Bad books at St Vincent de Paul store


I love books and have learned so much about my faith through them.

Today I was perusing the shelves at the local St Vincent store checking out some book titles. I found they had a lot of those romance novels which I know are not exactly conducive to living the Christian lifestyle. I paged through a few to see if these were indeed ones which I suspected had passages describing the, ah, antics of young single couples. At least one was a Danielle Steele. Some looked to be fairly old, , like from the '70’s; not very lengthy. A couple of them were obvious by the cover art; hunky guy embracing young woman with flowing hair. You get the picture.

I bought $1.50 of them for fireplace fodder and consider the money well spent.

I once found a copy of Cider House Rules which was made into a movie. It takes place at a doctor’s orphanage, but he also does abortions. It is off the shelf.

I think it is our Catholic duty (and maybe part of my mission) to see that this kind of literature is not promoted by a Catholic-run store. If the management does not see to it, then why not help clean up the shelves?

Does anyone else do this?

God bless,

Well done, Mimi! Good post.

Very strange that such things would be sold at a Catholic bookstore.

SVdP is a second hand shop often run by voulenteers and completely dependant on donations. I am sure they have better things to do than police donated books.

If you want to buy and burn them good for you. Its a donation. But I hardly consider it a good deed. Perhaps if you voulenteer to recruit donations and play book cop then you can pat yourself on the back

Good for you. If I was you I would talk with the manager (calmly) about it.

someone with a similar objection might consider volunteer at St. Vincent to sort donations. It would slip past here because most of the volunteers speak only Spanish, and some don’t read at all.


I do not have enough data to appropriatly answer your question. Please rephraze into an actual inquiry.

Go to your local library. Lot’s of work there.

Wow Mimi,

I think you did a good thing. As you said, it is money well spent. How many of us walk on by. I know I have, but you have encouraged me.

I’m not for censoring books in any way except keeping young kids from reading adult things. Ex: you wouldn’t put a copy of Bridget Jones’ Diary in the kids’ section of the library.

If you tried to keep questionable material out of this store, you wouldn’t even be able to keep the BIBLE on the shelf. There are some things in the Bible that are kind of scandalous and that we even dumb down for children because it is too mature.

Of course, if there is a book/magazine that the sole purpose is pornographic, that shouldn’t be sold anywhere but an 18 and over store.

So the only time I would get upset if more mature books are mistakenly placed with books for children, or pornographic material is sold anywhere other than an 18 and over store.

While there may be “romance” novels on the shelf, I actually get a bit more concerned when I see Mormon books, Ellen G. White etc. on the shelves.

However I like reading Ngaio Marsh novels for example, and the common theme in Ngaio Marsh novels is blue murder. But I am not likely to be influenced to murder someone because I read about a socialite being killed in an old novel.

As for “romance” novels, like 99% of males, I don’t read them. In fact, i don’t even look at them. I’m just not interested (sorry, ladies - romance films leave me cold as well).

So unless the book is undoubtedly pornographic or a call to a completely immoral life, then I agree with the writer who didn’t think the staff should be book cops.

I avoid them like the plague too. I find them boring. Although I used to read Harlequins as a teen. They were innocent back then.

Is St Vincent de Paul a Catholic book store or a non-religious store run by Catholics?

It’s a Catholic Goodwill: thrift store, food programs, emergency financial assistance, social justice programs, etc: so many more programs. Their website says: “Service to anyone in need.”

The thrift store sells donated goods. So “bad books” are an unfortunate legacy. Although, the “bad books” are sold for money, which in turn, helps the St. Vincent De Paul Society run programs for the less fortunate.

it is a thrift store that sells donations of clothing and household items, sometimes including books, received from well-meaning parishioners. The funds raised are used to fund the help St. Vincent gives to the poor of the parish.

It is unrealistic to expect the volunteers to know the content of the books simply by looking at the authors, much less to read them and make a judgment. The donors should know better than to donate questionable material to a church. If you don’t like what you see, bring it to the attention of the person in charge, or better yet, volunteer to police donations yourself.

that’s exactly what I said earlier. Often people don’t even think about what they’re donating. Many times they’re cleaning out a closet and just toss EVERYTHING in. I know people who call SVdP to come pick up everything left in a house after someone dies and the relatives get a run-through.

I don’t think book-cop is a great position to be in…you walk a fine line with many books and you are taking away revenue.

I volunteer to organize the books at our local SVdP store. Most of it is probably lack of time. Or like the ‘Cider house rules’ - I’ve never heard of it.

Usually if it’s blatently unchristian I’ll shelve it. But as much as I love to read, most books get a three second check to decide where they go. There really isn’t the time to do much else. I get more questions about organization… “Are you going to organize this by author someday?” Hah!

Mind you, there is some humor in those shelves. Like the innumberable boxes which we get containing a combination of older romance novels and newer children’s books.

Feel free to point out, buy out, and burn away. (IMO) I can’t know everything.

I’m afraid I don’t see why you’re so distraught. an immoral deed occuring within a book does not automatically put a giant red “evil” stamp on a work. It’s probably not a good idea for younger, impressionable readers to get ahold of it. but a book is suppose to be a glimpse into someone else’s world. And often times, another’s world contains things we know to be wrong, but unless it’s propoganda trying to convince the reader than abortion is ok, I’d just take it as an example of displaying such a thing rather than promoting it. In many cases, such things could be needed to do a time period or place in the world justice. We know homosexuality is wrong, but it would be difficult to write some cultures or historical times without it’s mentioning, for example.


One of the worst books I found to populate Christian book stores is this book called The Shack

Oy Vey! talk about sending the wrong message with “good” intentions.

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