"safe" Catholic books

I am very leary of reading any “Catholic” books that don’t have a nihil obstat or imprimatur for fear of being lead astray or into error. I was away from the Church for 20+ years for that same reason. I have some books that have “with ecclesiastical approval”; what is that and does that make it error-free? Also some books have both the nhil obstat and the imprimatur and some have only one or the other. Just exactly what do these terms mean and what are the rules for books to have one or the other or both?

Also, is the book “Jesus Christ, Catholic” a good book or a dangerous one?

I will not attempt to answer your technical question, but I will give you a source for totally trustworthy Catholic books.

Check out the bookstore and the Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan at www.cicdc.org.


“Nihil obstat” means “Nothing observed [that is objectionable]”.

“Imprimatur” means “Let it be printed.”

The only thing either one guarantees is that the person giving it liked the book.

That’s all.

In today’s day and age having either is practically worthless anyway given the moral decay in the hierarchy in the United States.

If it has a nihil obstat and imprimatur AND published prior to the 1960’s you’re probably in good hands.

Although I am not a big “wiki” fan, this page does a pretty good job of summing up answers to your quetions: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imprimatur

Three Qualifiers: #1 - just becuase a book has a N.O. / imprimatur does not mean the people who granted the N.O. or imprimatur agree with the author’s ideas or opinions.

#2 - Just because something has a N.O. does not mean it is worthy to be read.

#3 - If I recall correctly, the N.O. and imprimatur were required at one time (I actually believe it was covered under the old Canon), but they are not now. An author does not have to submit a work, and while you may at first blush think this is a bad thing, by only looking for the N.O. you will miss books by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Scott Hahn and some German guy who now lives in Rome ;).

My suggestion is to first, get your books from good sources. Fr. Corapi, Catholic Answers, FranciscanFriars.com, etc. Second, if you have a book and are unsure if it is a “good read”, ask about it here. You can be sure the folks here are never shy with their opinions (and most of them are right most of the time).

Full Disclosure Notice: Following is a rant not related to the subject thread:
Nice. Real Nice. Way to take a backhand swipe at our Bishops. Sure you did not strain a back muscle lifting that broad paintbrush you used? There was no “moral decay” before 1960? News Flash: The Church is full of sinners (I will be the first to raise my hand) and run by sinners - always has been and probably always will be till the Big Guy comes back, but a comment like this adds zero to the conversation at hand and just inflames jerks like me. No good Bishop since 1960 huh? Exactly what type of Roaary are you crusading for?

No, that’s not what it means. Nahil obstat means nothing is hindering the book doctrinally, Imprimatur is the go ahead for it to be printed. If a book has these, it doesn’t mean that the person who gave the declarations liked the book, it means that nothing in it is contrary to Catholocism and is therefore, safe to read.

I’m guessing one sans the Luminous Mysteries. He has yet to see the light. :slight_smile:

Don’t let him bother you. Really. Don’t. If you look at his other posts, you will see that he lobs off incidiary remarks.

Why are you so full of anger and ready to uncharitably put words in people’s mouths? I never said there hasn’t been a good Bishop since 1960. I just said what Mr. Angelica said years back (if memory serves me correctly) that the nihil obstat and imprimatur ain’t what they used to be. Do you disagree?

Sure, there will always be moral corruption - once again, I never said otherwise. Yes, there’s sinners in the Church - I can personally attest to that - but again, I never said that.

So what have I done to merit such a response from you?

Here is what I posted previously in a similar thread:

I agree with TheDoctor’s suggestion to start by getting your books from good sources. If you buy a book from the Catholic Answers bookstore, you can be pretty sure that it is not heretical.

I used to check for the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur right off the bat, but now I hardly notice whether a book has them or not. The more I learned, the easier it became to parse the good from the bad. When you’re reading, research the things that don’t look right to you. Give yourself some credit. :wink:

I have never heard of the book “Jesus Christ, Catholic”. Who is the author? I would definitely recommend Pope Benedict XVI’s book Jesus of Nazareth :thumbsup: (even though it lacks the nihil obstat and imprimatur ;)).

RC - quickly: I am so “full of anger” because I am Catholic and while not smart enough to understand all that the Church teaches, I do understand the men who have given up thier lives for us to be Her priests and I will defend the magisterium from what I preceive as a backhand slap. Be that as it may, this is not the stuff to argue in a thread. When I get home I will send you a PM to address your response and I apologize to anyone reading the thread if they were offended by my words.

Starting with The Doctor" in his rant this whole thread went off on a tangent and ended up in a sorry state. Why didn’t the moderators stop it before it deteriorated into something totally unrealted to the original issue of the nihil obstat and imprimatur. I am asking that the moderators close and lock this thread. Thank You.

For the bad rap the Index Librorum Prohibitorum got, it was a fairly decent guideline on the books to avoid, if one really wanted to avoid books the Church believed were harmful. While it was abolished in 1966, if it’s older books the O.P. is worried about, she may wish to look at this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_authors_and_works_on_the_Index_Librorum_Prohibitorum

Even though the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur are not perfect, they, at least, indicate that some Bishop approved of the book. Granted, there are some bad Bishops out there, but I believe it’s best to give them the benefit of the doubt (unless it’s from an infamous Bishop, or the book is lclearly wrong). Mostly, though, they are granted on books on doctrine, chruch teaching, etc. If there is a book that purports to explain Church teaching which does not have an imprimatur and nihil obstat, I would be a little leery about it.

With all due respect, I think you’re overstating things a bit. It was only two posts! Most threads here dream of having only two off-topic posts. :wink: Further, the moderators can’t be expected to step in and referee every single thread.

If you feel someone is breaking the forum rules and/or co-opting the thread, you can use the “report post” icon in the upper right-hand corner of the post in question. That’s what it’s there for. :slight_smile: I’m pretty sure the moderators are not able to read every single post nor every single thread, so don’t be too hard on them if they don’t catch something on their own.

Now, I guess I’ve gone off topic, but in my defense, I was only responding to comments made by the OP! :o

BTW, do you have an author for the book “Jesus Christ, Catholic” that you mentioned in the OP? I’ve looked on Amazon and googled it, but I can’t find a book with that title. Now I’m curious! :o

Thank you for your participation in this discussion.

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