Something I’ve been thinking about lately, based on a comment from Flannery O’Connor I read in the latest issue of First Things. Commenting on the Church’s Index of Prohibited Books (Index Librorum Prohibitorum), [which was abolished in 1966], O’Connor wistfully wrote, “If the Church were equipped with a reverse index which required that certain books be read…”
The U.S. military services have such required reading lists, ordered by the Marine’s rank and responsibilities, with books that each rank must read by order of the commandant. (Here, for example, is the current reading list for the USMC, from private up to general: usnaorbust.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/usmc-reading-list-revised/) The works include history of the Corps, leadership and management, military strategy and history, economics and cultural/area studies, and novels that exemplify the ideals of the USMC.
If there were a list of required reading for Catholics, obviously the Bible, the Catechism, and the encyclicals would be on there. We don’t have ranks in Catholicism as the military services do, but what books would you recommend for the formation of faith - works in theology, in Church history, in apologetics, literature, philosophy and so forth - as a required reading list for the following ages of Catholics?
6 to 13 years old
14 to 18 years old
18 to 21 years old
21 to 30 years old
31 and above.
Feel free to recommend up to 5 books in each range.