Please recommend book/s that answer: "why we believe what we do?" and "why we do what we do?"


By “we” I mean Catholics. I’m looking for books geared towards college age and easy to understand. I’m looking for literature to solidify me in my faith.


Why do Catholics Do That? by Kevin Orlin Johnson is one of the best I’ve seen.

My Listmania on “The Historical Faith” has some others.


Hey there,

I know what you’re going through looking for books. It was a few years ago in my early 20’s that I started really reading about the Church and our Faith. I had a hard time at first sorting the good stuff from all the garbage you’ll find in the religion section of the big book stores. And at the Catholic stores, sorting out the easier books from the academically or theologically heavy ones.

You’ve got a lot of choices, and it depends on what angle you want to approach it from. For a while, I found it helpful and enjoyable to read conversion stories. In most of them, the author will talk about their background and why they disagreed with the Church, how they came to see what the Church really teaches and why it was right. Some good ones are:

Surprised By Truth - 3 volumes with about 15-20 stories each of people converting from every possible religious and spiritual background. Edited by Patrick Madrid

Rome Sweet Home - Scott and Kimberly Hahn. Pretty famous one, as Scott has written many books since, and gives two perspectives on this couple’s journey.

Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic - David B. Currie. Currie wrote this to his family and fundamentalist friends to help them understand his journey to the Catholic Church.

Other books I’ve found helpful are Scott Hahn’s books. Some like him, some don’t. Your mileage may vary. Hahn has a wealth of knowlege on Scripture, and explains Catholic teachings from the biblical standpoint. His writings are very accessible for those who are new to studying up on their faith. My favorites:

The Lamb’s Supper - on the Mass and the Eucharist
Hail, Holy Queen - on the Blessed Mother
Lord Have Mercy - the Sacrament of Confession
Letter and Spirit - on the purpose and meaning of Scripture

A few others I’ve found helpful:

Catholicism and Fundamentalism - Karl Keating. Keating takes common Protesant arguments against Catholicism and explains them thoroughly.

Why Do Catholics Do That? - Kevin Orlin Johnson. This is actually the first book on the faith I read that really helped me, and is usually the first one I recommend to anyone who wants a general overview of the Church and her teachings. Lots of topics, broken down into easy chapters.

If you’d like more recommendations, please PM me. Enjoy your reading!


I would highly recommend Catholic for a Reason and Catholic for a Reason II, both edited by Scott Hahn and Leon Suprenant (I believe there are also a III & IV, but I cannot speak to their content).

I took several classes from two of the authors, Dr. Edward Sri and Dr. Richard White, they are both incredible theologians. Also, my wife participated in a bible study with Dr. Sri’s wife, Beth. I would recommend anything he has written.


This is the Faith” by Canon Ripley, available from TAN Publishers.

VERY easy to read… open any page and learn something.

I have had a number of high school and young adults Catholics looking for something easy to read, easy to understand, and informative… it got to the point where I would buy in bulk to cut the cost. It is also available on MP3, which is kinda cool too.


I second this recommendation!! I LOVE this book. As a Catholic who grew up during the “warm, fuzzy Jesus” era of CCD, this book has really helped me fill in the gaps in my knowledge.


These books are the first ones that came to mind and I highly recommend them.


The crazy thing is that after I wrote my post I got in my car to get some groceries. When I turned the radio on, the first thing I heard was Bishop Bruskewitz recommending “Catholic for a Reason II” on Catholic Answers Live, wow! :hypno:


I suggest the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

:stuck_out_tongue: :thumbsup:


Catholicism for Dummies is also very good, easy to read and pretty easy to just look up a subject.


I wholeheartedly second This Is The Faith by Canon Francis Ripley. It can be found here:

edit: Unfortunately the above link is temporarily out of stock because they sold them all.

Check this link as they still have them, and for a cheaper price:


I own both of these, having received them for my birthday and Christmas, respectively, so I am reading them now. They’re both amazing.

“Why do Catholics Do That?” was a bit iffy when it spoke about rites and the new mass, having been written from a post-Vatican II mindset. Some of his info on those subjects is now out of date since Summorum Pontificum.

Other than that, i think both are amazing.

Also, check out, which has amazing apologetics and uses documents from many Church Fathers to explain Catholic teachings.


*On Being Catholic *by Thomas Howard is an excellent book as well.


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