7 Books on Catholicism for the Jaded and Secular
As I’ve mentioned before, I was quite the secularist, atheist type, and now I’m (trying to be) the orthodox Catholic, Mommy type. These are some of the books I read on the journey that helped me leave that old life behind.
I fondly remember reading this book when pregnant with my second child. Fr. Rolheiser is able to reach out to a Church-ed and non-Church-ed audience alike, and speak about the inherent tension between the world as it is, and as it should be, and what that means for the spiritual life. In his writing, I felt that I had finally found a path connecting my a secular world view to a Christian one.
My perception of the Magisterium for many years was a bunch of old guys with Axis powers’ accents shouting “because I said so!” This interview with then Cardinal Ratzinger demonstrated the intellect, rationality and charity of the Church. I even bought a Pope Benedict XVI mug after reading this.
This series of short transcribed talks, quickly, neatly and effectively defends the Catholic faith, without diluting it. Fulton Sheen was a true spiritual genius in the way he could describe human nature, and explain the Christian response to it. Contains the oft-repeated truth, that no one would disagree with the Catholic Church if they knew what she actually taught.
I read this book at a difficult period in my life. I thought it would be a treacly pep talk, but I was desperate, so I started reading it anyways. Boy was I wrong. DeStefano pulls no punches as he deals with the Christian response to tragedy, doubt, and other tough subjects. Still my go-to book when I’m looking for some perspective and inspiration.
Surprised? This conversion story of a dedicated Protestant Pastor and his wife, was way out of my comfort zone when I first picked it up over 10 years ago. I remember thinking, “Can’t these people write a sentence without the word ‘God’ in it?” When I gave it to my husband, he handed it back after about 10 pages, and dismissed it as “un-readable.” But I stuck with it, and by the end it was one of my favourite books. Why? Scott and Kimberly’s journey in search of the truth is full of doubt, difficulties and personal sacrifices. It is also full of grace, joy and ends in a beautiful reconciliation of their family. It showed me that Christians weren’t a bunch of unthinking, Ned Flanders types. Rather, they were just like me. (P.S. My husband did eventually read it, and pronounced it “great.” )
This collection of converts and reverts covers everyone from Evangelicals to died in the wool secularists. It was a great comfort to me to see that I was not alone in my journey as I was separating myself from my old ways. A wonderful book that shows the great diversity, and at the same time unity, of the Church.
This short little read answers many of the questions that poorly catechized Catholics may have. It covers both theological controversies, and answers basic questions about the Mass and other Sacraments. For someone who hated to admit she didn’t know it all, I was shocked to discover how much mis-information I had picked up over the years.
Of course, I have added many more books to my list of “favourites” over the years, but these were the ones that reached me back then. Several of these volumes I need to replace, having lent them out and lost them. I pray that God continues to use these books to reach those lost souls who, like I was, are looking for answers and ultimately, God Himself.