Reading List for Beginners

I was a Catholic for about 7 years. That was 30 years ago.
Never learned more than how to go to Confession and Mass.

In between then and now, I’ve been a Protestant and I’m fairly knowledgeable
on Protestant Doctrine and Apologetics.

Now I want to come back to the Church, but this time I want to do it right.

Most of the reading lists I find online are overwhelming.

So… if you had to suggest a dozen books (no more!) for someone who wants to learn the Faith, which books would be on that list?

What would you consider the 12 Essentials?

Gosh, that’s a lot of essentials. I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what this might mean.

For Catholics, there is exactly ONE essential: Christian Baptism.

By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God. [CCC 1263].

For anyone who has received Christian Baptism, but falls into mortal sin, there is exactly one additional essential: Sacramental Confession.

The Catholic Faith does not allow for any other mechanism that is considered essential for salvation. The one (or, in necessity, two) that I have cited are absolutely, 100% guaranteed to enable salvation.

Where do you possibly come up with twelve?

I would begin with Catholicism for Dummies. It is an excellent, easily read and understood reference on the Catholic faith. You may rely on it and refer to it for years to come.

Have you watched episodes of Marcus Grodi’s “Coming Home Network”? You can probably find episodes involving converts from your denomination or a similar one to yours, and their reasoning and thoughts will likely resonate with you. Scroll down the page to see the list of denominations.

Welcome home!

Here is a messy list of items, none of which is essential, which may have more than 12… the ones I would most highly recommend for beginning, in this order (which is not essential!!!), are Home, Sweet Rome (Hahn); Baltimore Catechism, and Radio Replies. Take your time over RR.

Catholicism for Dummies, Scott Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home and Keating’s Catholicism and Fundamentalism. Lots of great choices but these would be in a list of twelve.

Are there any particular subjects that you are struggling with? One suggestion would to read through the tracts in the CAF library.

Hello JustStarting!

I would say: the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Surprised by Truth series by Patrick Madrid, Four Witnesses; The Early Church In Her Own Words by Rod Bennett, the Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin, Catholicism for Dummies by Rev. John Trigilio…and I will add more if I think of anything! :slight_smile:

In addition to Catholicism for Dummies and Rome Sweet Home I suggest. …A Biblical Walk Through the Mass by Edward Sri. Scott Hahn has a book on confession that really helped me understand the whys. Steve Ray has many YouTube videos that compare protestant vs Catholic views, these were very helpful for me since I came from a protestant background. His talks about salvation were really helpful. There are some great tracts on this website as well. Once I began to really dig in all the answers just fell into place for me :slight_smile: enjoy your studies! For me this past year has been so exciting!

All the books suggested are catechesis and apologetics. I would instead start with something to help me draw closer to God.

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence is easy to read, sinple in its message, powerful when applied and inexpensive. This book will help you draw closer to God.

It is a collection of conversations with a simple seventeenth-century French Carmelite monk who, through the simplest of everyday activities, was able to achieve a profound intimacy with God. Brother Lawrence’s teaching has resonated with Christians for more than three hundred years


My once protestant husband is now Catholic from studying Catholic apologists on YouTube. He started watching them to be able to argue against them, instead they convinced him they were right :slight_smile:

Among the serious and weighty stuff (as essential as those are) I would like to suggest that you reserve one space on your list for a book to bring you nothing more than the sheer beauty and joy of Catholicism.

I’ve recommended this before (and will do so again with no apology)…Fr Robert Barron’s book “Catholicism”. If you can afford it, get the DVDs because then you get all the wonderful visual aspects as well, which are awesome.

A taster here:

And welcome home!! :smiley:

*]Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie was very good.
*]Fundamentals of the Faith by Peter Kreeft also very good.
*]Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel I liked a lot.
*]The Catechism is great.
*]I haven’t got it yet but I am looking forward to Essential Catholic Survival Guide, am hoping for this as a gift.:wink:

“In Soft Garments” by Msgr. Ronald Knox.

“Theology for Beginners” and “Map of Life” Frank Sheed.

“Catechism of the Catholic Church” (that may be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be read through at one shot.)


While discerning my conversion, I got 3 books. Catholicism for dummies; the cathechism of the catholic churc by the usccb; and a full catechism. The cathechism of the usccb is great and I love it, but It’s a distillation of the full cahechism. The chapter on the Blessed Mother of God explained it in a manner where my reservations about seeing Mary in the light as opposed to sloughing her away like back in my youth. I cannot recommend these enough. Also, read, or reread the Gospels; you’ll start seeing how biblical our Traditions really are.

YouTube has good resources as well. Look up Tim Staples and Peter Kreeft, they’re great speakers, also Scott Hahn!

God Bless!

Former AofG, Baptist; son of Methodist deacon.

Mr. Filmer: I asked for 12 BOOKS, not Sacraments… perhaps you misread my post? :smiley:

LOL… Catechism of the usccb? Talk to me like I’m a Protestant… :smiley:
What’s the usccb? Is there an online version?

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

The Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Picayune, Mississippi has a really nice Catholic Catechism online with a great search engine:

Tim’s suggestion on the book from Brother Lawrence is great, not taking anything away from the other ones but I did read that book before getting into the apologetic material.

Also, read the Bible every day, if you can help it and start praying the rosary again.

Go to confession and go to Mass as much as you can. Or just go to the Chapel when there is no Mass and just read the Bible, pray, or just sit there. If possible, go to Adoration and enjoy silent communion with our Lord.

Nurture your spirit first.

Welcome back Home.

He-he… oops, using acronyms bad form.

USCCB is the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Their distillation of the Catechism (CCC) is concise and easy to read. It has vignettes of Saints’ lives, doctrinal statements, common Catholic Prayers and if used in conjunction with the Full Catechism, it will prompt deeper study in what the Church teaches.:wink:

The United States Catechism of the Catholic Church for Adults can be found at Amazon Or your local Parish Bookstore.

The Catechism (of the Catholic Church; CCC) that I bought was from a used book store. When you see it cited CCC: 1849, for example, it’s in reference to a specific paragraph (#1849) in the CCC This one can be found online at This is from the website, but there are others; google is handy. Also, if you have an inkling, you can check there the Papal Encyclicals.

I started to discerned my choice to go Home to the Catholic Church since 2009 and it wasn’t until this August that I finally got into the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) I wish I would have started back in 2009, but I wanted to be absolutely sure that I was looking in the right place. Catholic Answers Radio show was a HUGE help for me in that discernment process.:thumbsup:

OOH! Before I forget, if you really want to know if you’re getting the real deal, look for the label that states NIHIL OBSTAT and/or IMPRIMATUR, that makes sure that someone has checked for adherence to Catholic Truth. (If I’m wrong on this or anything else, please someone correct me, charitably if you would.)

Again, welcome home!!

I have found the called to communion website helpful and they have a resources page also.

Their suggested reading list can be found here:

Also recommend if you have a commute the US Catholic Catechism for Adults on Audio CD.

Awesome topic! I have to expand my reading as well. Currently reading “Confessions of St. Augustine” as published by Ignatius Press – truly an incredible read. Also looking at Kempis’s “Imitation of Christ” a little bit at a time.

I really want to find St. Faustina’s diary in epub format.

I finished “Rediscovering Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly, which was pretty good. “Surprised by Truth” did a lot to push me back to the Church.

Sorry, I can’t make it to 12 just now.

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