When I say this I am not referring to the books which Catholics accept that Protestants don’t, but more so books which were in the Greek Septuagint which are accepted by all or some Orthodox traditions, such as 1 and 2 Esdras (3 and 4 Esdras in Latin Vulgate as Ezra-Nehemiah are 1 and 2 in Latin Vulgate), 3 and 4 Maccabees, Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151? From my understanding the canonical books are used for liturgy, however would the church place these books which were in the Septuagint on a higher level than say the “New Testament Apocrypha” which most believe are pseudiographical in nature and almost heretical in the churches view?
They are good for edification, but don’t assume doctrine derives from them. Some of the Eastern Catholic Churches traditionally have these books in their Bible as their Orthodox counter parts do. Historically, the NT “apocrypha” is simply Gnostic writings, therefore unacceptable.
There can be critical justification for reading any ancient literature but you have to be strong enough in your Faith so as not to be misled. Regarding *3rd and 4th Esdras *and Prayer of Manasses they were in fact placed in an appendix in the Old Sixto-Clementine Vulgate.
Jimmy Akin responds to this question:
When it comes to NT Apocrypha, are these books still valid reading material even though they didn’t make it into the bible?
in this Catholic Answers Live Podcast at 35:58 minutes.