or students. His style is conversational which keeps the reader engaged in the topic inspiring them to love theology more.
The Shape of Catholic Theology: An Introduction to Its Sources, Principles, and History
Author: Aidan Nichols OP
Are you an aspiring theologian? This is a perfect reference for you. Loaded with information, this is an excellent read on the basic principles and sources for Catholic theology. The content is organized that readers could outline the entire course from it. Well written and digestible. Good buy!
Exploring Catholic Theology: Essays on God, Liturgy, and Evangelization
Author: Bishop Robert Barron
Authored by one of my favorite theologians, Bishop Barron exceptionally introduced modern theology in this book. He made the complex Catholic theology alive. It was deeply thought-out uniting scriptures, history and art. Be ready to think. Highly recommended!
Other Catholic Theology Books
The End of the Modern World by Romano Guardini
The Lord by Romano Guardini
Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn
Christianity for Modern Pagans by Peter Kreeft
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott
Bible Catholic Version
One of the greatest contributions of the Church is the Bible. As there are many bible versions nowadays which could depart from the original translation, here are the authentic Catholic Bibles available now.
New American Bible, St. Joseph Medium Size Edition
Author: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
This version is the most widely used medium-sized student edition having all the complete Old and New testaments in large including aids for easy reading and understanding. It is a perfect gift for any occasion.
This version of the Holy Bible was translated from the Latin Vulgate into English between 1582 and 1610. This version which contains Apocrypha creates a deep understanding of God’s word. It also has references and annotations.
Ignatius Catholic Bible
Author: Ignatius Press
This version is just beautiful and appropriately compacted. It also has specified features that help readers understand the content easier. Ignatius Press has been known for its quality bibles, and this is one!
Other Catholic Versions of the Bible
The Catholic Study Bible
Holy Bible: New American Bible, Revised Edition
NRSV Go-Anywhere Thinline Bible Catholic Edition
NABRE – New American Bible Revised Edition Standard Size
The New American Bible
For Best Catholic Bibles for Beginners, you can check this out.
This by far is my favorite genre of Catholic books. Books on Catholic Spirituality can teach a faithful on ways to get closer to God. And this is what I love about it! These books are not just good for reading but also for prayer and meditation. Five stars!
The Imitation of Christ
Author: Thomas A. Kempis
This classic is one of the most popular spiritual books available today. The book is intelligible. The content provides guidelines on renouncing the earthly vanities and finding the heavenly truths. Once you finished it, you would always repeat on reading it. This one is highly recommended!
The Spiritual Theology
Author: Prof. Jordan Aumann
This book is concerned with the principles of theology regarding Christian holiness. It has practical ways for holistic growth and has shown to be beneficial to contemporary students and any normal reader for spiritual development.
Christ is Passing By
Author: Saint Josemaria Escriva
This is the collection of homilies by St. Josemaria Escriva on different feast days focusing on the sanctification in ordinary work, unity of life, and contemplation while living in this world. St. Josemaria’s works are just one of a kind. As a layperson, his piece reminds me that I can be holy even in my most minute task.
Other Spiritual Books
True Devotion to Mary by Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort
The Soul of the Apostolate by Jean–Baptiste Chautard
Covenanted Happiness by Cormac Burke
All for Jesus by Frederick Faber
The Sadness of Christ by St. Thomas More
Have you ever been attacked because of your faith? This collection can help you defend it. From the most basic up to the most complex accusations on Catholicism, these books can aid you in understanding Catholic beliefs. These references are not only for the aspiring defenders of faith but also for the aspiring converts.
Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine
Author: Archbishop Michael Sheehan
Another high-quality book by Baronius Press, this book is the most comprehensive book on Catholic apologetics. It contains concise explanations, useful summaries, and tables that readers will come to a more profound understanding of faith. It has a unique and outstanding approach to discussing the Catholic faith in a light and understandable manner.
Authored by the famed convert and apologist, Scott Hahn, this book discusses the full spectrum of Catholic apologetics, from theism to Christianity. It starts with arguments on the existence of God. Then with the common protestant objections until the typology (which I always find fascinating!). It introduces the basics of apologetics clearly. Great book. Thumbs up!
Handbook of Catholic Apologetics: Reasoned Answers to Questions of Faith
Author: Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli S.J.
This book gives a summary of all different discussions of Christian beliefs, especially Catholic doctrines. It also includes answers to some of the usual protestants’ arguments. It is an informative book for all Catholics.
Other Apologetics Books
Magisterial Authority by Fr. Chad A. Ripperger
Handbook of Christian Apologetics– Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli
Teaching Christianity by Saint Augustine
Topics on Tradition by Fr. Chad A. Ripperger
Beginning Apologetics Super Set by Father Frank Chacon and Jim Burnha
Life of Saints
We Catholics believe in the communion of saints in heaven. Saints are our models here on earth. We want to imitate them that one day we may also worship God with them. I have always prayed through Saints. They are our friends. And they can help us through their intercession for us. If you are new to faith or want to get to know more about saints, these books are great starters.
Mary of Nazareth
Author: Federico Suarez
Knowing the Virgin Mother is the best way to know what a saint is. Initially published in 1959, this book provides details about the Mother of God and how her calling influences our lives. It also includes the normal life of the Blessed Mother which helps the reader see her in a different light, trusting and faithful to the Lord.
Something Beautiful for God
Author: Malcolm Muggeridge
St. Teresa of Calcutta is one of my favorites! Who wouldn’t admire her love and dedication for the poor? This book contains her conversation with Malcolm. It shows her life. Lighting up the world with her deeds.
Journal of a Soul
Author: Pope St. John XXIII
This book is an autobiography of Pope Saint John XXIII. It details his spiritual journey from being a seminarian up to being a Pope. It contains his prayers, letters, aphorisms, and even his last will and testament. You will get to know him on a personal level with this piece.
Other Books about the Life of the Saints
The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day
The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
The Cure of Ars by Francis Trochu
Witness to Hope by Gerard Weigel
Saint Francis of Assisi by G.K Chesterton
This genre is interesting and profound. It introduces God in a unique and artistic way. Get to know Him through these classics.
Author: Dante Alighieri
This is one of the most remarkable classics of western literature! The book is written around 1310-1314. It is a poem that is long and narrative titled “Commedia” divided into three sections detailing the journey of error of darkness to lightness. This is long and complex to read but the summaries and footnotes made it less overwhelming. What a great addition to your collection!
The Diary of a Country Priest
Author: Georges Bernanos
In this Catholic Novel, the author recounts the life of a junior French priest who was in the process of comprehending his provincial parish while also learning to be spiritually humble. This novel received Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française. Such quite rich writing. This novel is a masterpiece.
The Complete Stories
Author: Flannery O’Connor
Flannery is among America’s finest writers. Her works are of moral purpose. The content is quite long but individual stories are short so readers would not get bored. Her writings will make you think and this is no exception. If you like gothic and dark work, you should check this one out.
Other Literary Classics
Silence by Shusaku Endo
Poems and Prose by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The Idea of University by John Henry Newman
Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson
As a frustrated psychologist, it always excites me to flip through the pages of a book bridging psychology and Catholicism. I am just enticed by the fact that they are not far from each other and are related. These are some of the books that connect human behavior and faith.
Introduction to the Science of Mental Health
Author: Fr. Chad Ripperger
I got to know Fr. Chad in one of the youtube videos discussing the psychological and spiritual effects of being a pessimist. It was amazing content! With that, I know that Fr. Chad gives a simple yet divinely inspired approach to human behavior in relation to spirituality. And this book is just one proof. This is not just for counselors, psychologists, or students, this is for everyone!
The Mindful Catholic: Finding God One Moment at a Time
Author: Dr. Gregory Bottaro and Peter Kreeft
From the look of its cover, which I super love, you would know that this is about human behavior. This award-winning book discusses how to live in the present moment which people neglect nowadays. It also includes practical exercises to focus on what is true, beautiful, and actually happening right now. Every catholic should have this on a shelf!
The Catholic Guide to Depression: How the Saints, the Sacraments, and Psychiatry Can Help You Break Its Grip and Find Happiness Again
Author: Aaron Kheriaty and John Cihak
The book highlights the importance of the link between the human soul and the brain. Since Dr. Kheriaty is a practicing catholic and psychiatrist and Fr. John is a priest, they were able to discuss depression both on a medical and spiritual level. By far, this probably is the best book for depression.
Other Catholic Psychology Books
Wheat and Tares: Restoring the Moral Vision of Scandalized Church by Fr. Mitch Pacwa
Know Thyself: 100 Guided Meditations on Humility of Heart by Fr. Cajetan da Bergamo
Transformation in Christ: On the Christian Attitude by Dietrich Von Hildebrand
The Human Person: A Beginner’s Thomistic Psychology by Steven J. Jensen
Catholic faith values family so much! It is the basic unit of human society and of the Church. Thus, it is important to protect them. A good foundation starts with a faithful couple for they will be examples of living a Christian life. These are some of the best books for married or engaged couples.
Three To Get Married
Author: Bishop Fulton Sheen
The American theologian wrote this great book which has a suitable take in understanding the Marriage as Sacrament in a frank and charitable manner. He emphasizes the true meaning of marital vows, helping couples be strong as they enter the married phase of life. It would be a great wedding gift!
The Good News About Sex and Marriage
Author: Christopher West
Known for his succinct version of St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Christopher is the director of marriage and family within his diocese. He wrote this book to bring solutions to issues dealing with human sexuality and marriage life through Catholic teachings. He was able to answer questions on marriage that couples usually ask.
The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order
Author: Scott Hahn
From a renowned author, theologian, and convert, Scott Hahn, the book claims that the societal ills and solutions to such issues normally depend on the perspective on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. He highlights the importance of marriage as a foundation for a better society. The family is the keystone of society. When it falls, society falls apart. Married couples should have this book!
Other Books for Marriage
By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride by Alice Von Hildrebrand
Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love by Dr. Edward Sri
Holy Sex! A Catholic Guide to Toe- Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving by Gregory K. Popcak
Sex Au Naturel: What It Is and Why it’s Good for your Marriage by Patrick Coffin
The 21 Undeniable Secrets of Marriage by Allen Hunt
There are some of best Catholic books available today that you should start reading for a better quality Christian life. By going through these books, faithful opens the door to advance in virtue. Start reading this 2023 and reap the holiness these catholic books bring. Enjoy!