Need To Teach Myself The Faith - Help!

First of all, I apologize if this is not the correct forum, however it would seem that you guys are the most knowledgeable on this topic.

To give you the basics, I live in a country (that I will not name for obvious reasons) where the faith, while not exactly dangerous, is not exactly accepted either. Because of the political and religious situation here the church is simply unable to offer conversion resources - no RCIA process, Catechumen instruction classes, or etc. They can offer the basics - baptism, confirmation - but nothing that would be viewed as overtly “promoting” conversion. Because of this, it will essentially fall on me to teach myself the faith. I can always go the priest for basic Q&As if need be, but it would be dangerous for him to offer anything more. Now, I’m not pressed for time here - another result of the situation is that there’s a pretty long mandatory waiting period before baptism - but the task still seems somewhat daunting. I’ve been mainly teaching myself until now through books (the essentials - The Bible, Catholicism for Dummies, The Catechism, Fulton J. Sheen, Scott Hahn, etc.) as well as through online resources and good old internet forums. But now that I’ve got the basics down, I’m wondering where to go from here, and have really no idea where to start. I was wondering what books or resources you guys would recommend for someone in the Catechumen process who’s interested in gaining a more advanced as well as some supplementary basic knowledge about the faith.

Thank you and God Bless!

My first thought is that, if you have studied the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, you are already better catechized than 90 percent of us.

I agree with the above poster, I think you’ve done a great job! As for more, look for books by St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, St. Frances de Sales, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI

If you are able to access the Catholic Answers podcasts or former shows or the EWTN live stream, I find most of the shows very informative - I especially love any of the Catholic Answers radio shows hosted by Jimmy Akin, Patrick Madrid, Trent Horn, or Fr. Vincent Serpa (all of the speakers are excellent, but I find they have a way of really making things accessible). I’ve also been to Jimmy Akin and Patrick Madrid’s respective websites and found lots of helpful articles and resources (as is the blog here).

In terms of EWTN, I really recommend Called to Communion (which also has a website, though I find it a little denser and more difficult to navigate) and Open Line (especially Monday, Wednesday and Thursday). There’s another show that I can’t remember the name of (I listen to it every day, but never catch the name) - it is essentially like a mission talk, with a very good, very engaging priest every day. I’ve found it really helpful in allowing me to take Church teachings and apply them in my life.

The benefit of these shows, for me, has been to give me “jumping off” points where I want to look further into the teachings of the Church. There is just so much out there that I’d be overwhelmed if I decided to start at the beginning and keep going. Instead, I get piqued to a certain topic - such as the Trinity - and then I go learn everything I can about it before moving on.

Hope that’s some help.

If you have access to the Catholicism series by Fr. Robert Barron it give a good introduction to the basics and some food for thought/continuing contemplation (and some very nice visuals).

The Catechism is good, but a bit dense at times, there are a couple of aids with it - there is Pope Benedict XVI’s Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church ( ) and in the US there is The Unites States Catholic Catechism for Adults.

Here are resources I made a list of. There is one app with a lot of resources, and two links to reading materials (Baltimore Catechism and Radio Replies). The rest are audio, downloadable MP3s which you can listen to on a computer or on a listening device.

My list may be superseded by this one :slight_smile:

new list

Forgot this one!!! Where I found John Rao’s talks :slight_smile:

May not work?


Quick articles I found helpful (or regretted not having sooner!) Handling people’s “drive-by” comments about the Church

About Discernment and decision-m

When has one prayed enough? Good advice and good comments too!

Librivox page of Douay Rheims readings Librivox is an organization of volunteer readers. This page has what they have recorded of the Douay Rheims, which seems to be the Deuterocanonicals and the NT–about the 9th one down right now–the link takes you to a page on which the downloadable, 1-hour parts are linked. Use the zip file if you are downloading to a computer. I don’t know how the zip file works on an iPod or similar. NEW: There is now a Librivox app for iPod at least. It is free.

Go ahead and search for other out-of-copyright books. They have quite a few of interest to Catholics, including several of GK Chesterton’s books :slight_smile: and Introduction to the Devout Life.

Mp3 audio Scriptural Rosary

A review of iPieta. Run a search for the version on your platform or search for it in your platform’s store if you want to get it.

Teacher’s edition of Baltimore Catechism which includes explanations

A page on which are linked the sections of several catechisms, including the current CCC, under the appropriate topic, so if you are studying one topic in one, you can easily find alternate explanations.

A note on the Baltimore Cathecism: this comes in several versions some of which are simplified for the use of children. I hope to find one page listing them all soon.

Radio Replies These were a series of collections of letters and answers to 2 Australian priests from the 1930s to the 1960s or so. These are excellent, and a bonus for me is I always feet like my mind has been sharpened up when I read them :slight_smile: Very thorough explanations of Catholic teaching, and often answering somewhat antagonistic questions and so an excellent resource for people who get a lot of questions about their Faith.

Sonitus Sanctus. A blog containing links to many online audio resources of interest to Catholics. Altho he has not posted very much since he married and had a baby, there was so much up there that it is also a wonderful resource.

Sermons in MP3 and podcast version on many Catholic topics. On the right, there are headings to where the sermons are sorted by topic, so this is helpful when learning.

Catholic ebooks, similar to Sontitus Santus above, only with Catholic e-books online.

Don’t be overwhelmed by all this; it is a list I have developed over the course of many years and should be considered as more of a library than a list of textbooks for one course.

If you have the basics down then learn to pray.

Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales is an excellent start. Better yet, find some monks and ask them to teach you how to pray.

Knowing the faith is not the same has having faith. Learn to talk with God.



After reading the resources above, what questions on the Catholic faith do you have at this point? Is there anything that you find confusing or uncertain about?

The questions above aside, you might want to “next” :

  • pick up a book and read about the lives of the Saints.
  • get the St. Ignatius Study Bible (New Testament only) and take the time to read the commentary as you re-read the NT for additional insights
  • read the bible timeline book with by Jeff Cavins and Tim Grey (it helps pull together the biblical narrative).

Many other good thoughts beyond those mentioned above but I highly recommend all the above for all Catholics.

:thumbsup: I agree. If more Catholics would realize how precious our faith is and how hard it is to be a Catholic Christian in many countries of the world where the mere practice of our faith can get you imprisoned or killed, maybe there would be few more people in the pews giving thanks for this gift!
Errham, may God bless you, you are on the right path! I will pray for your baptism and confirmation in the Catholic Church.

You could always read through the Catechism again. I’ve studied the faith quite a bit, but I constantly go back to the Catechism. It is a wonderful work.

You might opt to go through it slowly and stop at each footnote and investigate the primary sources. Actually, there is a book (The Companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church) which would make it easy for you to read through the Catechism this way. It definitely fleshes things out while you read. has lots of resources, too. They have the entire 1907-1914 Old Catholic Encyclopedia, the 37 volume Early Church Fathers collection, and St. Thomas Aquinas’ seminal Summa Theologica. There’s no shortage of stuff to read there. :stuck_out_tongue:

However, I do like Timothy’s suggestion the best. Drawing near to God in prayer is the best way to get to know Him better. These books can often facilitate that encounter. But we all need to take that step from head to heart (I’m not saying you haven’t done that already, but I’m just reiterating what we all need to be reminded of from time to time – myself most of all).

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