List of top Catholic Books?

I’m trying to educate myself about topics related to the faith so that I can defend the faith and expand my knowledge in general.
I’m wondering does a list or lists exist of the best Catholic literature on topics like apologetics, Church history, Catholic fiction, writings of the saints/doctors, and also unbiased science books.
If not I’m generally just open to suggestions from anyone.


I have a theological reference library that cost me thousands of dollars, which mostly gathers dust, thanks to the Internet. Even my Bible is seldom opened, because I can more quickly find what I’m looking for online (in English, Hebrew, Greek, and 40 translations, cross-referenced with multiple dictionaries, lexicons and commentaries). My massive Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, for which I paid $300 (really), which was once always on my desk, has not been opened in years.

The one reference that remains always on my desk is William Jurgens three-volume set, The Faith of the Early Fathers. It has exerepts from hundreds of early Church documents, but - best of all - it has a doctrinal index linking to the passages. Want to know what the Early Fathers wrote about baptism by heretics? It’s there. And, by the way, Jurgens cites passages which both support and oppose the doctrine (the Fathers were not unanimous, and most of them opposed the particular doctrine I cited).

What I have said applies to reference books (books that you use to look up stuff, but not just read). There are many great books worthy of reading cover to cover, which Google will never replace. I could name several, but I will name just one, to illustrate how invaluable I think it is. It is The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Dr. Scott Hahn. This was a gift from my brother (a priest), and it absolutely blew me away. My wife read it, and it absolutely blew her away. No book has ever astonished and enlightened me as this book did.

Don’t be sorry you have such a wonderful library. Books are a wonderful thing. I have had to sell many cherished books to raise money and it is like a piece of my soul goes with each book.

here’s the list compiled by goodreads

it’s by no means comprehensive, but a good place to start

That is a great list! Thank you!

It’s an EXCELLENT list. I’m happy to see that the book I recommended was second in the list, behind only the Catechism. I’m also happy to see our friends Keating and Madrid, as well as other fine works by Dr. Hahn.

The one book I was surprised to see is Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross. This is a very advanced book of Catholic mysticism. If someone wants to take this on, s/he should be under the direction of a Spiritual Adviser who is well acquainted with Carmelite spirituality, and s/he should have already read, at least, Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Interior Castle, and The Way of Perfection by St. Theresa of Avila and Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius of Loyola (read that one first). Anyone who reads Dark Night unprepared and unguided will probably do himself more harm than good.

Beginning Apologetics

The One-Minute Apologist by Dave Armstrong
Cathollicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating (founder of Catholic Answers)
Catholicism for Dummies by Fr. John Trigilio and Fr. Brent Brighenti (silly title, excellent book)

Intermediate Apologetics

A Biblical Defense of Catholicism by Dave Armstrong
The Catholic Verses by Dave Armstrong
The Biblical Basis for the Catholic Faith by John Salza
The Biblical Basis for the Papacy by John Salza
The Biblical Basis for Purgatory by John Salza
The Biblical Basis for the Eucharist by John Salza
Upon This Rock by Stephen K. Ray

Advanced Apologetics

Not by Faith Alone by Robert Sungenis
Not by Scripture Alone by Robert Sungenis
Not by Bread Alone by Robert Sungenis


Theology for Beginners by Frank Sheed

Reference Books

The Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition)
Catechism of the Catholic Church (the print edition has a scripture index which is very useful)

Conversion Stories

Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn
Lead Kindly Light by Thomas Howard
Evangelical is Not Enough by Thomas Howard
**Surprised by Truth **by Patrick Madrid (contains 11 shorter conversion stories)
Crossing the Tiber by Stephen Ray

I’ll just list the books that were instrumental in bringing me into the catholic faith.
Eusebius’ the History of the Church
Philip Hughes a Popular History of the Catholic Church
Louis de Montfort True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
And pretty much anything by Jerome.

Seems kind of unnecessary to mention the Bible, but, haha, yeah that too :confused:

For every book written since 1900 you read, read one from before 1600 written by a Catholic Doctor, Saint, or Church Father. :thumbsup:

Thanks for your list and welcome to Catholic Answers.

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