Book recommendations for investigating Catholicism


Happy Easter to you all! Hope you have having a blessed day rejoicing in our Risen Savior! :smiley:

Just to share some background: I’m the only person in my family who is Catholic back as far as I can track in the family tree. I converted 2 years ago at Easter Vigil and it has been the best choice I could have ever made. I feel like as much as I knew Christ as a Protestant being Catholic has broadened by understanding and love for Christ. I have lost nothing but gained the Sacraments of the Church and new layer of understanding Christ.

That being said I just found out the joyous news that my 20-year-old cousin, who I am very close to and I consider more like a brother, is considering converting to Catholicism. This is such a huge step for him considering he grew up in a very Methodist home and as a teenager became agnostic for a while. My family was not supportive of my conversion so I also know this will be met with opposition and this could be more severe for him than it was for me. His mother served as a missionary in college and both of his parents are heavily involved in their church. I know when I converted my aunt and uncle appeared supportive but I got the impression from others they felt differently when I was not around.

I was wanting to know what books would you recommend I get for him? I plan on getting him Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn but has anyone read anything else that helped their understanding of the faith?

Unfortunately I am 10 hours away so I cannot help him in person with this journey, but I know he is a reader and enjoys good theological debates about faith. Thank you for your help! :thumbsup:


I really liked My LIfe on the Rock by Jeff Cavins. It’s an easy read - and very moving. He was Catholic, left the Church and became Protestant… eventually became a Pastor… the book is about the truth that brought him back home to the Catholic Church.

I will pray for your cousin.

As one convert to another - Happy Easter! :slight_smile:


This is the Faith


Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie. :thumbsup:


I would strongly recommend Catholicism for Dummies.

I converted from Atheist with a relaxed Christian upbringing to Catholicism this Easter :) and I found that book invaluable.

Rome Sweet Home is a bit of a tough read for beginners, and it's not exactly a guide.

Catholicism for Dummies goes through the sacraments, teaching on "sticky issues" like abortion, the hierarchy of the Church - and gives you Bible references to back-up each teaching. It also shows you how to pray the rosary and some other useful things too - including a list of common Saints. :) It's written by some Priests and it has a statement at the front to say it is free from doctrinal error.


"Catholicism for Dummies" is one of the best books out there. :thumbsup: The "Surprised by Truth" books edited by Patrick Madrid are also very good. They are a collection of conversion stories and the reasons why people made the decision to enter the Catholic Church. There might even be a Methodist or two story.


Why Do Catholics Do That?


I learned a lot just by reading here on CAF.:thumbsup:


Thank you all so much for the help! I am definitely going to get him a copy of Catholicism for Dummies. My DH got me a copy of it and even still it is invaluable. It has helped me explain things my family in terms they understand and I've loaned it out a few times to my non-Catholic friends. I also still refer to it myself from time to time. I have heard great things about "Surprised by Truth" so maybe I will get him that as well instead of Scott Hahn.

I have suggested this website and Catholic Answers Live on the radio as he has a rather long commute when it comes on. I know I lurked on this site a lot when I was converting.

He lives in the Northern area of Dallas so I would like to know are there any Catholic activities for young people in the area I can suggest to him? I think it would be beneficial to have the ability to hang out with Catholics in the area his age when (and if) he is ready who understand and are patient with converts like him. Thank you again for your help! :)


Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating is a book that deals with a lot of the nitty-gritty issues. It was very helpful for me in my return to Catholicism! I also liked A Biblical Defense of Catholicism by Dave Armstrong.


I heartlily second the recommendation for CAF's own Karl Keating's Catholicism and Fundamentalism. It was instrumental in my own conversion. It has the advantage of being broken up into subject chapters, which means one can read the chapter on an issue that one is interested in, like the Eucharist, without starting from the beginning of the book. Depending on how much time your cousin has, that may be advantageous.


I'm not sure a convert from Methodism needs "Catholicism and Fundamentalism". For sure there would be useful parts, but much of the early part of the book is getting dated and the later parts are more focused on providing beleagered catholics some ammo for use against fundie attacks. A great book, to be sure and extremely timely for me back in the day (like an M60 machine gun at the Alamo), but perhaps not the right tone for this person unless you think the family is attacking him with ugly anti-catholicism.

I'm with the Dummies fans until / unless he's attacked. Just don't get the "Idiot's Guide to Catholicism" by mistake. Unlike the Dummies book, the Idiot one is accurately titled.


I agree, as usual, with you in principle, manualman, except that I am a convert from Methodism, and it was very beneficial for me. Of course you are right that it may be overkill depending on how the methodism is practiced in the cousin's family. I haven't read the Dummies book, so I do not have an opinion one way or the other.


If his parent s are missionaries then they may be more evangelical methodist than what some are thinking. I would suggest "Born Fundamentalist Born Again Catholic" by David Currie.


That’s the one I was going to recommend! :smiley:


Don't forget Patrick Madrid's "Surprised by Truth" series... short, true stories about converts to the Catholic faith.


After reading this thread I’m really leaning toward picking up Catholicism for Dummies. I made the mistake of picking up The Everything Catholicism Book (didn’t bother to link because it’s not worth it) back when I was starting to really get back into the Church. I put it away for a while before really getting a chance to read it. I got it back out today and was really ticked at the contents. Among other things, the authors claimed that the Church has really softened its stance on contraception, abortion and the death penalty in recent years. At the moment I can’t decide whether I’ll be taking this to a used book store or just pitching it in the trash.


I know a priest who keeps a copy of "Catholicism for Dummies." He said he was a little embarrassed when he bought it ("I wonder what that checkout girl was thinking!"), but that it really helps him in explaining the teachings of the Church. As a matter of fact, I may pick up a copy myself!


"Born Again Fundamentalists, Born Again Catholic" sounds like it might also be a good choice. His parents belong to the United Methodist congregation but it is a liberal congregation and more evangelical in nature. I think something that bridges that gap might be helpful.

Catholicism for Dummies was how I got through RCIA I love that book! I took it with me the first few times to Mass. I wonder though (because I've lent out my copy and do not know when I will get it back) how does it address the values of life from natural conception to natural death?

I am concerned about this because I know the Methodist church still approves of birth control and the death penalty. I know my cousin believes in the death penalty (not sure about BC) and I realize there are other things to understand before these teachings. I guess I'm just concerned about giving him a book that doesn't explain the church's teachings on life appropriately and then if he does decide to convert those teachings becoming a stumbling block. Is there a chapter that addresses these teachings and if not is there something I can provide that could give a basic introduction? :shrug:

Thanks again!


There are several books called "Surprised by the Truth." They were very helpful to me.. all sorts of different people's conversion stories. I'm certain there would be one or two to which your cousin could relate.

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