**By clicking on the below links (at least, the images of the books with the Amazon logos at the top), you can support my work through the "Amazon Associates" program.**
Island of the World: A Novel
by Michael D. O'Brien
This is my favorite novel of all time. Honestly, it is. It is heart-wrenching and joyful. I laughed and I cried (really). Takes you from the highest of heights to the lowest of lows and back again. Beautiful.
Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger)
Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives
by Pope Benedict XVI
This was my favorite volume of his "Jesus of Nazareth" series.
Introduction to Christianity
by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Author)
This is not really an "introductory" book as the name would have you believe. haha. It is quite deep and theologically heavy, at times. A wonderful work, which was one of the first real theological works that I read back when I was a teenager.
Spirit of the Liturgy -- Commemorative Edition
by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Author), Romano Guardini (Author)
One of the most important books in understanding the question of the liturgy. I found nothing in this book with which I disagreed with. Ratzinger (P. Benedict XVI) is truly one of my heroes, and this book is one of the most riveting of his that I have read. It should be read alongside Dr. Peter Kwasniewski's works to give an opposing opinion from Dr. K's own. Dr. K has many kind words to say about Ratzinger, but also ends up disagreeing with him on some key points, in the end.
Introductory Theology/Apologetics Texts
Theology and Sanity (Illustrated)
by F. J. Sheed (Author), Aeterna Press (Editor)
This book by Frank Sheed was one that I read while I was in the religious life. It was an easy book to read, but yet very deep. It gives one a great grounding in apologetics and being able to see "the forest for the trees" in Catholic theology and life in general.
by Plato (Author), Benjamin Jowett (Author)
A must read in understanding the basics of Ancient and Medieval philosophy -- and therefore understanding Catholic Theology.
The Basic Works of Aristotle (Modern Library Classics)
by Aristotle (Author), Richard McKeon (Editor)
A must read for anyone serious about philosophy and the intellectual side of their Catholic faith.
Below is a link to my playlist on the Franciscan School of Theology:
The Ordinatio of Blessed John Duns Scotus
Translated by Peter L.P. Simpson
The below are free PDF versions which can be found online.
^^These are the only english translations that I know of that can be found online.
Breviloquium (Works of St. Bonaventure, Vol. 9)
by St. Bonaventure (Author), Dominic Monti (Author), Robert J. Karris (Editor)
This book is the first I would recommend when reading St. Bonaventure's books. It gives an overveiw of his theological outlook and an introduction to his style. It is basically his version of a Catechism. It is deep. So deep, that I created a video about it, which you can find below.
Francisco de Osuna: The Third Spiritual Alphabet (Classics of Western Spirituality (Paperback))
by Francisco De Osuna (Author), Mary E. Giles (Translator), Kieran Kavanaugh (Preface)
This is one of the most powerful spiritual works I have ever read. I loved it so much that I created a YouTube video giving a reveiw of it, which you can see below.
The Jerusalem Bible: Reader's Edition
This is my personal favorite translation of the Holy Scriptures. It is not the most literal translation, but I think it is the one which is most conducive to contemplation -- out of those translations of the Scriptures which I have read. It is also laid out in a way without columns (just like a novel or work of classic literature), which makes it superbly easy to read. The footnotes and cross-references are also wonderful.
The Papacy & The Magisterium
The Papacy: Revisiting the Debate Between Catholics and Orthodox
by Erick Ybarra (Author)
I have not personally read this one yet, but it is on my "must read" list.
Creative Fidelity: Weighing and Interpreting Documents of the Magisterium
by Francis A. Sullivan (Author)
This is really a wonderful work which gives one a clearer understanding of how the Catholic Church's Magisterium works and how one can go about interpreting Magisterial documents. This is a must read if one is attempting to learn more about the Magisterium.
You can also find this book for free here: https://archive.org/details/creativefidelity0000sull
The Authoritative Weight of Non-Definitive Magisterial Teaching
A doctoral dissertation by: Lawrence Jerome King
This was simply an amazing work. I learned so very much from Dr. King's dissertation. It gives a ton of clarity as to how to interpret non-definitive Magisterial teachings (those teachings described in the concluding 3rd paragraph of the 1989 Professio Fidei. He particularly gives a very good analysis of the question of Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus and the Council of Florence on pages 90, 312, and (especially 426-429).
This dissertation can be accessed publicly in PDF form at the below link.
** There is no Amazon link with this work, because it is not sold anywhere that I could find. The only place I could find it was for free at the above link. If you find this book helpful, please try to contact Dr. King and thank him!
Disputed Questions on Papal Infallibility
by John P Joy (Author)
This book is wonderful. It explains a lot about how the Pope's charism of infallibility works, and gives numerous examples of infallible teachings -- not simply those of the definitions of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary.
The Gift of Infallibility (Bishop Gasser's Relatio)
by Bishop Vincent Gasser and edited with commentary by Fr. James O'Conner
Just finished listening to "The Gift of Infallibility" by Bishop Vincent Gasser and edited with commentary by Fr. James O'Conner. It was truly a wonderful read. Gasser gives a great background and commentary on the First Vatican Council through his "relatio," and O'Conner gives a great commentary on Gasser.
Gasser gives a clearer definition of "faith and morals," what the Council meant by defining the dogma of Papal Infallibility, and so much more.
O'Conner discusses questions like "What should a Catholic do if they feel the need to disagree with a non-infallible doctrine proposed by the Magisterium?"
You can find this one free here: https://archive.org/details/giftofinfallibil0000gass/mode/1up
The Mass/The Liturgy
The Reform of the Liturgy, 1948-1975
By: Archbishop Annibale Bugnini
A free version of Annibale Bugnini's "The Reform of the Liturgy, 1948-1975" can be found here: https://archive.org/details/reformofliturgy10000bugn/mode/1up
A free Downloadable PDF of Annibale Bugnini's "The Reform of the Liturgy, 1948-1975" can be found here:
The Mass: The Presence of the Sacrifice of the Cross
By: Charles Cardinal Journet (Author), Victor Szczurek O. Praem. (Translator)
A deep, deep spiritual work which gives you deep theology at the same time. It draws you in and leads you into contemplation, even when you can barely understand what Journet is saying because he is so intelligent.
The Once and Future Roman Rite: Returning to the Traditional Latin Liturgy after Seventy Years of Exile
By: Dr. Peter Kwasniewski (Author)
*I recommend this book with some caveats. I disagree with a number of things that Dr. K discusses in his book (mainly, the nature of Papal Authority over the Traditional Latin Mass), but I do think this is an important book for Catholics to be acquainted with, and I am happy to support him even if I disagree with him. I believe that it is important for us to even read the books of those we disagree with; so that we can actually form a reason to disagree with them. It gives really wonderful arguments for why we should strive (as a whole Church) to guide the liturgy back to the Traditional Latin Mass. I also found his arguments for eventually going back to the pre-1955 liturgy to be very helpful and enlightening.
True Obedience in the Church: A Guide to Discernment in Challenging Times
By: Dr. Peter Kwasniewski (Author)
*I recommend this book with some caveats. I disagree with a number of things that Dr. K discusses in his book (mainly, the nature of Papal Authority over the Traditional Latin Mass), but I do think this is an important book for Catholics to be acquainted with, and I am happy to support him even if I disagree with him. I believe that it is important for us to even read the books of those we disagree with; so that we can actually form a reason to disagree with them. The first half of the book gives very good guidelines for discernment of when we can disobey ecclesiastical authorities. I had no problem with that first part, and even learned some things. The second half of the book goes mostly into Dr. K's applications of this obedience, and he argues that we can therefore disobey P. Francis' Motu Proprio Traditionis Custodes; which is a conclusion I currently disagree with.
History of the Liturgy: The Major Stages
by Marcel Metzger
This book was not my favorite. It was actually a really disappointing book for me. There were only a couple of points that peaked my interest or were new to my ears. It did not seem very well sourced, either, which is always a dissapointment. Additionally, he seems to have a liturgically "progressive" bias which is always frustrating when reading history (I mean, clear bias in general is frustrating -- not just progressive bias).
But, I have it linked here for you anyway, if you would like to read it.
There is also a free version to be found here: https://archive.org/details/historyofliturgy0000metz
"The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy."
by Fr. Adrian Fortescue
It was amazing. Very informative as to the subject of liturgical history. Please pray for the repose of his soul (1874-1923). He was an incredibly intelligent man, and a handsome one, at that -- the below picture is from when he was 23 years old! I hope to meet him one day on the other side of the veil.
You can also see some more negative opinions of his book in the comments section of a Facebook post I made, which is embedded below.
A History of the Council of Trent Volume I: The Struggle for the Council
by Hubert Jedin (Author)
This is only the first volume. There are 4 volumes...2400 pages in total. Super epic. At the time of writing this (02/04/2023), I am only 260 pages into the book. Jedin hasn't even made it to the Council of Trent yet; he is still doing historical context (basically from the Great Western Schism to Luther). It is one of the most thorough history books I have ever read.
You can find this book for free on Archive.org, as well, here: https://archive.org/details/historycounciltr00jedi
Does “Traditionis Custodes” Pass the Juridical Rationality Test?
by Fr. Réginald-Marie Rivoire FSVF (Author), Fr. William Barker FSSP (Translator)
I thought it was wonderful, overall, and would recommend it to any Catholic willing to think deeply and critically about this topic.
Alas, I still remain to be unconvinced of a couple of key points*; but I have the utmost respect for those who make them, namely:
1. That the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) cannot be abrogated, and
2. that the Novus Ordo is a separate Liturgical Rite from the TLM.
All in all, I found the vast majority of the book to be very insightful. I really want to reflect more deeply upon the points the author makes about Bishops being able to canonically dispense their priests from obedience to universal law** (and thus the disciplinary decrees within "Traditionis Custodes"). If it is a legitimate claim, I think it would be a very pastoral solution to a very un-pastoral situation.
The conclusion at the end was incredibly hopeful for the future of the TLM in the Catholic Church, which I found to be a beautiful way to end such a technical book.
This was the first book I have read which really got into canon law -- and it was awesome.
Thanks to Dr. Peter Kwasniewski for recommending it to me.
*See p. 66 for an example of where he claims the above two points.
**see Can. 87 in the 1983 Code of Canon Law and pg. 18 in the book.