How do i determine if authors are in communion with the teachings of the catholic church or dissidents?
In book, look for an imprimateur and/or nihil obstat.
Imrpimateur means that a bishop has determined there is nothing contrary to the faith. The nihil obstat means a priest or bishop has determined there is nothing morally offensive in the book.
I check out the publisher as well. Some authors are advertised as Catholic, but when you begin reading, they are Catholic in name only and their book is more a criticism of the church. I have stopped buying religious books in the mainstream bookstores and now buy at Catholic bookstores and online with Catholic publishers. Also, EWTN has a great number of books, and you can be sure they are faithful to the church.
Just remember imprimaturs and nihil obstats are not perfect, they’re only as good as the bishop who puts them out. There’ve been books that shouldn’tve be given them, given them, and even used in the seminaries. So don’t rely on them too much – a good sign, but fallible.
I’ll say this though – if it’s by a saint, buy it, read it! And make these your first priority.
Just look for an imprimatur or nihil obstat. That usually means that the book is free of doctrinal error.
Can you provide some examples where these cannot be trusted?
Here’s an example, but I would generally note, if you know the bishop himself has problems – well, what are you going to expect? Catholic education is in complete collapse at the current time, even bishops who intend to serve the Church faithfully in such matters can easily make genuine mistakes themselves and in their choice of reviewer.
I wish I could remember the name of the theology text that was a basic textbook for seminary students for years that was removed, but it has completely slipped my mind. Probably because it was so awfully written generally, and it’s been ages since I thought about it.
Not that, if I went to some random seminary today, I am not certain I would find some books only properly found in the ‘Hell’ section being used as authorities.
From what I have read “Anne, the Lay Apostle” who was living in Ireland at the time, recieved an Imprimator from a Bishop in the Phillipines.
Get very familiar with the teachings of the Catholic Church and keep a copy of the Catechism handy to refer to if you’re in doubt of any teaching.
The BIG RED FLAG that helps me identify most dissidents today are disagreement with the Church on sexual issues, such as contraception and/or abortion. Sexual matters are the big issue for our time. Even those who go to the other extreme will often disagree with the Church on sexual matters, swinging in the opposite direction such as those who dispute a legitimate use of NFP.
Dissidents usually write material that agrees with the Church sometimes and in some areas, and you can cautiously learn some things from them. As the saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. But I say cautiously because if you don’t know what the Church really teaches, you may fall for lies slipped in between truths.
Check the web site:
Our Lady’s Warriors
I was just there recently. We have started a library in our parish, and from time to time I have to weed out books that appear on the shelves. If you like, PM me and I will email you the list I have been keeping.
Many authors can be found by doing a “google” or “goodsearch” like this:
(author’s name) Call to Action
If the person has spoken at a CTA conference, you’ll get some hits. CTA is a large group and it is made up of dissenters.
There sure are a lot more coming out of the woodwork these days, it seems. CTA is also behind a lot of the “Alinsky-style” community interfaith organizations. They are all about building power for their organization, which is politically affiliated, but they kinda hide that. For more on this, go to Catholic Media Coalition
Roman Catholic Faithful
Hope that helps!
So, other than this rather famous single example, you have a long list of others?
What, do you want me to go down to my local parish library and make a list out for you?
That would be a good start. A list of books whose imprimateur has been withdrawn would be an important resource. So yes, please.
Oh, as well as a list of book with imprimateur which are contrary to the faith would also be important. However, to make such a claim, you must be able to cite, in context, where the faith is contradicted and the specific heresy or apostasy. Such things like claiming that kissing is a sin or that a near occasion of sin is a sin is NOT part of the moral law of the Church so be careful as you tend to be over-rigourous.
So yes, please provide the list.
It’s my recollection that virtually EVERY youth catechetical program except “Faith & Life” had to be at least mildly (and some substantially) reworked after the Catechism of the Catholic Church was initially published and the youth programs reviewed to check orthodoxy against the catechism. By definition, ALL catechesis programs need an imprimatur and nihil obstat.
These, then, would all be examples of texts that had problems in spite of the imprimaturs.
Given that there is an increasing amount of liberalism and secular humanism running amuck in many Catholic seminaries and universities where mainstream theology is taught these days; I would weigh on the side of discerning prudence when choosing which spiritual Catholic books to purchase and read.
Decades ago it was VERY difficult for many Catholic books put into publication to have an Imprimatur or nihil obstat approval which was for the most part overseen by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Today; Imprimatur’s and nihil obstat’s are granted permission as easily as a rubber stamp. Not all such books are error free from doctrine.
Some Catholics publishers you can trust without question. Tan Books being one of them.
Another good way of knowing an author teaches in communion with the Catholic Church is if the Catholic Church has canonized the person. Seriously, I encourage Catholics read the writings of the saints.
I’ve just spent hours looking up authors on line for my parish library, and I found this thread. I agree that the imprimaturs are not always reliable, especially since there are some cases where they are removed (Wilhelm’s CHRIST AMONG US). I usually do a search with the author’s name and one of the following words: heterodox, dissent, liberation, feminist, homosexuality, magisterium… It’s amazing how much you can find out with just a few key words!
Now I just have to figure out what to do with this HUGE stack of heretical books. They’re not even worthy of a used book shop - I wouldn’t feel right about distributing them for others to read. I’ll have to see what Father wants me to do with them.
Books are biodegradable.