Top ten list


I’ve been spending a lot of time recently reading encyclicals and church documents, particularly the basic sixteen of V2. This got me thinking about a topic which might be of help for myself, as well as all the rest of us that are striving to be effective apologists. I wanted to come up with a top ten list (or top thirty-seven list, for that matter) of encyclicals, church documents, and homilies, etc., that any apologist worth his/her salt should be familiar with. If anyone cares too, post your favorite document(s) on this thread, along with a brief description of its focus (an online link to this would be great, too, if available) and why you think it is so important to be familiar with its contents. God bless.


I think EVERYONE ought to read this, Catholic or not

Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life) -by John Paul II, its on the value of life. Given in Rome on 3/25/95 (it addresses’ life, sex, abortion, euthanasia, the elderly, the dying and violence.)


Place of women in the Church:
Mulieris Dignitatem
Ordaination of Women:
Sacramentum Ordinis
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin:


God Bless,


Thanks guys. I’ll add Humanae Vitae to the list. Of course it is Paul VI’s encyclical on the regulation of birth:

In addition, I’d add all the documents of Vatican 2, which are avaible at any Catholic bookstore or online.


The Lettter of Ignatius of Antoch to the Church at Smyrna


They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer,(7) because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death(11) in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect,(13) that they also might rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that ye should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of(15) them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion[of Christ] has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved.(16) But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of evils. They are ashamed of the cross; they mock at the passion; they make a jest of the resurrection. They are the offspring of that spirit who is the author of all evil, who led Adam,(8) by means of his wife, to transgress the commandment, who slew Abel by the hands of Cain, who fought against Job, who was the accuser of Joshua(9) the son of Josedech, who sought to ''sift the faith"(10)of the apostles, who stirred up the multitude of the Jews against the Lord, who also now "worketh in the children of disobedience;(12)from whom the Lord Jesus Christ will deliver us, who prayed that the faith of the apostles might not fail,(14) not because He was not able of Himself to preserve it, but because He rejoiced in the pre-eminence of the Father. It is fitting, therefore, that ye should keep aloof from such persons, and neither in private nor in public to talk with(15) them; but to give heed to the law, and the prophets, and to those who have preached to you the word of salvation. But flee from all abominable heresies, and those that cause schisms, as the beginning of evils.


See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out[through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper(18) Eucharist, which is[administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

Ecclesia de Eucharistia

  1. The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church. In a variety of ways she joyfully experiences the constant fulfilment of the promise: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20), but in the Holy Eucharist, through the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord, she rejoices in this presence with unique intensity. Ever since Pentecost, when the Church, the People of the New Covenant, began her pilgrim journey towards her heavenly homeland, the Divine Sacrament has continued to mark the passing of her days, filling them with confident hope.

Naturally The CCC


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