Book recommendations for anti-Catholic who is willing to dig deep

Recently I posted about my mom asking for recommendations for books to send her that were not too heavy or dry, as we had agreed to swap books (she is Protestant and I am converting to the Catholic Church). I received so many helpful recommendations on that post, I thought I’d ask for ideas for my brother.

Also a staunch anti-Catholic with a Baptist upbringing, interestingly he IS willing to do the digging and find out what the Church actually teaches. This is not to say that he isn’t disgusted by what he is reading, just that he is willing to go to the Church’s own words to understand. He is out visiting our family, and asked to discuss my conversion (code words for prove me wrong about Catholicism from scripture). He had been reading for the last month the documents of the Council of Trent and taking copious notes, well over 30 pages of notes!

Our discussion went fairly well in that it remained calm, but I noticed he was wrongly interpreting the documents in light of his anti-Catholic bias. When I would correct him, he kept insisting that they were written for the laity and thus any Joe Shmo could interpret them, but refused to acknowledge that the laity would’ve read the documents with a Catholic mindset, not with a Protestant one. For instance he said the church condoned the worship of bread and wine-this was after having just read the canons regarding the changing the the bread and wine into the true body and blood of Christ and subsequent canons on the validity of worshiping Jesus in the Eucharist.

We discussed several things, but the two that stood out to me as starting points were Sola Scriptura and the Eucharist (Transubstantiation). If he’s willing to spend time reading the church documents, I know he’s not looking to read cursory overviews and stories of conversion. He has said he’d be willing to read some books if I sent them. So what can sources can you recommend that focus on refuting Sola Scriptura and supporting the Real Presence? Most helpful would be books that are heavy on Scriptural arguments as it really bothered him if I appealed to the early fathers (doesn’t believe in apostolic succession) or quoted the catechism. :shrug:

How about going back to the Jewish roots of the Eucharist? Brant Pitre’s (am not sure of the exact title)…Jesus and the Jewish roots of the Eucharist.

Also, look for books by Taylor Marshall, that trace Jewish roots of the catholic faith.

A few ideas:

Hope this helps,


For the Eucharist the recommendation of Brant Pitre’s Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist is excellent and will most likely fill the requirement of Scriptural arguments.

I think Sola Scriptura is related to Authority and you should try to lead the discussion back to Authority. It comes down to the Authority Jesus gave the Catholic Church or the authority your brother gives himself. Here are a few books that might help with that…

By What Authority by Mark Shea
Upon This Rock by Steve Ray
Jesus, Peter & the Keys by Scott Butler

Well, that makes your interpretation just as valid as his, doesn’t it? :slight_smile:

Best book:
“The Catechism of the Catholic Church,” (free online, it backs up all catholic teaching with scripture and the saints writings)

St Thomas Aquinas writings Summa Theologia

EWTN website, he should watch “Journey Home” series videos, and pick the ones of baptists who converted to catholicism, to see their reasoning as to how God led them home to the True Church,

The rest of these books are more faith and miracles from.the catholic church rather than intellectual reading about.the Truth of the Catholic Church historically as being the Church founded by Jesus Himself,

“Gloria Polo Struck by Lightning standing before the Judgement,”

(stunning book, written by a woman who was a lapsed catholic, turned Protestant, then turned aetheist, lived a sinful life, was hit by lightning one day, and saw Heaven, Purgatory, hell, and experienced her Judgement.

God gave her a.second chance and the doctors were able to resuscitate her,

Powerful book.

“Souls of Purgatory, get us out of here,” by Niki Eltz and Maria Simma,

“The Dolourous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

“40 dreams of St John Bosco.”

“Divine Mercy In My soul,” by St Faustina (two free ebooks)

Any book on Saint Padre Pio,

Rediscover Catholicism, by Matthew Kelly

Rediscover Jesus

The Miracle Ship, by Brian O’ Hare

Any catholic book by Michael H Brown

Steven Sora has a book about artifacts and relics of the catholic church that is stunning

Read me or rue me, (a book about Purgatory, based on the saints writings)

Purgatory and how to avoid it, (another book)

Rome Sweet Home

Scott Hahn

Start with the fundamentals. Baltimore catechism is a good start.

This is the books by Taylor Marshall that I had in mind:

The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity (Origins of Catholic Christianity Trilogy) Paperback – October 15, 2009

You say you referred to the Catechism, and your brother resists that, so it’s scriptural references only. But the Catechism and its footnotes are full of scripture: the line of reasoning is scriptural. Which does he care most about: the page the scripture is quoted on, or the content of the scriptural quotes? If he’s willing to read a book, what about that book first of all? I wouldn’t give up easily on the Catechism–the theological support from scripture is given there for both doctrinal areas, and you both would have the advantage of this being the Church speaking for herself as formally and officially as she can, in language geared to our contemporary ears. The communication is direct and not through a third party, which latter, as we know, can muddy the waters. (I.e., if one is going to attack/defend, let it be the strongest and purest articulation of an idea, rather than a straw man.)

Besides if your brother is willing to read Trent, which is the official Church speaking, then he can be willing to read the catechism, which is the same thing in these times.

Protestants who come from this bias have looked at parts of Trent a lot, but without understanding at all. They look only to mock and attack. Since Trent was defending the Faith against the Protestant attack, it is written to that end. It was written going on 500 years ago, to a world whose literate citizens were Aristotelian in philosophy, Thomistic in theology and Catholic in sensibilities. Today’s citizens do not have those literacies, so we cannot assume or even discuss at a Thomistic level. Nor is the polemical purpose and tone any longer appropriate given that those days’ formal heretics are only these days’ accidental or material heretics no longer aware of, nor responsible for, the links broken long ago by Protestantism’s founders. The truths remain true; but emphasis has changed as the times have changed, and doctrines also have continued to be fleshed out and rearticulated for a culture which has lost much intellectual integrity.

My point is, resist arguing Trent. The current articulation (the Catechism) is the appropriate articulation unless this is an archeological or historical discussion. The terms, concerns and principles shared by all western men at the time of Trent are no longer even understood by modern man outside of those versed in Thomism. Defending Trent is easy for those who understand and accept the Church’s authority and teaching infallibility. Defending Trent is neverending when a modern sets out to mock and misuse it.

Your brother’s critiques to you I have heard before: they are current in fundamentalist protestant apologetics. He is getting them from elsewhere and not deriving them originally. The mode is quite biased. This mode limits you to the protestant voice. As I said, I would not just silently accept this mode. If you do accept it, then I would think the best articulations would come from the new teaching Catholics who bring a Protestant sensibility with them. So that’s Scott Hahn and Tim Staples–the clearest and most interesting I’ve heard, and man do they have that Protestant-speak. They each naturally come from scripture thoroughly. Both have books out.

As to the Protestant mode: notice if you take that position to the limit, each bible reader must be proficient in all the ancient biblical languages just for a start. Of course Protestants protest at this extremity, but the logic holds.

Notice that the first Christians, to whom the epistles were written and with whom Acts is concerned, did not have a written New Testament but had the Faith, which illustrates the obvious fact that having the Faith is not dependent on having the written account of the Faith. Just this one historical fact alone suffices to eliminate necessity, so although the New Testament is priceless, it’s not necessary qua written–the teachings in the book are what’s necessary (unwritten teachings also necessary, and the Church as Teacher also necessary). If nobody had ever written anything down, there would still be a Christian Church dating back to Christ. Catholicism would agree with this hypothetical; protestantism cannot.

Just generally, if you push sola scriptura to its own logical limit, not only did it not happen in the story of the New Testament itself; not only is it not mandated anywhere in the bible itself; it is in itself impossible just on paper. Impossible for human beings, who by nature come to know sequentially (unlike angels, whose minds know outside of time).

Although it is truly great, I would not recommend for your purposes Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. You need philosophy to do his theology, and I do not generally find Protestants to be in touch philosophically with the necessary first principles. A whole pre-study would have to be done before theological fruits could be examined. This is a patience that our 2000 year old Church has practiced, but the individual Protestant, alone in his theological universe, doesn’t have the inclination, tools, intellectual customs, or time to start where the beginnings are.

But if you want to bring Thomas Aquinas in, I might suggest his Summa Contra Gentiles. It is written less formally, more for the layman, and is just wonderful.

Blessings on you and your conversations with your family members. Hope this helps.

Excellent book. Here are some reviews.

Also, someone suggested the universal *Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition. *Anyone interested in Scripture, that is, how Scripture is used, should take a look at the Index of Citations beginning on page 689 following paragraph 2865. To understand the structure of the paragraphs in small print, one needs to first read CCC 20-21.

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