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u/DKowalsky2 · 1 pointr/Catholicism

First of all, I appreciate you asking direct questions. An honest pursuit of Truth means really poking and prodding all of these tough topics and hearing what the Church has to say about them, so kudos. Your questions do not come off brash, at all.

I wish this thread had come out at the beginning of Lent, because the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology allowed for free access to their 12-part video series, The Bible And The Virgin Mary. It's still available to rent for $20 total, but they were opening two videos per week throughout Lent for all who signed up. Scott Hahn, who heads up the St. Paul Institute, also wrote a book some years back which parallels the content from the video series, called Hail Holy Queen. It can be had used on Amazon for between $5 and $10 (or $12, Prime shipping) and in my opinion is a must-read for anyone investigating the Marian doctrines in Scripture, coming from a Protestant background.

One last good resource - a YouTube video called The Truth About Mary In Scripture which briefly goes over the Old Testament and New Testament parallels and would be a good primer on why many of the beliefs the Catholic Church hold true about Mary weren't "pulled out of thin air."

Now, beyond providing resources, my personal response on the matter. We know from Scripture that Mary's soul magnifies the Lord (Lk 1: 46-47). We also know that the prayers of a righteous person have great power (Jas 5: 16). So, if we can make the leap to accept that Christ does not have two bodies - a heavenly and an earthly, which are separated - and has but one Body (as St. Paul notes many times) then it follows that seeking the friendship and intercession of those in heaven who are no longer mired from the effects of sin would be greatly advantageous to all of us. After all, we know that nothing unclean may enter heaven (Rev 21: 27) so those in the heavenly realm would be the epitome of those (the righteous) whose prayers will have great power, as the reference from St. James' letter attests.

As this relates to our earthly lives, we Christians go through this life looking for pastors we can trust, friends with whom we can form bonds, pray, and study the Scriptures with, in hopes that the examples of their Godly lives will bring us closer to Christ, right? As Catholics, we recognize not only that family, but a much bigger family of all the Saints in heaven who are just as eager, and infinitely more able, to help us along that path with their prayers and guidance.

How does all this relate to the Blessed Mother, and why does she receive honor that is over and above that of even the other Saints in heaven? It's precisely because of the work God did in her, and her unique relationship to each Person of the Trinity. That she is the only one of our kind who can claim to be a daughter of God the Father, the Mother of God the Son, and (in a sense) the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Of all the possible ways that our Savior could have deigned to come to earth, He chose to do so in the womb of a humble Virgin.

As a personal testimony, even as a cradle Catholic, it took me a long time and a lot of study to understand the Marian dogmas and why they are true, and ultimately to fall in love with our Blessed Mother. But one doesn't fall in love with dogmas and teachings, one falls in love with persons. Prior to my engagement to my now-wife, I began offering the Rosary daily for the grace of chastity - at the time to combat a longstanding temptation toward pornography use and self-abuse associated to that. I did this after seeing a quote from Bishop Hugh Doyle - "No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary". Within six months, that temptation was gone entirely and, thanks be to God, has not shown any signs of returning. As a result, I was able to enter into marriage with a clear conscience regarding that sin, and be better prepared to lead my wife. We'll be married 10 months tomorrow, and I've continued that practice of praying the Rosary daily since beginning it sometime around January 2016.

Did this small miracle happen because Mary could do something that Jesus couldn't? No. I'm of the firm opinion that it's because Jesus gave me the gift of His Mother (just as He did to the Apostle John at the foot of the cross, and just as He offers to each of us) to help cut down my pride and make room for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to work in a way that I was incapable of previously. Her soul magnified the Lord for me in a way that I couldn't do on my own, even with Jesus offering grace in abundance as He always does. She held my hand and patiently led me to what He had in store for me all along.

So, after that incredibly long-winded post, my heartfelt recommendations for you:

  • Keep asking questions just as you are, and pour over the best resources given to you on the topic of Mary. Be critical of them. I've included some that I feel are worthwhile earlier in my post.

  • Pray to Jesus, asking Him about the role (if any) that His Mother should have in your life - something like "Lord, do you desire for me to know Your Mother? Will forming a relationship with Her magnify You, as the Scriptures say, or will it cloud my relationship with You and draw me further from You?".

  • Perhaps read and reflect on Revelation 12. If you believe that "the male child brought forth to rule all nations with a rod of iron, caught up to God and His throne" (Rev 12: 5) is Jesus Christ, then it follows that the mother in this situation can (in one sense) be a depiction of Mary. Later in the chapter, it refers to "the rest of her offspring, those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus (Rev 12: 17). Do those statements reflect your purpose in this life? If so, then you, too, are a beloved son/daughter of Mary. Something to consider.

    Thanks for being patient during my stream of consciousness, and know that you're in my prayers. Feel free to PM with any questions, too. Peace to you.
u/OmegaPraetor · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

First of all, welcome back, brother. I am especially touched that your fiancée would even suggest to find a Catholic Church. (As an aside, you're not a convert; you're a revert since you're already baptized into the Church. I thought maybe you'd appreciate that factoid.)


>I am looking for information about your Church, whatever you think is important to know.

There is a lot to know and many here would recommend a million and one things to study, especially since it sounds like you enjoy a good intellectual pursuit. I'm not going to discount others' recommendations, but I do want to highlight one thing: learn more about Jesus first. Find out what He taught, who He is, what His disciples and closest friends said about Him, what the Old Testament said about Him, etc. To that end...


>I am looking for recommendations for a Catholic-approved version of the Bible, geared towards someone who appreciates philosophy and prefers something close to the original translations, or the most accepted by the Church.

First thing to note, all Catholic Bibles have 72 books. Protestants have 66. If you can't get a hold of a Catholic Bible, a Protestant one will do for now until you do get around to buying a Catholic one. Now, as for Catholic Bibles, if you speak/read Latin you can't go wrong with the Vulgate Bible. It's a Bible that was translated by St. Jerome who was fluent in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin; he had the original manuscripts -- some of which are lost to us today -- so his translations are widely accepted as authentic and faithful.

There's also the English version of the Vulgate Bible known as the Douay-Rheims. It's an almost word-for-word translation of the Latin so the English will sound archaic to our modern ears. It's not as frustrating as, say, reading Shakespeare but it's pretty close. I personally prefer (and currently use) a Douay-Rheims Bible that has the Clementina Vulgata beside it. It's essentially Latin and English side by side. You can find one here.

If want one with plain English, the New American Bible Revised Edition would suffice. (If you use this website, let me know. I have a discount code from my last purchase.)


>I know nothing of the culture or norms of the Church, or what to expect as a new member.

One major rule to remember is that you can't receive Holy Communion until after you've gone to Confession. Given your situation, I would recommend setting up an appointment with a parish priest so he can give his full attention to you and your needs.


>I do not know how to introduce myself to the congregation

There's usually no need to introduce yourself to the congregation since parishes tend to be big. If you would like to formally introduce yourself, however, give the parish priest a call and set up a meeting with him. It would also be a great chance to speak with him about your situation and get some pastoral guidance.


>or tell a good Catholic church from a lesser one

Many here would recommend a more traditional parish. If that's not available, I'd say any Catholic church would do. If you're unsure about a particular church's standing, just give us the details on this sub. I'm sure someone here would be able to double check for you.


>I know nothing of the Saints or the miracles, or what has been confirmed by the Church and what hasn't.

These are things you can learn later on. Focus on Jesus first. Rebuild your relationship with Him. Start with the basics; if you don't, you might burn yourself out. There is A LOT to learn about the Faith. Some say it's a lifelong endeavour. :P


>I am also looking for a reading list to explore Catholic philosophy beyond those you typically encounter in standard philosophical reading, such as Aquinas or Pascal.

Hmmm... this depends on what sorts of things interest you. A good one that lightly touches on philosophy is Socrates Meets Jesus by Peter Kreeft (anything by this guy is pretty good, by the way).

A book that may be more pressing to your current situation is Why Be Catholic? by Patrick Madrid and Abraham Skorka, Why We're Catholic by Trent Horn, as well as Why I am a Catholic by Brandon Vogt. (They might need to work on a more original title, though :P) Since you have an Evangelical background, Crossing the Tiber by Steve Ray might be helpful (although it can be a bit dry; also, it mostly deals with the Church's teaching on Baptism and the Eucharist) as well as Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn.

You can never go wrong with classics such as a collection of C. S. Lewis' works, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, The Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton, and Confessions by St. Augustine.

If you want a historical examination of Jesus and the Early Church, a good place to start is The Case for Christ by Brant Pitre, The History of the Church: From Christ to Constantine by St. Eusebius, and The Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin. I'd like to thrown in Jesus, Peter, and the Keys by Scott Butler, Norman Dahlgren, and David J. Hess. This last one pertains to the Catholic claim regarding the papacy (and which I think is one of the strongest arguments in favour of the Catholic Church being the original one that the Lord founded).

Finally, there are YouTube channels you can follow/binge watch such as Bishop Robert Barron and Ascension Presents. Also, an amazing video about the Catholic Faith is a series made by Bishop Barron when he was "just" a priest called Catholicism.

I'm sorry if that's overwhelming but you raised some good questions. :P Anyway, I imagine it may be a lot right now so take it slowly, don't dive in through all of it at once. Find a local Catholic church, call up the priest, set up a meeting, then take it from there. And remember, you can always pray; God's always willing to talk with you.

u/MagicOtter · 21 pointsr/Catholicism

Former fedora atheist here. For a long time, I felt like I belonged to the "skeptical, rational, atheist" tribe. But at one point I became disillusioned with the crowd, and realized that I no longer want to be part of it. I started looking for alternatives, groups I'd want to be a part of, and I settled upon Catholicism. I first approached it from a purely secular perspective, as a serious and reliable institution. But I ended up accepting the faith and God as well.

Here's my progression, what drew me in more and more:

I. The intellectual life. I was always fascinated by science. It was interactions with promoters of dishonest creationism (usually evangelicals) that originally pushed me towards rejecting religion and to become a militant atheist.

Then I read a book that changed how I view the relation between Church and science: God's Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science. I now follow @catholiclab and similar profiles on Twitter, which post interesting facts about Catholic scientists. It's simply astounding how this information is completely absent from contemporary popular culture.

II. Just on an emotional level, feeling "closer" to Catholics. It helped that my family is Catholic. On YouTube, I've watched many videos by Bishop Robert Barron, Fr. Mike. They are very lucid and reasonable in addressing contemporary issues. I'm sure there are many others.

I'm also reading biographies of martyrs who died persecuted in modernity by revolutionary ideologies. My TODO reading list includes books by Thomas Merton, Joseph Ratzinger, and the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.

III. The aesthetics. I'm subscribed on Twitter to profiles like @Christian8Pics which post a lot of inspiring imagery. Familiarity breeds liking. I also listen to music on YouTube: liturgy, Medieval chants, Mozart's Requiem, Byzantine chants (usually Eastern Orthodox).

All these sideways might seem very strange to a Catholic convert or someone raised Catholic who stayed Catholic. But if someone is immersed in a materialistic, mechanistic and atheistic worldview, there's no available grammar or impulse to even take God or the life of the Church into consideration.

IV. Actually knowing what theism is all about. The "god" dismissed by popular atheist debaters is a caricature of God as understood by classical theism and the actual tradition of the Church. So is the "god" argued for by Intelligent Design proponents, biblical literalists, fundamentalists.

I read 2 books by Edward Feser (Catholic) and David Bentley Hart (Eastern Orthodox) to finally become comfortable with this very simple point. The books I read are, in order:

By Edward Feser:

  • The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism

  • Aquinas (A Beginner's Guide)

    By David Bentley Hart:

  • Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies

  • [The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss] (

    Each author has his own biases, which might trip the reader up at times (Hart is biased against evolutionary psychology for some reason). But these books produced in me a fresh view of where to begin seeking for God. They gave me the confidence to proceed.

    Atheism always addresses "god" as if it's simply one entity among others, part of the natural world, for which one ought to find physical traces and then one simply "believes in the existence of god" (much like you'd believe there's a car parked outside your house, once you look out the window and observe it's there -- meaning it could just as well NOT be there).

    Creationists just muddy the waters with "god of the gaps" and "Paley's watch" style theories, which simply postulate "god" as an explanation for why this or that aspect of the natural world is a certain way, a tinkerer god which molds the physical world into shape, or which created it at some point in the past.

    This has nothing to do with how God is presented by the authors I quoted, and they go to great lengths to make this point.

    I started by understanding that there needs to be an ultimate answer to certain metaphysical questions which, by definition, can't have a physical answer (e.g. "why does there exist a physical world in the first place?"). There's a qualitative difference between physical questions and metaphysical ones, and the gap simply can't be breached by adding more layers of physicality. Hart makes this point very well (he differentiates between the Demiurge that deists, atheists and creationists discuss, and God as the "necessary being" of classical theism).

    The ultimate metaphysical cause is "necessary" because it's simply a necessity for the physical world to have a non-physical cause which keeps it in existence. If the only thing that existed was a quantum field that didn't produce any particles, or a single proton that always existed and will always exist, the "necessity" would be exactly the same. Nothing would change even if it turned out our Universe is part of a Multiverse.

    Then, through reasoning, one can deduce certain characteristics of this ultimate answer, which ends up forming the classical theistic picture of God as a "necessary being" which continuously creates every aspect of the physical universe. Feser is very good at explaining this part and especially at underlining how tentative and feeble our understanding of the unfathomable is. He also explains why it has to be a "being" rather than an unknown impersonal cause. It's a humbling experience.

    But as Bishop Robert Barron stated in his interview on the Rubin Report, philosophy only takes you halfway there. Looking back, the existence of God simply makes sense and is a no-brainer. Faith doesn't have to do with "accepting that God exists with no evidence". Faith is about what you do once you realize that the existence of God is an inescapable conclusion of rational thought. What do you do once you realize that He exists and is conscious of us? You have to go beyond the impersonal, and engage, interact. Here's where prayer, the liturgical life and spiritual exercises come into play.

    Unlike conversion, faith isn't a one-time historical event, it's a daily effort on one's part to drive one's thoughts towards the infinite and the ultimate cause of everything. This requires individual effort, but it is not an individual venture. One has the entire tradition and life of the Church to guide you: selfless persons who dedicated their lives to help people like you and me.

    Here's how Feser, in his "Last Superstition" book, describes the various ways of conceiving of God:

    >To understand what serious religious thinkers do believe, we might usefully distinguish five gradations in one’s conception of God:

    >1. God is literally an old man with a white beard, a kind if stern wizard-like being with very human thoughts and motivations who lives in a place called Heaven, which is like the places we know except for being very far away and impossible to get to except through magical means.

    >2. God doesn’t really have a bodily form, and his thoughts and motivations are in many respects very different from ours. He is an immaterial object or substance which has existed forever, and (perhaps) pervades all space. Still, he is, somehow, a person like we are, only vastly more intelligent, powerful, and virtuous, and in particular without our physical and moral limitations. He made the world the way a carpenter builds a house, as an independent object that would carry on even if he were to “go away” from it, but he nevertheless may decide to intervene in its operations from time to time.

    >3. God is not an object or substance alongside other objects or substances in the world; rather, He is pure being or existence itself, utterly distinct from the world of time, space, and things, underlying and maintaining them in being at every moment, and apart from whose ongoing conserving action they would be instantly annihilated. The world is not an independent object in the sense of something that might carry on if God were to “go away”; it is more like the music produced by a musician, which exists only when he plays and vanishes the moment he stops. None of the concepts we apply to things in the world, including to ourselves, apply to God in anything but an analogous sense. Hence, for example, we may say that God is “personal” insofar as He is not less than a person, the way an animal is less than a person. But God is not literally “a person” in the sense of being one individual thing among others who reasons, chooses, has moral obligations, etc. Such concepts make no sense when literally applied to God.

    >4. God as understood by someone who has had a mystical experience of the sort Aquinas had.

    >5. God as Aquinas knows Him now, i.e. as known in the beatific vision attained by the blessed after death.

    What I've been talking about is at #3. Atheists and creationists are debating #1 and #2. #4 is a gift to be accorded by grace, and is what people strive for in their spiritual life. #5 is the ultimate goal of the Christian life.
u/[deleted] · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

>TL;DR I'm a Catholic who doesn't understand Catholicism

You know, as unfortunate as it is, the reality is that you will find many Catholic adults who have no clue what the Catholic Faith teaches.

Do you have an active youth group? If so, you may want to consider joining the youth group and becoming an active member. Also see if they will give you a Catechism of the Catholic Church for free. I hand those suckers out all of the time.

>I still don't really know what confirmation means. They did a horrible job at educating me, I basically sat there through general religious education, all of which I knew before, and then after 2 years, I got some oil on my forehead. I know that it basically means that I'm an adult in the church, but not quite sure what that entitles...

Again, unfortunately the adults that were "teaching" you probably had no clue what Confirmation is either. But a correction would be that you are not "an adult" in the Church. This is a common misconception in the American Catholic Church, mostly because the norm for Christian Rites of Initiation for many Dioceses separate Baptism and Confirmation. In many other places around the world, a child receives Baptism and Confirmation at the same time.

Now, the Catechism says: 1308 Although Confirmation is sometimes called the "sacrament of Christian maturity," we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need "ratification" to become effective. St. Thomas reminds us of this:

Age of body does not determine age of soul. Even in childhood man can attain spiritual maturity: as the book of Wisdom says: "For old age is not honored for length of time, or measured by number of years. "Many children, through the strength of the Holy Spirit they have received, have bravely fought for Christ even to the shedding of their blood.

I understand Confirmation as a completion of Baptism. The minister of Confirmation seals you with the Holy Spirit and "unlocks" the "full power" and blessing that was started in your soul in Baptism.

>As far as I can tell, most of the Dogmas of the Catholic church are pretty reasonable, so I don't have a problem with many of them.


>However, what gets me is the "Pick and Choose" part of the dogmas. I understand why that is there (people that pick and choose believing in core Catholic beliefs), but I'm pretty sure that the word of the clergy isn't 100% accurate with the wishes of God, since there has been corruption before, in the long history of the church, and in the recent history of the church.

I am not quite certain what you are asking here. Catholics cannot "pick and choose" which Dogmas to follow and which to not follow. Dogmas are essential to our Faith.

You are correct that sometimes the Clergy will make mistakes and they will not preach the fullness of Truth to their parishes. We can trust the Magisterium, though.

There has been corruption in the people of the Church, yes. The recent scandals still sting all of us Catholics to the Core of our being. I, myself, am still trying to reconcile how the most respected of our Fold could betray us in such a way. But I know that the reasons behind the pedophilia scandal are many and they are varied and they are not exclusive to the Catholic Church.

I also understand that 50 years ago, Bishops sincerely did not know how to handle allegations of this magnitude and did what they thought was best. In many cases, the Bishops had their priest sent to a psychologist and listened to what the psychologist told them. You would think that common sense would tell the Bishops to hand the accused clergy over to the local authorities for an investigation, but we have to remember that it was a very different time back then. I do not make excuses for the bishops or priests, nor do I presume that I can even entertain the thought of justifying their actions; not at all. But I do know that there is always more to the story than what we hear reported on the news.

>Though I can't think of a specific thing for the prior statement, an example I previously felt about this was purgatory. I heard that it was worse than hell, but a Religion teacher at my school enlightened me by asking me the question: "If we don't know what it is, just that it is a spiritual cleansing, couldn't it be relaxing as a day of personal cleansing, such as at a spa?"

I do not know who told you Purgatory was worse than hell. They were clearly wrong. Purgatory is a part of Heaven. But I do not think it is relaxing as a day of cleansing, like the spa. I think it is very painful. We must suffer to rid ourselves of "self" so that we might love God more.

>At my church, every sermon is about politics, with a radical right-wing viewpoint on it in general. Is it like that everywhere?

Not at all. In fact, many parishes in my area refuse to comment on politics. Instead, they comment on morality, which should guide the way we vote and participate in government.

>What is the official Catholic stance on gay people? My church is SUPER anti-gay, but I have a few openly gay friends at school, and nobody gives a crap. I understand that they aren't allowed marriage because of the Catholic definition of marriage, but would the church condemn another type of union under a different title for political and financial reasons? Chaste, of course...

Read Same Sex Attraction: Church Teaching and Pastoral Practice to understand more on the subject. But you may also notice that nobody at your school "gives a crap" if their friends are having sex, or getting pregnant, or having abortions. Does this justify their behavior?

The Church would indeed condemn any union between a same-sex couple. Why? Because the Church does not look only at the material reasons for the union (political, financial). The Church cares more for the spirituality of the persons involved and wants the salvation of their souls. How can these people be saved if they believe that their immoral actions are sanctioned by the government? How can these people come to know, love, and serve Christ in this life if they think they are doing nothing wrong? The Church teaches that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. Nothing will ever make those actions "good."

>I understand the process of confession and the method, but I'm a bit unclear about what I'm supposed to confess. It's impossible for me to remember every transgression that I make, so I generally try to focus on major ones (10 commandments), with a generalized perspective, (I'm sure I did this at some point in time). I feel kinda awkward asking about this anywhere else but reddit...

You confess all the sins that you can recall. It is a good practice for you to do an examination of conscience each night before you go to bed so that you might be able to make a better confession on your next visit. It is very good to start with the Ten Commandments. The Church recommends you confess every mortal sin first, then your venial sins. Finding a good examination of conscience to aid your prayer might help.

>Catholics don't believe that the bible is 100% true, literal translation, do they? I've heard it both ways, but I'm more comfortable with the definition of the bible being a message of spiritual truth, not literal truth.

No, Catholics do believe that the Bible is the "100% true, literal translation." "Literal" just means that whatever we interpret or translate belongs to a literary work. Many people confuse "literal" with "literalistic", which would say that everything is written down exactly as it happened and does not take into account a contextual analysis of the text (which may be poetry or song or parable).

I do not know what you are attempting to distinguish between spiritual truth and literal truth, though. Truth is Truth.

u/Ibrey · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

> Where can I go to learn how 'do' mass? Also am i aloud to do the Sign of the cross? I love it, but don't want to over step my bounders.

Yes! Everyone is welcome to pray, and to participate in the Mass to whatever extent they feel comfortable with the exception of receiving Communion. A book you might find useful is the Handbook of Prayers edited by James Socias, which has a complete "script" for the parts of the Mass that are the same every week, along with a summary of Catholic doctrines and other traditional prayers and devotions.

> Where can I read more catholic history/theology? What IS Catholicism?

The Catholic Church is the one true church founded by Jesus Christ, led for nearly two thousand years now by an unbroken succession of bishops going all the way back to the apostles. (The Eastern Orthodox, who broke from the Catholic Church in the 11th Century, also have valid apostolic succession, and I think most of us would consider them the only other church with a remotely plausible claim to be the true one.) Even when the Church was united, the name "Catholic" was used to distinguish it from various heretical sects. St Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 313–386) advises Christians travelling in a strange city not to ask where "the Lord's house" is, or "the church," since heretics would dare to call their own place of worship that; rather, he says, ask where you can find the Catholic church.

The two books I always recommend for general information about Catholic doctrine are Theology for Beginners, a no-nonsense book rooted in the author's experience arguing with atheists as a street preacher, and Catholicism for Dummies, which will contain much more practical information, more colourful details on particular saints and pilgrimage sites, and in general more on what distinguishes Catholicism from other Christian denominations.

> (Do you really 'worship' saints? WHAT IS A SAINT?

A small-s saint is anyone who has died in the friendship of God, and now enjoys the beatific vision in heaven, awaiting the reunion of their soul with their body at the general resurrection. The Holy Spirit unites us with them in one single Body of Christ. It is a very ancient Christian practice in both East and West to call upon them to join us in our prayers. The saints cannot forgive our sins or perform miracles, but can pray to God for Him to do that; often, you'll see prayers for intercession of saints addressed directly to God like "Lord, through the intercession of your servant St so-and-so, grant that..."

A good illustration of what the saints are to Catholics is found in the words of the Hail Mary. First, Mary is praised for what God has given her:

> Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Then we ask for everything we can hope to receive from her hands:

> Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

When someone has the word "Saint" before their name as a title, that means they've been recognised by the Church as a saint who lived an exemplary Christian life, and that public veneration of them is appropriate; for example, you can name a church after St Thomas Aquinas, but probably shouldn't name one after Pope Alexander VI. A few saints who led interesting lives that you may enjoy reading about are St Moses the Black, St Louis IX of France, St Joan of Arc, and St Maximilian Kolbe.

u/The_New_34 · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

Hi there! Thanks for giving us a look!

The central "thing" about Catholicism is that we are the continuation of the Church that Christ founded on his Apostles/Peter. By looking at the history of Christianity, I think you'll find that statement is true (like I did).

I'm a cradle Catholic, but I never really looked into or practiced my faith that much. One day, I thought I'd have myself a go and try to disprove religion. Religion is just holding us back as a society right? So let me start at the top of the ladder. I tried to disprove theism in general.

Couldn't do it.

Ok, let me disprove Christianity then.

Couldn't do it.

Dang, can I at least prove that Catholicism isn't the true form of Christianity?

LOL, nope. I ended up having a much stronger connection to my faith. Presently, I am discerning the priesthood. I thank God every day that He allowed me to have such arrogance as to think "I can disprove God!" and travel down that rabbit hole. I came out with a profound love and trust for God. It was stressful and hair-pulling, but worth it!

I, for one, am a reader. Literature is what brought me back to the Church. There area many works which I would recommend:

  • a small encyclical by Pope John Paul II called Fides et Ratio, or Faith and Reason in Latin. This very short book is about how faith and human reason are not opposed to each other! Faith and reason are two wings of the same dove on which man ascends to God. It's a very simple, yet important thing to read, and sets the stage for Catholic philosophy and theology.

  • The Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin. Jimmy converted to Catholicism after being a Baptist. This amazing book shows historical documents from the Early Church and shows how the Church Fathers, those who studied under the Apostles themselves, prove that Catholicism is the true form of Christianity.

  • The Protestant's Dilemma is a fantastic read. It points to the inconsistencies in Protestantism and how such a religion cannot work. After I finished this book, I realized that every branch of Protestantism was false, and that the only true religion could be either Catholicism or Orthodoxy.

  • Jesus, Peter, and the Keys convinced me Catholicism was true and Orthodoxy was false because of its denial of the Papacy. I was hooked.

  • In your situation, specifically with the attachment to Our Lady that you have, Behold Your Mother is a beautiful read. It's written by Tim Staples, another Catholic convert who converted his whole family to the Church. Tim explains why Catholics love Mary so much, and where all our fancy Mary doctrines come from. I think you would benefit greatly from this read!

    Finally, Catholic Answers has a YouTube channel. They have a 2 hour show every weekday in which they answer questions from Catholics and non-Catholics, and upload these questions as short videos. Any question you have should be answered here.

    There are many other books you could look into, but we don't want to scare you away! We have almost 2,000 years of material to read.
u/brtf4vre · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

If you are coming from an atheist background I think you should start with some more foundational material before checking out the Bible. The Catholic Church is the sole keeper of the complete truth that has been revealed by God to humanity.

However, like other truths, new conclusions can build upon previous knowledge. Just like modern mathematics has built upon Gauss and Newton and Pythagoras etc. If you did not understand geometry it would be difficult to understand calculus. If you just started reading about calculus but had no concept of finding the area of a rectangle you might not understand calculus or assume you are being expected to just accept calculus as true using "blind faith". In the same way, God has revealed to us that we should not murder people (10 commandments), and the Church was able to build upon that foundation the conclusion that abortion is a sin since it is ultimately the killing of an innocent human (murder). If however, you just read somewhere that the Church opposes abortion but had no knowledge of the 10 commandments you might not understand why that conclusion was made and instead assume it is just some arbitrary religious teaching.

The foundation you need to first establish is that God exists, and this can be known (in the same way you can know 1+1=2) through reason. Even Aristotle was able to know this. The most famous proofs of this are St Thomas Aquinas' "5 ways". There are many resources including books and good YouTube videos exploring this topic, I would recommend Answering Atheism as a good start, or if you want to try a college level, more rigorous book, check out Aquinas for Beginners. Check out this quick 17 minute video for a great start.

So that is where I think you should start, and after you convince yourself that atheism is false you should come back here to learn why the Catholic church is God's true church.

To address a few other things. First, the Bible is not a book in the commonly used sense of that word today. The Bible is actually a collection of books written across a wide time range in different genres. So a more accurate question would be: "do I have to take the library 100% literally? The answer is of course no. That does not mean the Bible is not 100% true, it just means that the truth is not 100% conveyed directly via literal interpretation. Some evidence would be this quote from Jesus "If any man come to Me and hate not his father and mother...he cannot be My disciple" which seems to be in direct contradiction with the 4th Commandment "Honor thy father and mother". So if the Bible is 100% true, and things that are true cannot lead to contradictions, then at least one of the quotes must have some other meaning than the literal text. So how do we know what is the case here? That is what we have the Catholic Church for, so again when after you convince yourself God exists you should come back here to understand why you should trust the Catholic Church to interpret these questions and more.

If you are specifically concerned that becoming Catholic means you have to literally believe the universe was created in 6 days I can assure you the short answer is no, you do not need to believe this.

1 more thing Ill add it about the word "faith". A common atheist position is that religions are based on blind faith with no evidence. This is not the Catholic definition of the word. Faith is not about making true/false claims. Evidence is REQUIRED for True/False claims. Now not ALL evidence is in the form of scientific experimentation, but that does not mean the Church requires you to just hold certain things as true on "faith alone" with no evidence. Instead, think of the word confidence. The latin roots are "con" "fide" which means "with faith". So faith has more to do with confidence or trust than true/false certainty. An example might be that we use reason and logic as evidence to know God exists, or historical testimony as evidence Jesus rose from the dead. Then, knowing these things as true, we have faith that the teaching God has revealed are true and in our best interest in things we should do. There is no way to proof scientifically whether or not we should steal something, and if we are even in a situation where we are tempted into doing that we may think that we should do it because we really want to or don't think we will get caught or whatever. Faith means trusting in God's recommendation to not steal things even if we think it would be a good idea or seemingly justify it to ourselves.

u/Autopilot_Psychonaut · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

> Dr. Pitre's The Case for Jesus Intro Video Transcript
> I've been teaching the Bible as a professor now for a long time, and over the years I've noticed that many of my students believe in Jesus, but they don't necessarily know why they believe in Jesus, they don’t know why they think he’s the Messiah, the son of God. Lots of other people I know don't believe in Jesus, but they don't necessarily realize who Jesus claimed to be. For example, lots of them will say “oh well Jesus was just a good moral teacher,” or “Jesus was just an ordinary Jewish rabbi,” or “Jesus was just a great prophet.” Still others will say, “well how do we even know what Jesus did and said, we can't really understand him, we can't really have access to him, it was so long ago.” Some of these people, for example, compare the Gospels to the end product of a game of telephone. Maybe you’ve played the telephone game when you were a kid, they’ll say, “well the Gospels are like the telephone game, you know ,where one child tells a story to the next child, who tells it the next child, and it gets changed over and over again, until, at the end of the game, the story that you end up with is nothing like what you heard in the beginning. Is that what the Gospels are like? Are they just a long chain of anonymous traditions about Jesus, which may or may not be accurate. And what about those documentaries that come on every year, around Easter and Christmas, that ask questions like: did Jesus really claim to be divine? What about the lost Gospels, like the Gospel Thomas? Or a so-called Gospel of Q?
> How does all this factor into the reliability of the accounts that we find in the New Testament? In my new book, The Case for Jesus, I look at these questions head on, and I want to ask ourselves, what exactly is the biblical and the historical evidence for Christ, for who He claimed to be? We’re gonna look at questions like:
> How did we get the Gospels? So were they really originally anonymous, or were they written by the apostles and their followers? What about the the genre of the Gospels, what kind of books are these? Are they like folklore or fairytales? Are they myths? Or are they history? Are they biographies? And also too, what about the identity of Jesus? Who Jesus really claim to be? Was he just a prophet, or a great teacher, or a rabbi? Or did he fulfill the prophecy of the Messiah? And, most of all, did he actually claim to be God? Did he claim to be divine? This is going to be one most important points we have to deal with, because, you may have heard this before, there are lots of scholars out there who say that Jesus only claims to be divine in the Gospel of John. That he doesn't claim to be divine in the three earlier Gospels, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. So what about that? Is the score 3 against 1? And when were these books written? Are they too late to actually be reliable? How do we know what we know about who Jesus was, and what he did and said, and that's what I’m going to be looking at in this book, The Case for Jesus.
> Now what’s unique about this book, is that, there are of course thousands and thousands of books out there on Jesus, and lots of them, especially the more skeptical ones, tend to give you just one side of the argument. They’re gonna tell you why you shouldn't trust the gospel, why Jesus didn't claim to be the Messiah, or claim to be divine. In this book I’m gonna give you both sides of the argument. I'm gonna give you arguments for and against the reliability of the Gospels. I’m gonna give you the arguments for and against Jesus claiming to be the Messiah, and claiming to be divine, and I'll let you decide, what is the evidence for Christ? And there are also lots of books out there that claim that Jesus never said that he was Divine, never claimed to be God. Well one of the things I try to show in this book is, that when you look at the gospel evidence, when you look at the question of Jesus’ divinity, you’ve got to pay attention to his Jewish context. Over and over again I've noticed that books by skeptics often will ignore the Jewish roots of Jesus’ divinity. In other words, you only will be up to see how he is identifying himself as divine, if you read His words in the first century Jewish context. So if you've ever been interested in the question of the origin of the Gospels, of the divinity of Christ. If you've ever wondered who was Jesus, and how do we know. Whether you're a Christian or non-Christian, Protestant or Catholic, whether you’re Jewish, Muslim, atheist, or agnostic, believer or nonbeliever, or maybe a little bit of both. If you've ever wondered who was Jesus, then this book, The Case for Jesus: the Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ, is for you.

Video on YT:

u/amslucy · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

> Should I recite prayers or make up my own or do a combination?

Combination. I'm currently reading Spe Salvi, and Pope Benedict explains it like this (paragraph 34):

> For prayer to develop this power of purification [to open us up to God], it must on the one hand be something very personal, an encounter between my intimate self and God, the living God. On the other hand it must be constantly guided and enlightened by the great prayers of the Church and of the saints, by liturgical prayer, in which the Lord teaches us again and again how to pray properly. [...] Praying must always involve this intermingling of public and personal prayer. This is how we can speak to God and how God speaks to us.

The "formulaic" prayers that we memorize are important, in part because they teach us how to pray. Most likely, you'll go through times in your life where you'll feel "dry", and you'll struggle to know what to say to God, struggle to feel his presence. Especially during these times - but during other times as well - these prayers are a real treasure. We can also pray together with the whole Church when we pray these prayers, because many of them are prayers that the whole Church has in common.

But you need to make up your own personal prayers, too. Ultimately, prayer is talking with God, and prayer is about building up a relationship with God. And just like in any relationship, you need to communicate your own personal (unique to you) hopes, fears, sorrows, longings. So you really do need both types of prayer.

> What are the most common or popular prayers for you guys (other than the prayers involved in the rosary, of course)?

There are so many out there. A morning offering is a good idea (that can be recited or in your own words). There's the Angelus, which is often prayed at noon each day (and sometimes at 6 am and 6 pm as well). It's also good to get in the habit of doing a brief examination of conscience before bed, followed by an Act of Contrition (again, either recited or in your own words).

> How do I achieve meditative prayer?

The rosary is a meditative prayer, so there's that. Personally, I really struggle with the rosary (I tend to get overwhelmed by trying to do so many things all at once: counting with the beads, praying aloud, meditating on the mysteries), but you can also do meditative prayer in other ways: the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Lectio Divina are both meditative prayers, and prayer before icons or before the crucifix can also be meditative.

The Catechism has a good section on expressions of prayer which discusses meditative and contemplative prayer.

> How can I study the bible correctly and be able to recall passages as some of you do in the comments?

I can't speak to recollection (I think some of that just comes with time), but a couple of suggestions for Bible study: Probably the easiest way to start is to find a Bible Study at a local parish. It's also a good practice to read from the Bible regularly, ideally with the help of a good study Bible. The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is good, but it's New Testament only. Other resources might be a Navarre Bible or the Didache Bible (also from Ignatius press).

> And finally, how does one properly do the process of Lectio Divina by oneself?

For Lectio Divina, check out this explanation.

u/love-your-enemies · 30 pointsr/Catholicism

There is a person in the Bible who says to Jesus, "I believe. Help my unbelief!" (you can find that story and the context of the phrase in Mark chapter 9). I always thought that was a profound sentiment, and it's a phrase I think about whenever I experience doubts.

I would say that most or all Catholics probably experience doubts about the faith at some point in their lives. I wouldn't let concerns about whether you could believe in God hold you back from Catholicism if you really thought you wanted to join the Church.

There is a somewhat famous Catholic, Blaise Pascal, who even said that unbelievers should basically "fake it till they make it"; they should basically try living as a faithful Catholic and see what it does to them and their thoughts. He thought that if someone regularly went to Church and tried praying to God, that they might start to feel a connection with God, and that would make it easier to believe, and that they might actually start believing it all. After all, why should we expect someone to believe in God and find it convincing if they never give it a shot? The only other way to acquire any amount of belief at all, that I can think of, would be through some kind of convincing argument.

I think that idea from Pascal makes sense. If God really does exist, then it would make sense that trying to reach out to God in some way would probably do something. God has not promised everyone a miraculous sign or proof of His existence, but you also never know how God will choose to react to people's prayers and inquiries. All you can do is try and not expect too much since we know that even for the best Catholic saints in history, a lot of them only got vague visions at best (edit: after thinking about this more, I realize in the bible it does say to pray expectantly. so maybe "don't expect much" is wrong, too. i still need to understand all this stuff better myself, it seems). I am Catholic and I can say I've never even experienced anything like that. I pretty much believe because I have studied some Catholic apologetics and I was convinced by the arguments, but also because I was raised Catholic and I have practiced the religion for a while now, and I have sometimes felt a connection to God in a kind of esoteric or abstract way. I think more proof about this stuff would be great. But we are not entitled to proof.

Maybe apologetics would help you to believe. Since you studied science, maybe those kinds of logical arguments would help you. There are plenty of options. One option that comes to my mind is this book by Ed Feser. I know a lot of people here like Peter Kreeft; I did a quick search on Amazon and found this book by him. I know Kreeft has talked about the beauty of Catholicism before so maybe his writings will appeal to you. Some other names you could look into would be C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton.

I actually fell away from Catholicism for a bit in my college days, and came back through Protestantism and some Protestant philosophers. I was very influenced by William Lane Craig, who has a lot of great apologetics works. You could check out writings and podcasts on his website or one of these two books: 1, 2.

I probably don't have any good advice to offer about the situation with your boyfriend. I have very little relationship experience myself. Maybe if one day you do really get into Catholicism, and learn more about it, you could debate theology with him and see if you can convert him. I think that Church history is a good way to try to convert people. In my experience, a lot of Protestants never even think about the fact that the Catholic Church claims to be the Church established by Christ, and that the Bishops today have been ordained by previous Bishops, going all the way back to the original disciples of Christ through a process known as Apostolic Succession. In addition to stuff like that, there is also the fact that the transubstantiation of the Eucharist is a concept that existed in the very early Church as well, and the Catholic Church is the only Christian Church which has preserved this tradition.

I ended up writing a novel too. Anyway, good luck to you. Feel free to reply and ask questions if you want any more info from me. I was happy to read your story.

u/edvol44 · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Invite them! It might go well! My immediate family was happy that I am commited to God, my extended family, not so much. My uncle asked me why I on Earth was converting and I very excitedly tried to tell him every reason. That didn't go so well, but now they just don't talk about it. Interestingly, the uncle I thought would be most against it was not opposed, and since we two are the only conservatives in the family and I even like Patsy Cline and Hank Sr., we get along ok. That whole branch of my family used to be Catholic but all left the church when they got super liberal. I wish they could have been at my confirmation because maybe they might have seen what they missed.

I'm at the point now where most people can't win a theological debate with me, or even get to a draw, and that makes things awkward sometimes. I also need to improve my polish a bit. I usually like to leave the door open as though I might convert to their denomination if they can prove to me why I shouldn't be Catholic, which I would if they could, but they can't, or haven't yet and I would be shocked if they could. An Orthodox or copt might have the best chance, but I doubt it. An even better way is to not mention that you're Catholic, get them to agree on everything besides the pope and mary, etc, before dropping the Catholic bomb. That approach can bring people in pretty well and I have gotten fairly decent results from it. Give your own testimony, it is your experience and is thus unassailable. Get everything that Scott Hahn has written, he is great, and converted from your background. Rome Sweet Home in particular might be helpful. it is about $3 on amazon. Read it first, get your dad to read it, if you think it is a good idea, and ask him to tell you what is wrong in it and why. Do all of this with love and charity! Do not get too worked up. It may be your soul and his and your mom's that are at stake. Use your dad's fear to get him to read it. Be as faithful and as good of a son as you can be. Honor your father and mother. When they see the love and faith with which you live your life, that will likely be the impetus to bring them home and what will get you their acceptance. Remember that it may not be overnight. Are they worried about the pope being the antichrist? I have a pretty good thought on that if you want.

u/SilouansSong · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Hi there. I started converting a couple months ago, so I can still remember when I was harboring some of your questions. In particular I had a large intellectual hurdle to get past, so I've done a fair amount of reading and research.

  1. Yes. My personal, amateur summary of is that God is that which exists outside of the world of contingencies; by definition God is the first mover. As others have mentioned, look into Thomas Aquinas's Five Ways proofs for the existence of God. Philosopher Edward Feser recently released a book that is intended to expound to a more lay audience the philosophical proofs for the existence of God.

  2. My outline for conversion was the following:

    a. Getting to religion: Proof of God.

    b. Getting to Christianity: Proof of Bible.

    c. Getting to Catholicism: Proof of Catholicism.

    For a, I'd done spiritual seeking about a decade ago and through a mixture of contemplation and meditation had arrived at a personal understanding of the existence of a God, but, due to my insistence on forensic evidence of God, I'd closed myself off to even entertaining the notion of choosing any religion's explanation of God. (This insistence on affirmative, worldly proof of God I have since realized is addressed by the wealth of philosophical arguments discussed by theologians, many of them members of the Catholic Church.) So, I believed in a God, but I was convinced that human reasoning inherently couldn't work out an understanding of anything about God (namely, whether His character matched one religion more closely than another), because human reasoning works within the bounds of the universe, but God comes before the universe.

    On b, the long story short is, a couple months ago I read the Bible just to know what it said, not for religious conversion. But I realized that if what it said was true (and obviously I knew many people in the world believed it to be true), then this was God's revelation to mankind what human reasoning couldn't have figured out on its own (which is where I had been stuck in (a)). So the question became whether there's sufficient evidence to believe the Bible is a true account. The most convincing argument I've seen was in a comment somewhere else on this subreddit: the vast majority of the apostles--that is, the eyewitnesses to Jesus, and who either authored the Gospels or were the primary source for the writer of the Gospel--died on behalf of their beliefs, and even the simplest game-theory game, the Prisoner's Dilemma, shows how most people crack in an even less risky proposition (that is, only one other co-player, instead of eleven others).

    c. So why the Catholic Church? My view is, the truth of anything is most confidently arrived at by getting as close as possible to the source of the matter. The Catholic Church is the very first church, and its priests have been ordained in a line of succession leading all the way back to the apostles, who were ordained/empowered by Jesus ("apostolic succession").

  3. Not educated enough on Descartes, sorry.

  4. Being a recent convert, I experience pretty regular instances of doubt in part due to so many decades of ingrained thoughts outright dismissing religion. One thing I do is even entertain the notion--OK, say I doubt it and want to be done with this. But I realize that knowing what I know now, I couldn't go back. More generally, it's nice to know that all of us experience doubt. And I find especially helpful a line of a man in the Bible who, when told by Jesus that his son could be healed by belief in Jesus' power, proclaimed, "I believe; help my unbelief!" So, it's the acknowledgement that we can believe but still would appreciate reassurance or conviction to assuage any doubt that arises.

  5. Maybe this will change as I get deeper in, but right now my primary intention is living in accordance with God and His commands, which from a pragmatic point of view I recognize brings good to the world. The hope is that the consequence of these choices and acts will be being with God, but the intention behind them isn't because I want a reward.

    As I said, I was in similar shoes as yours a couple months ago, so if you have any questions or want to throw ideas around, I'm glad to keep chatting, and feel free to PM me. I may have found online articles or books that might answer some of your questions.

u/HmanTheChicken · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Well, a first point is that as Catholics we believe we can know God's existence through reason:

>>The same Holy Mother Church holds and teaches that God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certitude by the natural light of human reason from created things; "for the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" [ Rom 1:20]; nevertheless, it has pleased His wisdom and goodness to reveal Himself and the eternal decrees of His will to the human race in another and supernatural way, as the Apostle says: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days hath spoken to us by His Son" [Heb 1:1 f].

(From Vatican I)

As such, nobody has any excuse for not believing, and they're ultimately accountable to God for it:

>>18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who [d]suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is [e]manifest [f]in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [g]Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like [h]corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

(Romans 1:18-23 NKJV)

But you're right, people don't have the time to read through the arguments, and either way, we shouldn't believe on the basis of arguments. Paul said this about his preaching for example: "And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of [b]human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). Our faith is compatible with reason and supplemented by reason, but it's ultimately known supernaturally, as Vatican I says.

So if someone asks us about our belief in God, unless we have the time to look through the arguments, we'll need another method. (btw, for good philosophical arguments for God, Edward Feser is really good - you can get this really short book pretty cheap) Part of it is recognizing that atheism has no legs to stand on. If God doesn't exist, what can we base anything on? Where would we get morality, logic, etc. ? They'd be evolutionary developments and preferences, not absolute truth.

But then you could simply say - you know about God because of supernatural revelation, the Holy Spirit testifies, etc. you don't need arguments. As St. Paul said again: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18) If you think about it, a lot of what an atheist believes is also known without argument. My atheist relatives have never seen the earth go around the sun, or that the earth is round, but they believe it. Why? Some people who they trust said it. That's how we get most of our knowledge really, and that's not a bad thing. We trust the testimony of the Apostles in Scripture and Tradition that God is real. Hope that helps.

u/Happy_Pizza_ · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I actually deconverted from Catholicism in college. I'm a revert.

I never got into into the party culture. I'm really against drinking and doing drugs, and I've always been skeptical of sex outside of a committed relationship and those morals stuck with me even after I deconverted from Christianity. What I did encounter was a lot of intellectual arguments against religion that I couldn't answer. However, what I also eventually discovered was that most of those objections had been heard before and responded to, at least in some manner.

So, here's my semi-comprehensive list of apologetics apologetics resources that I've accumulated over the years.

IMHO, the following books cover all the essentials very well and are probably must reads. You can buy used or online copies of them relatively cheaply, under 20 dollars if you're in the US. Check out Trent Horn's Answering Atheism, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civ, Mere Christianity by CS Lewis (you can probably get Mere Christianity at your at public library), and What is Marriage? Man and Woman a Defense for defending the concept of natural marriage. You should also read How to Argue which is a free pdf. I haven't researched abortion apologetics as extensively as other areas but I know Trent Horn has some books on those.


I'm not going to say you should read all of my remaining recommendations but I'm putting the rest out there for you so you know they exist.

Now, no list of apologtics is going to cover every argument about Christianity so I would also recommend some online resources. is an amazing forum. It has tons of Catholics who are way more knowledgable and experienced that me who can answer questions and stuff. You may or may not have heard of it ;). I also recommend William Lane Craig's site: Again, Craig is a protestant so don't look to him for a defense of Catholicism. However, he's good when it comes to defending the basics of Christianity from atheism. Catholic Answers is good. Fr Barron is good. Strange Notions can be good, I link to it in my last paragraph.

The exact relationship between faith and reason was my biggest stumbling block on the road back to Catholicism, so I have some good recommendations on that topic. I recommend the papal encycle Fides et Ratio and How the Catholic Church Built Western Civ. Plantinga's book Where the Conflict Really Lies is also popular and uses evolution to make an interesting argument against materialism. Plantinga's not a Catholic so I don't know how well they would square with Catholic philosophies like Thomism, but, yeah, he exists. He also wrote this giant essay on faith and science, which was helpful. The book God and the Philosophers is pretty good too, it's an anthology of different Christian philosophers and talks about how they converted to Christianity.

Some comprehensive (but expensive) books by non-Catholics include The Blackwell Companion to natural theology by William Lane Craig (not a Catholic). I've heard good things about Richard Swinburne's apologetics trilogy The Coherence of Theism, The Existence of God, and Faith and Reason. Swinburne is Eastern Orthodox, just for the record.

I want to give a special shoutout to Edward Fesser. He's a secular atheist philosopher who converted to Catholicism. You can read his conversion story here. He also has a blog that you can google. Fesser also wrote a bunch of books that are highly recommended by people on this sub, although I haven't read them.

u/Why_are_potatoes_ · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

If you like philosophy, check out the Summa Theologiae. For shorter intros to Thomism, check out Ed Feser's Aquinas or his more polemical The Last Superstition.

Essentially, Christianity is based on the historical event of the resurrection, which really convinced me. [These] ( videos offer a short introduction, but [this] ( book is a great book just from a historical, non-faith based viewpoint.

If you don't have a hardy, solid Catholic Bible check out the [Didache Bible] (

If you don't have a kindle, you should get one. There are tons of fantastic book collections under $5, including patristics, Chesterton, Aquinas, and more.

Book recommendations:

Mere Christianity, CS Lewis (Almost-Catholic Anglican)

The Abolition of Man, CS Lewis

Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton (Catholic)

The Orthodox Way, Kallistos Ware (Orthodox; especially useful if you are interested in Eastern/Byzantine Catholicism)

The Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn

Jesus of Nazareth by Josef Cardinal Ratzinger (AKA Pope Benedict XVI)

On Being Catholic by Thomas Howard

Life of Christ by Fulton Sheen

Confessions of St. Augustine by St. Augustine

Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales

Frankly anything by Scott Hahn, Brant Pitre, Robert Barron, GK Chesterton, or CS Lewis.

Even more [here] (

Protestantism is easily discerned to be false (Jesus started One Church in 33 AD, not thousands in 1517), but The Fathers Know Best, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, and The Protestant's Dilemma by Devin Rose ought to do it.

I'm an ex-agnostic too, so DM me if you need any advice.

>As my username suggests, I’m searching for truth and I know that the scientific method is an exceptionally good method of doing that. Especially in the fields of basic science, medicine, and engineering it is extremely effective at sorting out all the bullshit and pseudoscience that is out there.

Fantastic! Catholicism believes that truth is truth and that all truth leads us to Christ. The founder of genetics was a Monk, for example, and the discoverer of the Big Bang theory was a Priest. Check out the pontifical academy of the sciences.

Oh! I almost forgot! You'll love Bishop Barron. [Here] ( is him commenting on David Bently Hart's book, which you read, and [here] ( is one of my favorite videos from him.

His Catholicism film is brilliant, as well as his books Vibrant Paradoxes, Exploring Catholic Theology, and Catholicism: Journey to the Heart of Faith

u/Underthepun · 3 pointsr/Catholicism


For philosophy and general Aquinas, you have to read Aquinas - A beginners guide by Edward Feser. We recommend this one a lot around here. The first couple chapters can be a bit dense if you have little philosophy background, but trudge through it and the rest of the book will immensely improve your understanding of the Catholic view of God its the basic underlying philosophy.

For a treatise on the Catholic understanding of the synergy of faith and reason, check out Fides et Ratio by Pope St. John Paul II. It is a bit dry, but it's short-ish.

Ok something more fun and autobiographical, I think Thomas Merton's Seven Storey Mountain is a very enjoyable read and a modern Confessions (St. Augustine). He writes so well and is extremely bright. This book nurtured by newly found faith more spiritually than intellectually, which was really what I needed (and need more of!).

There are some great writers in the Catholic blogosphere that have helped me understand things better too. My favorite is the website for America Magazine, the official U.S. Jesuit magazine. They post a lot of really good and thought-provoking articles. The next is Marc Barnes Bad Catholic, who is a younger writer that understands Catholic life in the modern culture. Edward Feser's blog is really great for new atheist smackdowns and Thomist critiques of everything. He's a bit polemical at times though.

That should get you started.

u/digifork · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Get Your Questions Answered

So you have been to Mass but you have some serious questions about the faith that need to be answered before you can consider joining, so now what? Now it is time for you to learn about the Church! The Church has published a book called the Catechism of the Catholic Church (abbreviated as CCC). You can buy a copy just about anywhere or you can read it for free online. The CCC has all the basic teachings of the Church and an index in the back.

As good as the CCC is, it can be dense to read. Another great resource is called the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is also available for purchase or it can be read online for free online. It contains most of the information in the CCC, but it is organized in a question and answer format. I highly recommend it.

In addition to the CCC, you will find a ton of good information on (warning: don’t go into the forums). Also, for converts I find it helpful to read other peoples conversion stories. There is a series of books called Surprised by Truth which contain the testimonial of converts. Also, the book Rome Sweet Rome is the true story of how a Scott and Kimberly Hahn came into the Church despite them starting off as militantly anti-Catholic Protestants.

In addition to those books, here are some other books I recommend.

  • The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth
  • The Essential Catholic Survival Guide
  • Catholicism All-In-One For Dummies

    If you prefer videos, the Catholicism Series by Bishop Robert Barron is excellent and a video series called Symbolon. These video series are a bit pricey, so before buying ask you parish if they have them available to lend out. Also, many parishes have subscriptions to Formed which allows you to watch these videos and many more for free.

    If you prefer audio, the website Lighthouse Catholic Media has many talks you can download and listen to.

    If you listen to radio in the car, there may be a Catholic radio station for you to listen to. Catholic radio is a good way to learn the faith. You can check to see if there is Catholic radio in your area at the EWTN website.

    In addition to everything listed above, you can always as your parish priest questions. Many parishes also have adult education programs which cover many topics. See your parish bulletin or contact the parish office to see what they offer.

    As always, you can ask questions here on /r/Catholicism.
u/kono_hito_wa · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

> What are the sacraments? Where can I find them in scripture?

Catholicism isn't a sola scriptura religion (and, really, sola scriptura wasn't meant to eliminate other sources of knowledge such as Tradition, but that's how it's ended up for a lot of denominations). Sometimes, there are things that logic and reasoning bring you to.

That said, Baptism, Reconciliation (Confession), and the Eucharist are extremely clear from scripture [Matt 28:19] [John 20:22-23] [Luke 22:19].

Someone else already discussed confirmation but I'll add this: [ccc 1286-1289].

Jesus teaches about marriage very definitively to the point of referencing Genesis and the insoluble union of becoming one flesh. He also performed His first public miracle at a wedding. (Interesting side note: the sacrament of marriage is conferred upon one another by the bridge and groom. The Church merely witnesses.)

I'm going to refer you to the Catechism for Holy Orders since I don't have the skill to summarize it for you. Although that implies I'm doing a good job summarizing the others, which probably isn't the case.

Jesus publicly healed the sick, sometimes using sacramentals to anoint them even though He clearly didn't need to [John 9:6-7]. And Jesus' ministry was certainly a healing ministry for both body and soul.

> Do Catholics worship Mary?

No. We honor Mary as the mother of God. I think the biggest thing that causes so much confusion for many Christians is that they equate prayer with worship. To pray is to ask, as in "pray tell". So we ask Mary to intercede on our behalf with her Son, just as she did for the bride and groom at Cana [John 2:1-5].

>So do you pray to Saints? How do we know they are in heaven now? I always thought everyone was at rest waiting for judgement day.

The modern process for declaring that someone is in heaven requires authenticated miracles that could only be attributed to the intercession of someone who is dead (there's more to it than just that, but that's the logical basis for the declaration). There are most assuredly some that have been declared saints in the past that were done so more for political reasons than theological, so I don't really know what their exact standing would be. The Church has been given no knowledge about who isn't in heaven - only those that are. [Luke 23:43] [Mark 9:2-4]

> I'd always thought that meant making images of angels or the trinity was forbidden but correct me if I am wrong.

And yet, [Exodus 25:18-20].

> -Not that is particularly matter to me personally, but I am curious as to whether Catholics believe the images to be aesthetically accurate.

I don't actually know if there's an official Church teaching on that particular item, but I'm personally fairly certain the Jesus wasn't a white guy with blue eyes. Obviously I could be wrong. There are definitely people in the Middle East that vary a lot in complexion, hair color, and eye color. I suppose the various representations of Jesus are more about helping you to identify with Him on a more personal level; hence Him looking more like people in the region that the images were made: white Jesus in Europe, black Jesus in Africa, semetic Jesus in the Middle East. I haven't actually seen an Asian Jesus, but I'm sure He's out there.


Wow! A lot of great questions. I think you would benefit greatly by purchasing the Catechism of the Catholic Church - CCC for short. It's also available online. I would tell you to follow the links in the part that Catebot will provide from the bot callout I did, but those links aren't working correctly anymore and I haven't made it a priority to fix them. :(

I also checked your posting history and while I don't have experience with the turmoil you're going through, feel free to PM me if you just need to talk. I did go through a similar search as you are including Judaism and very seriously considered converting prior to returning to Catholicism (raised Catholic, never confirmed, drifted away but never completely stopped believing, various Christian denominations, mysticism, etc.). I will pray that your search for the Truth is fruitful: [Phil 1:4-6].

edit: Huh. My instance of versebot scanned my post but chose not to quote any verses. Weird. I'm going to put them all together in a separate comment and call out the official bot.

u/apostle_s · 15 pointsr/Catholicism

A quick comment before I start lobbing people for you to read. Most people stop learning about the faith at around 6 or 7 years old and so it's no wonder that once you read someone who can form a coherent argument against what you barely understand, your opinion is easily swayed.

So I'm going to give you some suggestions of people to read. Take them or leave them, but the Catholic intellectual tradition is amazing, so please at least consider some of these authors.

Chesterton, Chesterton, Chesterton. GK Chesterton's Heretics, Orthodoxy, and The Everlasting Man are all great reads and they're all online in text and audio for free. Chesterton debated all the greats of his age: HG Wells, Kipling, Bernard Shaw, and did so with courtesy and a great love of paradox.

CS Lewis' Mere Christianity is also a classic and keep in mind that Lewis was strongly influenced by his friend, you guessed it... GK Chesterton.

There's always Aquinas, who was so brilliant that he was even recognized by Monty Python (the philosopher's soccer match sketch). Seriously though, New Advent has his Summa (along with about a million other Catholic documents and texts) available for free. Aquinas gets pretty deep, and the Summa is really long, so you may want to start with a primer.

Moving into our own times, there's Peter Kreeft, who is one of my favorite philosophers.

Jennifer Fulweiler is an atheist convert, who writes a blog and does a lot of radio appearances.

If you love the science, check out The Catholic Laboratory; it's a podcast about the intersection of faith and science and how the two are really complimentary. After all, God created the laws of physics and rules the universe through them. Fr. Robert Spitzer is a priest and scientist, who has done some significant research on new proofs of God's existence using things like quantum physics.

Anyway, there's some stuff to get you started if you're interested in reading a bit to counter Hitchens and Dawkins. FWIW, I am a fan of Hitchens' writing, even if I disagree with him; Dawkins on the other hand I consider a no-talent hack, who should stick to science and leave philosophy and theology to other people. Reading Dawkins' take on Aquinas is like reading a young earth creationist writing about evolution. But I digress.

As far as the Church sex scandal, it's a tragic affair. However, you should really read the John Jay report on the scandal; this is an independently written report from the John Jay College that really nails down the causes of the sex abuse scandal (spoiler alert: celibacy had nothing to do with it). Also, if you read the statistics of abuse between Catholic clergy and other institutions (public schools, Boy Scouts, other religious institutions), you'll see that only 4% of priests between 1950 and 2002 were ever even accused and that the average abuse rate in other populations is around 10%. As for the cover up, at the time, the Church was doing what modern psychology said to do because the recidivism rate wasn't really understood (remember that the vast majority of these cases happened between 1950 and 1970). This website has some statistics on all of this and while it is published by the Church, all of the statements are cross referenced to non-church sources.

Anyway, I'll stop with the wall of text and even if you don't read anything I've suggested, I'm glad that your opinion of Catholics has improved. :)

u/BeenBeans · 65 pointsr/Catholicism

Hi there! Also a former raised-Catholic-but-not-really-former-atheist/agnostic revert here.

There are numerous - almost endless - amount of resources out there, regarding the Church. (Considering the age of the Catholic Church, it's not surprising.) If you had more specific topics you were looking for, I'm sure people here would be more than willing to point you in the right direction.

For more general sources by platform:



  • There actually is a "Catholicism for Dummies".

  • Mere Christianity is a classic read for all Christians. It is not explicitly Catholic, but it gives a good foundation.



  • Father Mike Schmitz does a great job of explaining things concisely and with enthusiasm.

  • Bishop Robert Barron is also extremely popular on social media among Catholics. Great content.



  • Catholic Stuff You Should Know is one part goofy banter and one part reflections/discussions on Catholicism. I listened to them regularly when I had 1+ hour commutes each way :)

  • Catholic Answers is also a well-known podcast among Catholics. Haven't listened to them yet, but I always hear good things!



  • Regarding mass and its structure/meaning. Here is a link to a USCCB page that breaks down the mass structure and explains the significance of each section/prayer

  • On how to pray the rosary. Learning the rosary can be a big hurdle for neophytes, but it would still be fruitful to begin with perhaps just one decade.


    This subreddit is generally good at giving solid answers and advice, if you had specific questions/doubts/inquiries. It was actually probably quite an instrumental player in my reversion to the Church. And like you said, head to confession ASAP! Welcome back home, friend.
u/Cordelia_Fitzgerald · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

What are your goals? Do you want to learn Catholic teaching? Know and understand the Bible stories? Do you want to read casually or do you want to put in some serious study?

If you just plan on using it every so often but are curious to learn more about Catholicism, there's the New Catholic Answer Bible. It's a New American Bible translation, which most of us on here don't like. This Bible has lots of inserts that answer common questions about Catholicism (Why do we confess to a priest? Why do we think Jesus is God? Why do we venerate Mary? What are saints? etc). My parish uses this Bible as the textbook for those in the RCIA program (the class for adults who want to join the Catholic Church), so it's a good way to learn.

If you want to learn the Bible story in an easy to read way-- The Great Adventure Bible just came out and breaks down the story of salvation into an easy to understand narrative. It helps you see how the Old Testament and the New fit together. If you want to really understand the Bible and want to commit to reading through a good chunk of it, this is the one to get (they have you start off with what they believe to be the 14 most important books to the story of salvation and then you can go back and read the "supplementary" books). **It's sold out right now, but it may be worth waiting for if you really want to learn the Bible story.

If you really plan on doing some serious study of Catholicism and putting time into it, get the Didache Bible. It cross-references the Catechism and is a good way to learn Catholic teaching in a more in depth way, but it's not nicely laid out for you like the other two I suggested. You have to be willing to do a lot more work going back and forth to the Catechism.

Either way, I suggest getting a Catechism to go along with your Bible. Ideally you should be going back and forth between the two as the Catechism explains the Catholic applications of the Bible. You can also find the complete Catechism online for free (you can find the Bible online for free, too), but I prefer the physical book.

u/TobyWalters · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I am also a Christian with mostly Baptist family who is considering entering the Catholic Church. I'll second (or third or fourth) Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn. I also enjoyed his Hail, Holy Queen. It really helped me to understand the Church's view of Mary. Just watch out for the puns. Hahn loves him some terrible puns.

I can tell you that reading the early Church Fathers was what really moved me away from Protestantism. I saw that the Church of the first millennium looked a lot more Catholic than I ever imagined. New Advent has an index of them here. New Advent is also the home of the online Catholic Encyclopedia. Lots of really good stuff there, although it is almost 100 years old.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and recommend the Catholic Answers forum. I wouldn't visit unless you really enjoy debate and don't get frustrated easily, but I have had more questions answered by reading some of the debates there between Catholics and Protestants than almost anywhere else. Just be aware that it's a large forum and quality varies. I know there are people here who don't like Catholic Answers at all because of how rowdy it can get, but it has been a huge help to me.

Visit Word on Fire. Father Barron is awesome, and WOF's videos are really informative. If you have the chance, check out their Catholicism series. EWTN runs them occasionally. It's a really great show.

Good luck with your journey. It's a big transition, but it's so beautiful.

EDIT: I forgot to add that I have a copy of the catechism. I have this one. It's pretty dense in spots, but I have found it a HUGE help. I would also recommend a Catholic study Bible. I am actually using an Orthodox study Bible at the moment, and it's great to have the deuterocanonical books included.

u/Pope-Urban-III · 12 pointsr/Catholicism

You are baptized, so you're Catholic.

  1. To rejoin the Church you start attending Mass on Sundays, you can go to confession, and you talk to the priest. You'll probably have to go through RCIA before you can receive Communion (and you'll be confirmed).

  2. You'll find that the church stances depend on the core beliefs and practices; it depends on what you mean by stances. Some things are matter of faith - we are required to assent to the teachings that all killing of the innocent is absolutely evil, etc. Does that mean we do it well all the time? No. It is absolutely useless to try to convince the Church to change on those things, so the best way to take them is to say, "I do not see how this can be, but the Church says it" and ask God for insight. As you learn more about the Faith, you start to see how everything fits together, and how "necessary evils" that the Church forbids are often the result of other evils that the Church also forbids. (Note that this has to do with beliefs of the Church; ideas of specific churchmen are in a different level; being Catholic doesn't mean you have to support a specific economic idea, even if some do. It's more about keeping the Truths of the Faith in view.)

  3. The Church has not split in any major way since the Orthodox wandered outside into the garden, where they seem happy to remain. There are factions inside the Church who are grumbling at each other - the way to understand this is that the Church is a family which includes everything that goes along with it - the devoted children who believe Dad is basically God, the rebellious teenagers who don't want to listen to Dad because he's not cool (but will call to be picked up late at night when they're worried), the Mom who loves Dad beyond belief but can't understand what he's doing, the Grandma who keeps talking about how it was in her day, and so on. Remember that anyone who says "The Church says" or "You must say" needs to back it up with the Magisterium. The way the Church works is that we trust in the Authority of God, who manifests His Authority through the world; if you have a question you ask your pastor; if he's wrong, God will let you know in time. Becoming more Catholic than the Pope is not recommended - knowing the Truth the Church teaches is good, but if you cannot see how something said applies, it may be your understanding that is missing. Living in the Church is much more about those around you and trying to be Christ to them than determining the exact doctrinal specifications - salvation is a process not a checklist.

  4. I would recommend reading some books - Rome Sweet Home is good, as is No Price Too High. You can also start going to your local parish, and get to know the pastor. After Mass, tell him you're interested in the faith and would like to go to dinner or something at some point. You might find a rare grouchy priest, but God will look out for you. You may also want to see if there's an FSSP parish nearby, they'll do the older form of the Mass, which can be quite beautiful and often strikes people differently.


    You will meet bad Catholics, good Catholics, extremely holy Catholics, racist Catholics, altruistic Catholics, annoying Catholics, intelligent Catholics, dumb Catholics, reddit Catholics, traditional Catholics, and more. The Church on earth "the Church Militant" has many imperfections, many people working out their salvation in fear and trembling. We are called to be loving to them as Christ would be loving to them, which is what He wants us to do. God so loves everyone that He wants to share the joy of this love with us, and the way to do that is to sacrifice for others as Christ sacrificed for us all.
u/aquohn · 1 pointr/Catholicism

> What exactly is problematic with a normative paradigm that involves respect and civility?

There's nothing wrong with such a paradigm. There is something wrong with embracing and enforcing such a paradigm while disavowing normativity/morality as such. No-one's talking about religion here - the only thing we're discussing is morality. The point I'm trying to make here is that normativity just is morality - if you disagree, name one plausible difference between a normative paradigm and a moral paradigm - so a normative/moral paradigm that disavows morality/normativity is simply and plainly absurd.

>First and foremost only certain people are asking for your guidance on what is good for them in the temporal or eternal sense. I for one don't need or want it.

It doesn't matter who's asking for guidance. That does not make the matter any less true, nor divest one of his duty to convince others of the truth. If you see a man suffering the symptoms of a certain kind of poisoning and attempt to inform him so, him angrily telling you, "I didn't ask for your opinion!" doesn't change the fact that he is being poisoned, or make walking away and ignoring him the moral/"civil"/"respectful" thing to do.

>Religion is based on faith, which in itself is a beautiful thing, but can't be forced or imposed.

Wrong. First off, if by "faith" you mean "belief without justification" then I have no idea what you're talking about, since such a belief ought be called delusion. The justification for Catholicism is really quite simple:

P1 Jesus preached what he did, including claiming to be a divine messenger.

P2 Jesus performed miracles, witnessed by many.

P3 These miracles convinced many men to undergo great hardships and sufferings for comparatively little gain.

SC1 (P1, P2, P3) Jesus' miracles were divine, and acted as a divine stamp of approval for his teachings.

P4 The record of his teachings and miracles has been passed down through the generations by the Catholic Church, to which he has granted authority to interpret his teachings.

C Faith in the Catholic Church is justified.

Of course, for the intelligent and inquisitive, a deeper and stronger understanding can be had from the study of theology. Classical theology typically builds upon a metaphysical edifice that is quite foreign to modern minds. The Last Superstition is a good entry-level book that argues for an Aristo-Thomist metaphysics and shows how belief in the existence of a Supreme Being, and some of the moral conclusions you ridicule here, arise from it.

But as you can see here, belief in Catholicism - including the attendant moral beliefs - can be entirely reasonably and objectively justified. So I do not see the problem with believing and acting as though they were universally binding objective truths, since that is indeed what I think they are.

>You don't respect those disordered homosexuals. I get it.

No, you don't respect homosexuals. You reduce their identities entirely to their homosexual desires, so a condemnation of those desires is in your understanding equivalent to a condemnation of them as people.

I honestly cannot understand how such egregious doublethink can be maintained. One does not say that condemnation of a sociopath's desires and punishment of his resultant destructive behaviour is somehow fundamentally disrespectful to the sociopath.

>I personally think that a lot of those mental processes are disordered

The object of sexual intercourse is procreation. This is objectively the case, in the same way that the purpose of the heart is to pump blood or the purpose of the bladder is to store urine. Yes, you can pump a bladder with air and use it as a rugby ball but that doesn't change the fact that its purpose qua body part, objectively speaking, is to store urine. Likewise, the purpose of one's sexual faculties is procreation. To use them in such a way that this purpose is deliberately frustrated, such as using one's wife's hand to masturbate or attempting to ape sexual intercourse with a member of the same sex despite such activity being intrinsically non-procreative, is what we call "disordered", since it deliberately frustrates the purpose of the act.

I hope you realise by now that "disordered" is not just Catholic-speak for "wtf" or "ew gross".

In brief conclusion:

  • All normative paradigms are moral paradigms, and vice versa. Hence a normative paradigm disavowing morality is a normative paradigm disavowing normativity - a contradiction.
  • We hold our moral opinions to be objectively true and hence universally binding, regardless of other people's opinions on them.
  • (Irrelevant digression) Delusional "blind" faith is not the basis for religious belief, but rather an entirely justified chain of reasoning for most people, sometimes supported by a rich edifice of theology and philosophy in the case of theologians, apologists, and internet enthusiasts.
  • Condemnation of behaviour or desires is not equivalent to condemnation of people. Not an important point but bloody annoying when people keep making this claim.
  • There is an objective, philosophical reason for us to pronounce certain acts as disordered and hence sinful.

    I believe these points suffice for an answer to any you have raised in this post.
u/Thanar2 · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

I can relate to your story in some ways, as I was raised Catholic, then became agnostic during high school and university. I came back to the Catholic Church after the positive witness of my family and friends, and having an encounter with Christ in my second year of college.

After that personal experience in prayer I knew that Jesus was real, but I still had a lot of unanswered questions about Catholicism, as well as no intellectual foundation to undergird my newfound faith in Christ. So I devoured a couple of good Catechisms, and over time, studied philosophical, Christian and Catholic apologetics to get solid answers to the questions and doubts that anyone with critical thinking skills will have. I am now a Catholic priest.

Here are some resources I would suggest:

u/Friend_of_Augustine · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I'd suggest Jimmy Akins The Fathers Know Best which compiles quotes from the Church Fathers and Akins enumerates them based on subject. It's not comprehensive but it's a good start and touches on a lot of things such as doctrines and dogmas, teachings and long held Church belief like contraceptives. It's a great book if you just want to look up what the Fathers have said and it's a great apologetics tool if you want to back up your positions. Either way, I think the following three books might be more inline with what you're looking for.

  • Reading the Early Church Fathers: From the Didache to Nicaea by Jim Papandrea.

    I haven't read this one, but I do know the author and it looks like it's right up your alley. Papandrea is a Catholic professor and this book covers important documents from the Early Church period and dissects the texts and explains them to you.

  • [When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers] ( by Marcellino D'Ambrosio

    Another book that is similar to Papandrea's book.

  • Father's of the Church

    Similar in content to the last two. Worth checking out.

    And here's if you want to read the Church Fathers directly

    I've constantly heard that the Jurgens 3 volume set was one of the best physical sets to buy. It's pricey, but I do know that it's cheaper on ebay so might be worth looking for it on there. (That is assuming you're within the US)

  • Complete Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers Collection by Phillip Schaff.

    I suggest you buy it digitally for next to nothing, it's great on Kindle and works well as a more comprehensive resource for studying the Fathers. His set is also digitalized online if you'd like to read it there for free. Absolutely no difference in content. Word of caution though, Schaff translated this in the late 19th century and was a Protestant, so his commentary may not always be historically and theologically sound. He does provide an exhaustive amount of footnotes that maintain the citations the Fathers used which is a task of its own. A great resource but with certain limitations.
u/trees916 · 24 pointsr/Catholicism

> I want to start going again, but dealing with his anti Catholicism and New Atheist Facebook posts, etc as a practicing Catholic just sounds emotionally exhausting. Plus I'd have to attend church alone with our toddler, who tries to make a break for the altar every time she's set loose.

Going to mass without your husband is better than not going at all. Moreover, other people should not inhibit your ability to practice the Faith. Concerning the New Atheist Facebook posts, if your husband finds that kind of material even remotely convincing, I would recommend he read Edward Feser's The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism.

> Then I start wondering what the point even is because she will probably just end up being an atheist because of his example.

Set a better example than your husband and make an effort to show your child that there are good reasons to be a Catholic. Read and study apologetic books like William Lane Craig's On Guard and/or Trent Horn's Why We're Catholic: Our Reasons for Faith, Hope, and Love so that you are better equipped to defend the Faith. When your daughter is old enough, she can read these books and other apologetics books for herself. Also, it wouldn't be a bad idea for your husband to read these same books. Although, William Lane Craig's On Guard for Students was written specifically for non-Christians; so it might be a better option than On Guard, which is intended for Christians.

> You can only pray for the same thing over and over so many times with no change before it starts feeling hopeless.

Keep praying. If you are not already doing so, pray the Rosary. Even if God is not granting you the request(s) made in your prayers, know that there is a good reason for doing so. The reason(s) may never be known during your time on earth, but do not allow this to damage your relationship with God.

> The prospect of returning just feels so lonely. Our parish is huge and no one ever says a word to me. Does anyone have any advice or encouragement?

Many parishes have bible studies or meetups of some kind that would give you the opportunity to meet other Catholics. It is better to feel lonely and do what is right than not feel lonely and fail to do what is right.

u/Tirrikindir · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

I want to repeat what others have said in gratitude for your respectful approach to our faith and your position. It says very good things about you as a person, and it means a lot to us as a community.

I don't have much to recommend for your kids, but I can suggest a few things for you.

First, although it is a bit odd to recommend a Protestant to introduce you to Catholicism, I do recommend Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. It is a very good introduction to some of the essential ideas of Christianity, and as a bonus it is written by C.S. Lewis, so it is very enjoyable to read.

Another thing I recommend is trying to make sense of the liturgical calendar. The big themes of Catholicism are given space on the calendar to help Catholics absorb them in a regular and balanced way. As a teacher, you will have opportunities to talk to the kids about what's currently going on last Sunday/the coming Sunday/this current season, and I imagine you can find ways to tie in the lessons you already had planned. If you can get your hands on a missal, it will give you relatively detailed information on the liturgical calendar and the scheduled scripture readings, and I'm guessing Catholicism for Dummies, which someone else mentioned, probably has a good summary for each liturgical season. Once you get a sense of what each season is, you might google reflections based on each Sunday's readings to see how different parts of the Bible fit into the season's broader themes.

You might also want to get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a reference book. If you have time, reading through the whole thing would teach you an enormous amount, but it would take some time to read. Each section has a little summary at the end, so you might start by just reading all of the summaries. Regardless of whether you get around to reading the whole thing, it can be very useful as a reference tool. If you don't want to buy a hard copy and/or you want to be able to search faster, you can find it online here. There's also a chance that there's a copy around the school somewhere.

u/otiac1 · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

Start with your interests. You may find that certain topics pique your curiosity more than others. A lot of what I've learned about Catholicism resulted from having a question, and wanting that question answered. Sometimes these questions are the results of selfish desire (ie, "Why can't I just have sex whenever I want?" or "Why do I have to give money to the poor?"), sometimes they're the result of professional interest ("What my employer is asking me to do seems immoral. Am I cooperating in evil?"), and sometimes they've just sounded interesting as I browse an FAQ box on various Catholic websites. Typically these questions will have a simple answer, with as deep an understanding that can be pursued as far as we want to take it (such as the relationship between man and woman being reflective of the Trinity, or the universal destination of goods being such that it isn't wrong for us to want nice things as long as recognize the source and ultimate orientation of those goods). Catholics Come Home may be just the thing for you, whether or not you consider yourself a 'returning Catholic' or a non-Catholic looking for the Truth. They've got some great spots airing on television and radio, one or two of which you may recognize (my personal favorite is Epic - I wish they offered it in high definition).

If you're looking for a video (or series of videos) to watch, Catholicism by Fr Robert Barron is amazing. He also offers a series of short videos on youtube via his Word on Fire ministry.

If you're looking for a Bible or companion thereto, Dr. Scott Hahn has a lot of great resources with links for ordering on his website. The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is one that I own and recommend. It's got a lot of great footnotes and embedded resources for really giving you a better understanding of the literal interpretation of Scripture.

If you're looking for simple audio commentary suitable for listen on the way to work, on a plane, or in a train, check out Lighthouse Catholic Media. Lots of very affordable CDs that offer talks in chunks of about an hour from popular Catholic speakers.

Last but not least, you can't go wrong with some primary sources. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a great place for answers, though they may be a bit deeper than someone starting out may feel comfortable with. The latter is especially true of the Code of Canon Law.

And, of course, you're always free to use the search function on /r/Catholicism or post general queries on the sub itself.

Welcome home.

u/KatzeAusElysium · 1 pointr/Catholicism

The mass should reflect what it is. For a good intro into what the mass is, I'd very much recommend Scott Hahn's "The Lamb's Supper".

TL;DR : when we're at mass, the Heavens open and we're surrounded by the saints and angels, who worship the Eucharist with us. When we're at mass, we see the crucified Christ on the crucifix above the altar- but He isn't there. Rather, He is what appears to be merely bread and wine, but is truly the crucified Christ on the crucifix.

If you would feel more solemn if the crucifix above the altar was truly the cross and corpus of the Lord, how much more solemn should we feel that the Eucharist is exactly that? The Eucharist is a more true Crucifix than any Crucifix. ( This image sort of demonstrates what I'm trying to say )

Here's what the Catechism says about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

>"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'"

> the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.

>[We can call the mass] The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church's offering... The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church's whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament; in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries. [Emphasis original]

> In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ's Passover, and it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present.

>The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:

>>[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper "on the night when he was betrayed," [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.

> The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different." "And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory."

u/sweetcaviar · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

Ok, well it all depends what stage of the journey you are at. Since you have been an atheist, the first priority will be to convince yourself philosophically of what exactly God is, and that God exists. Probably the best concise reference for this would be Five Proofs of the Existence of God by Edward Feser (a professor of philosophy who was, in fact, an atheist himself, and is now a Catholic). Once you are in relative certainty about the existence of God, you need to know why the Christian theology represents a direct revelation of God to mankind. Obviously, the best record to attest to this fact is the Bible itself. I would really just recommend reading through the whole thing front to back if you haven't yet. If you get stuck in some of the Old Testament, flip over and start reading through the New Testament, and just make sure you cover all your bases there. Don't be afraid to come back with questions you might have about any scripture you read. Another good read might be an exposition on why we can trust the narrative on the resurrection of Jesus, where you might be interested in The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas, an evangelical Christian scholar. Once you're there, you'll be most of the way along your journey into the faith and you might still question why the Catholic Church is the "right" one. There are dozens and dozens of resources responding to various Protestant objections to the faith, but honestly the best thing you can do is probably Catholic radio and podcasts. And actually, if you listen to "Catholic Answers" podcast (just search it on YouTube, daily podcast that you can listen to on Catholic radio or on YouTube live 6-8PM EST daily), you'll get a variety of quality information that runs the gamut from classic philosophical proofs for God from Aristotelian arguments to details of objections to the historical office of the Papacy in the 16th century, and everything in between, and the guys who do the apologetics on there are really humorous sometimes.

So if you're really detail oriented and want to wade into some books, maybe start by taking a look at those. If you just want an enjoyable and easy way to broach all these topics at once, I'd suggest start looking at the "Catholic Answers" videos. You could even call in to the podcast and get your specific question answered on air!

Hope this helps!

u/jonnyvice · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

I think you would enjoy this book greatly:

Most complaints from non-militant atheists (love these guys, they love deep philosophical conversation) I see are do to the so called dark ages brought about by the Church or religion in general. While members of the Catholic Church have never been perfect, the Church is responsible for some of the most progressive ideas ever to be born of man. The university system, science, it's all really fascinating to read about.

I've never been an atheist but I haven't always looked favorably on the Catholic church either (I wasn't born a Catholic and am still learning about it before making decisions). This book really helped me see what a tremendously positive force the Church has been throughout the ages. From making the western world a joy to live in to systematic helping of unfortunates.

Best of luck in any other books recommended here that you decide to read. In my experience, there's some warm and loving about the Church that I can't move away from now and I hope you find something similar or the same or at the very least feel good about continuing to learn more about a topic that interests you.

u/philosofik · 13 pointsr/Catholicism


As for required reading, the Bible is a good start. On its own, though, it's tough to crack. Fortunately, the same body that put it together is still around to help you through it. For an easier read, I recommend Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. It's an excellent primer on what makes Catholicism unique and why it has a strong claim on being the true Church started by Jesus Christ nearly 2,000 years ago.

My best advice for you, in the meantime, is to go to Mass. Find the nearest Catholic Church and pop in for Mass on Sunday. Nearly every Catholic Church has a program called RCIA. It stands for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. While the name sounds like you'll be committing to converting, the program is designed to answer your questions -- all of them -- before you get to that. Protestants believe in a "Come to Jesus" moment, a particular time when you just decide to become a Christian. Catholics hold that this isn't a moment, but a gradual process that requires full buy-in from both heart and mind. To that end, RCIA exists to answer questions and explore the many nuances, rhythms, lingo, gestures, postures, rubrics, and tenets of the faith. Only after your questions have been answered and you've come to understand what the Church teaches and why will you start thinking about the conversion process. We don't want people to come in and experience buyer's remorse. We believe that folks should know up-front what is involved with as much clarity as we can muster. Also, there is no set timeline. Some people stay in RCIA for years, inquiring and exploring the faith. Others may finish it in a single year's time. And in some cases, it can go faster than that still.

When Mass is over, hang around and speak to the priest. He'll be shaking hands with folks after Mass, most likely, so you can chat him up a bit when he's done. They don't get tired of hearing from folks like you! He might not have time to speak in-depth just then, but he can help you figure out how to start your journey, or set a time to meet later in the week.

We don't have different branches, per se. There are a few different rites, but on the whole, the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church encompasses about a billion people worldwide, give or take. The Mass you'll hear is the same Mass you'd hear at most any other Catholic Church you could go to. The same readings, the same prayers, and so on. Sometimes it's in the vernacular, sometimes it's in Latin, but the Mass is the Mass. That's, to me, one of the coolest things about Catholicism. It really is a universal Church.

One last note would be, when you go to Mass, to refrain from receiving Communion. You can just stay in your seat. You won't be the only one by any stretch. And don't worry about saying the right responses or trying to follow along in the books in the back of the pews. Just listen and watch, and kneel, sit, or stand when other folks do.

Welcome again!

u/kaesekopf · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

Aquinas by Edward Feser.

In it, he also handles/discusses the Five Proofs for God by Aquinas. Should also be somewhat useful to fight off that drifting.

It gives a pretty good intro. It's also pretty deep, but, yknow, still really good.

Edit to add link to Amazon:

Also, here's a post from Feser's blog, a review on his book:

>Dominicans Interactive is a new online initiative of the Irish Dominicans. (Check out their Facebook page and website.) Today the website reviews my book Aquinas. From the review:

>>The chapter on natural theology deals with all five of Aquinas’s proofs for the existence of God… as well as containing a short treatment of the divine attributes (God’s simplicity, perfection, goodness, immutablity, and so on). The reader will encounter in this chapter one of the most robust defences of the validity of every one of the arguments for the existence of God (Five Ways) available in the English language… This chapter is a tour de force and bears witness to Feser’s deserved reputation as a master of natural theology. Both students and established scholars ought to acquire a copy of the book for the sake of this chapter alone.

>Very kind! The review also warns: “[A] note of caution: Feser’s book, while it ought to be required reading for any introductory course on Aquinas’s philosophy, is nonetheless very challenging for the neophyte.” That’s worth emphasizing. The book’s subtitle “A Beginner’s Guide” is a bit misleading. It was not part of the original title when the book was contracted, and writing a “beginner’s guide” was not something I had in mind when working on it. What happened is that after the book was finished the publisher decided to fold it into their “Beginner’s Guides” series. In fact most readers will find it more challenging than The Last Superstition, though not as challenging as Scholastic Metaphysics.

u/COKeefe88 · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

The title of your post immediately reminded me of a Scott Hahn talk I heard last year, and then I saw your reference to him—so maybe you've already heard or read this story. If not, here it is from his talk, as I remember it: as a young Protestant minister gradually pulled into Catholicism, he was in much the same boat as you. His wife was dead-set against. She was very worried about him, and went behind his back to talk a mutual friend, a fellow minister, and urge him to do everything in his power to save Scott from Catholicism. So this friend started reading all the books that Scott had been reading. He and Scott's wife would look for the logical holes and plot how to undermine Scott's conversion. Much drama followed...but within two years, both Scott's wife and her co-conspirator had joined Scott in converting to Catholicism.


You've said your vows to your wife, before God. You are committed to her, and she to you, until death do you part, whether you like it or not. If she won't go to Catholic church with you, that's ok. If she leaves you, that's ok too—you are committed to living chastely and honoring your marriage vows even if she leaves you, and doing everything you can (short of rejecting the Truth) to win her back.

But that's getting a bit melodramatic. You have concerns about Mary? Share those with your wife, instead of trying to poorly defend Marian doctrines you don't understand. It's ok not to have the answer, and if I know anything about marital communications (married seven years), saying "I don't know" is more likely than anything to get your wife on your side talking about the challenges with you more openly.

Your wife doesn't need to convert at the same time as you. But if you have converted in your heart, get yourself in RCIA and start going to Catholic church. If you want to really live your commitment both to God and to your marriage, go to your usual Sunday church with your family for the foreseeable future, and then go alone to a Catholic mass. That might take all Sunday morning, so you could perhaps go to Catholic mass on a Saturday afternoon if it fits your schedule better.

Anyway, that's a bunch of unsolicited advice. You asked for prayer and book recommendations. Let's pray together: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."


And here's a book recommendation, since you like Dr. Hahn, in case you haven't come across it yet: Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God.

u/you_know_what_you · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

A nice small volume is the Youth Catechism (YOUCAT). It's really directed to young adults, so maybe too young depending on your preference or learning style.

If you're OK with a little more depth, but still very high-level, try the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Best part about this book is its Q&A format. Of course, you may need to do deeper diving as you'd like, but this is great for reacquainting yourself with the basic questions and teachings! The Compendium is also available free online, but the book is pretty cheap and easier on the eyes than the Vatican website.

Welcome home! Good luck with your recovery!

u/mayordaily1 · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

I'm not a non-practicing Catholic, but rather a poorly catechized Catholic for whom, up until about two years ago, Mass felt arbitrary, pointless, and especially, boring. I kept going because my whole family did, and my family structure is such that the problems I'd face by not going would have canceled out any perks of sleeping in on Sundays.

Either way, the questions remained: Why am I doing this? What does this all mean? Is it really so hard for a parish to make a mass that's at least mildly fulfilling and entertaining?

I also felt pretty bad because there was a part of me that knew that the ideal was to want to go to Mass every Sunday, and although I considered myself a spiritual and good person, I just didn't.

The answer? I was simply ignorant of what the Mass truly was. And on a deeper level, I was unaware of the tremendous love God has for me. I think Scott Hahn's The Lamb's Supper is super insightful on both fronts. I implore you to check it out.

Here's where it gets less nice: you have put your soul in grave danger by missing Mass for no good reason. Please don't wait til judgement day to discover the consequences of it. While it's unexpected to overturn years of apathy in a few days, you might not have forever to figure it out.

Make a sincere confession (general and specific) and begin attending Mass on Sundays. Be honest with God when you're there. Tell Him you honestly don't enjoy being there and can he do anything about it? The God that died for us would definitely throw a little something our way to remind us He's there and He wants us.

Hope this helps, I'll pray for ya.

u/improbablesalad · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

> I've read about Saints fasting and praying and then experiencing some revelation or moment of clarity or discerning their vocation.

I took a quick look at your post history to get a sense of your current life situation since the circumstances we are already in will tend to affect what we could be called to do in future and what we can do at the moment.

First, try to spend a little time regularly in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, i.e., either sitting in a quiet church where you can see the tabernacle, or, at Eucharistic Adoration.

Second, if there's a parish in your area that holds a retreat for women, and if your circumstances make it possible to go on a retreat, then I'd consider it. That would be a cool thing for a college student because they're got no strings (like Pinocchio sings about) but I am a working parent who does not have a lot of help so I am aware that can be hard to do anymore. So if that's not possible, then I would suggest increasing the amount of prayer time in your life but in a small and sustainable way (aim for something that you can definitely do every day)... this might be lectio divina (someone here can hook you up with how to do that, or there are websites) and quiet contemplation, or might be part of Liturgy of the Hours (you can pause sometimes for a bit of silence when you're doing it on your own; there should be some pauses when it's done in a group as well but sometimes people forget). Or, another good option is 33 Days to Morning Glory which describes itself as a "do-it-yourself retreat".

I would also try to find a spiritual director (which is a whole other topic). Historically, nuns or other holy women who fasted or did other penance had a regular confessor to report to and they would ask him if it was ok to do the kind of fasting or physical penance that they were planning to do (this helps people to stay safe from, first, things that are unhealthy, and, second, from pride.) But more importantly it is someone to talk to if/when there is some kind of revelation or moment of clarity or just frustration at having a shapeless feeling of being called to something but having no idea what. The nice thing about priests (as spiritual directors in that situation) is that they have had to discern a vocation (pretty much by definition) so they have some practical sense of what it is like.

u/amdgph · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Alright here are some of the best resources I know as a Catholic. Hope they help!

Edward Feser's blog as well as his The Last Superstition and 5 Proofs of the Existence of God

Stephen Barr's Modern Physics and Ancient Faith

Francis Collin's The Language of God

Anthony Flew's There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind

Thomas Wood's How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization

Brant Pitre's The Case For Jesus

Tim O Neill on the Church and science, the Inquisition and the Galileo affair

Jenny Hawkins on Jesus and God, early Christianity and form criticism

Al Moritz on the Fine Tuning Argument

>There is a reason someone should believe in the supernatural and mystical aspects of Christianity. This is a large issue for me. Solely based on supernatural and mystical ideas, from an outsider perspective, Christianity is no different than animism or Buddhism. I can't have faith alone.

Well when you look at the world's religions, Christianity has a clear and impressive advantage in the miracles/mystical department. Historically, in Christianity, there have been numerous cases of Eucharistic miracles, Marian apparitions, miraculous healings and the spiritual gifts and religious experiences of countless Christian saints -- men and women of great virtue whose admirable character only add to the credibility of their testimony. Examples of these include Paul, Benedict of Nursia, Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Hildegard of Bingen, Anthony of Padua, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Vincent Ferrer, Joan of Arc, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Catherine Emmerich, John Vianney, Anna Maria Taigi, Genma Galangi, Faustina Kowalska and Padre Pio. We also have a pair of impressive relics, the shroud of Turin and the sudarium of Orvieto. I'll also throw in Catholic exorcisms.

And these Eucharistic miracles, Marian apparitions and religious/mystical experiences continue to happen today.

What do Buddhism and animism have in comparison?

>Anything that discusses and argues against some common tropes from atheists such as Mother Teresa being a vile, sadistic person.

Honestly, I'm quite stunned at the portrait atheists have painted of her. At worst, she wasn't perfect and made mistakes. She cannot be a vile monster like Hitchens claims she was, that's ridiculous. Here are some articles that defend Mother Teresa -- here, here, here and here.

Check out any of Mother Teresa's personal writings (e.g. No Greater Love, A Simple Path, Come Be Thy Light) to see what she believed in, what she valued and how she saw the world. Check out books written by people who actually knew her such as that of Malcolm Muggeridge, an agnostic BBC reporter who ended up converting to Catholicism because of Teresa and ended up becoming a lifelong friend of hers. Or that of her priest, friend and confessor, Leo Maasburg, who was able to recall 50 inspiring stories of Mother Teresa. Or that of Conroy, a person who actually worked with her. Or any biography of hers. Find out what she was like according to the people around her. Then afterwards, determine for yourself if she resembles Hitchen's "monster" or the Catholic Church's "saint".

u/spuds414 · 1 pointr/Catholicism

My wife too came from a charismatic non-denominational church background. The process for her took a bit of time, and I think it was mostly accomplished through introduction to and then love of the liturgy. In college, we attended a non-denom church that did communion every week and did passing of the peace every week. After college, we were at a Presbyterian church for 7 years that had weekly communion, passing of the peace, confession of sin, and an OT reading. These were steps in a liturgical direction, which made the transition easier.

Have you guys been to mass yet? That definitely would be a good thing to do. I would read up about what goes on at the mass so you'll know what to expect, and then don't hesitate to participate (everything that's said and done is orthodox). Most of the responses should be in the front cover of the missal in the back of the pews. The order of the mass is also in the Missal, so you can follow along.

In terms of books, my wife loved Evangelical is Not Enough. She also liked Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic. Both of those books really helped her overcome the Catholic prejudices she had from growing up (Catholics worship Mary, etc).

I've also heard good things, but have not read, Girl at the End of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future. The author, Elizabeth Esther, comes from a very fundamentalist upbringing. She also has a blog you might be interested in checking out.

Can't recommend any videos, but I've heard Fr Robert Barron's Catholicism series is good - but expensive. Maybe your local Catholic church has a DVD you could check out? Here a preview.

Don't hesitate to PM me if you have any questions! I did a ton of research and would be happy to point you toward resources I found helpful.

u/frijoles_refritos · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

You might be interested in reading Rome Sweet Home by Protestant converts to Catholicism, Scott and Kimberly Hahn.

Here's an audio recording
of him talking about his conversion experience on YouTube, if you're interested.

I'm a convert from an atheist/agnostic background, so my struggles were different than yours, but a few of the (many)things that persuaded me of Catholicism as opposed to Protestant Christianity are:

  • Christ Himself refused to take back, soften, or explain as metaphorical His assertation that those who partake of His Flesh and Blood have eternal life. The Bible tells us that this claim scandalized people and many of His disciples left Him over it. Yet He did not reassure the uneasy that He was merely using poetic or metaphorical language. He did not call those who left back.
    He let them go. That seems like a powerful statement to me.

  • Purgatory makes sense in a way, if we take inventory of the facts that we do know. We know that life is short and we have only one life. We know we are weak and prone to sin and imperfection. We know that Heaven is only for those pure and holy enough to stand being in the radiant presence of God. Meanwhile, we know that hell is eternal. And rather confusingly, we also know that God is merciful. Umm... Pieces of puzzle not entirely fitting together. A state where those of us who are imperfect can still be purified and reach Heaven? Ahh. Starting to make sense. If you know what I mean.

  • Test of time. Catholic morality has maintained a high bar and beautiful resoluteness, and has not changed over the millennia, while almost all of the Protestant denominations have caved in to greater or lesser degrees to the demands and whims of modern culture for a more lax "morality" over the last several decades.
    Catholicism has remained one solid, constant, historical Church over the millennia, while Protestantism has
    been continually splintering and fragmenting into an ever more mind-boggling plethora of denominations, ever since the Reformation.

    Don't know if any of that will be at all helpful to you, but more than anything, I encourage you to keep asking your questions, to search and research boldly. I mean, dig deep, read a lot, and don't give up.
    Search for answers until you get them. The real Faith can stand up to scrutiny. It is reaffirmed, rather than threatened by it. And, of course, it is promised in Scripture that the one who searches will find.
    Will say a prayer for you.
    God bless.
u/throw0901a · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

The book "Aquinas" by Edward Feser:


    Note: they are based on Aristotle's thinking, so are not biblical or based on revelation. Purely logic. (And no, neither Hume nor Dawkins, refuted them.) A series of blog posts that summarize the book, but if you are intellectually serious in (re-)investigating the topic, but book is best (and only ~200 pages):


    It has (the potential) to get to a logical reason for an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God. You'll have to look into the historicity of Jesus for Christianity specifically: perhaps try "The Resurrection of the Son of God" by N. T. Wright (anything by him really).

    For why Catholicism specifically in Christianity, try "The Fathers Know Best" by Jimmy Akin, who does a lot of Q&A on Radio:


    As to why not other religions: science. Most other world views deny one (or more) of the following tenants which precent knowing the natural world better:

  • The world is real and not an illusion (Hinduism, Buddhism).
  • The workings are the world are predictable, and not due to fickle reason deities. (paganism, Islam)
  • The world is understandable by humans because we have reason.
  • It is worth exploring the natural world. (Islam)

    For why (modern) science could have only developed in Europe, and not the Middle East / Muslim world or China, see "The Rise of Early Modern Science" by Toby E. Huff. For why India was handicapped, "Intellectual Curiosity and the Scientific Revolution" by Huff.

    I think these books have the potential to explain why one should go from atheism to deism, to Christianity, to Catholicism.
u/LurkingSoul · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

What a great desire! I heartily fifth the recommendation to pray the rosary daily! Here is a video (I think I saw it posted here somewhat recently, but in case you didn't see it...) on the rosary by Fr. Don Calloway, MIC. It's a good video.

I recently finished total consecration to Jesus through Mary and I cannot recommend it enough. This is a link to St. Louis de Montfort's method for consecration. It also includes links to parts of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary written by that saint which can be read for free on that site. (If you like physical books, you can also find it cheaply on Amazon)

I used 33 Days to Morning Glory for my consecration preparation. Use whichever you want.

You can also consider reading the Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics. A short compilation of several Catholic mystics relaying Mary's life as told by Mary when those mystics had visions of Mary. I was quite skeptical about this book, but my mom lent it to me and I decided to give it a try. It brought me closer to Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph. I have found this book helped me tremendously with meditating on the mysteries while praying the rosary.

u/paul_brown · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

Mr. Syme has offered a good list to begin. I would like to follow that list up with a number of other good works:

  • The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton

  • Theology and Sanity by F.J. Sheed

  • Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie

    The NAB you have is an approved translation, but I highly recommend using the RSVCE.

    It is certainly a good idea to buy Sacred Scriptures and the Catechism right now. These two pieces of literature are essential to any Catholic's library. The Missal is very good for your devotional life, especially if you are converting and have no prior experience with our Church.

    Be sure to balance your reading of non-fiction works with some good, rousing fiction as well. The brain needs to find itself in fantasy every now and then. Chesterton, Tolkien, Lewis, and Waugh are all good authors.
u/Smyrnasty · 1 pointr/Catholicism

God calls us all in different ways for sure. Thanks for sharing your background... If it helps at all, I was a very big Bill Maher fan and very much socially liberal prior to my conversion into Catholicism. My personal advice would be to start researching some teachings of the Catholic faith through a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church or a local RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at a nearby parish. If you're into podcasts, please check out "Word on Fire" from Bishop Robert Barron... He's excellent at explaining the faith.

My recommendation would be to focus on the truth of some of the main teachings of the faith first instead of focusing on the "below the belt" sexual issues like abortion, LGBT, etc. I had similar concerns about some of those teachings until I really got my head around the Catholic concept of original sin, concupiscence, fallen/disordered natures for all of us, and that someone's same sex attraction is no different in the eyes of God than my attraction to drink too much, lust, or be selfish. Feel free to reach out to me at any point with any questions, book recommendations, etc.

u/deakannoying · 7 pointsr/Catholicism

You are describing our identical paths -- I left the church shortly after confirmation, which was solidified by my classes in philosophy at a university. I spent the next decade or so slowly working my way back.

All I can tell you is that the Spirit, via the Blessed Sacrament, never let me go, never gave up. It took several years of my wavering between suppressing that voice and listening to that voice for me to finally "give in." In my case I needed a retreat weekend that continually broke down the emotional and spiritual walls I had built against the voice of the Spirit.

From the intellectual perspective, I can tell you that without true conversion of the heart, nothing you read or listen to is going to stick. One cannot reason one's way into a loving relationship with God -- I know, I tried. One must simply say "Ok, I give up, I give you my intellect, my heart, my emotions, my soul, my life," and one's paradigm will shift.

All of a sudden all those works that did nothing to build my relationship with God started...building my relationship with God. Instead of reading from a skeptic's perspective, I read from a believer's perspective and everything made sense.

In any case, if you do want to try to reason your way back, start with Edward Feser then move to Stanley Jaki's Cosmos and Creator, while interspersing G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy and Heretics. This represents a cross-section of high-level material on metaphysics/Thomism, cosmology and scientific methodology of the universe, and modern philosophical/theological reflection on religion, respectively. You could also read Aquinas' Summa summa and Augustine's Confessions, as well as Boetheus' Consolation of Philosophy. I found Confessions to be particularly compelling as a skeptic / agnostic who was fighting internally.

Edit: I forgot my favorite blogger / sci-fi writer / ex-militant-atheist-turned-Catholic John C. Wright.

u/feminaprovita · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Do you want modern personalities, too? Because I found Jennifer Fulwiler's Something Other Than God to be quite nice, and even Scott and Kimberly Hahn's Rome Sweet Home was pretty good.

These are the only Catholic memoirs by living persons I've read (not typically my genre), but each was enjoyable in its own way. (If you're only picking one, I vote Fulwiler.)

My prayers for your search! Enjoy the reading. :)

EDIT: Duh! GK Chesterton's Orthodoxy is not exactly a conversion story, but it kind of is, and it's pretty great, too.

u/jasimon · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I'm not sure what causes you to love my username, it's just initials and a last name, but I'm curious what you took it to mean!

Strobel's The Case for Christ is good, but it's pretty simple.

For a better look at the Gospels and how Jesus is shown to be divine in them, I would recommend Dr. Brant Pitre's new book The Case for Jesus. I think it'd be a good next step for these questions.

u/redmonkey19 · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

You're welcome, I'm glad I could be of help! Same here, books and reading are extremely important to me, and have been a huge influence in my life. Also, if I can make another recommendation, I haven't read it, but I've heard good things about Rome Sweet Home. It might be worth reading as you explore Catholicism.

Also, if you have any questions about Catholicism or Christianity, you're more than welcome to ask them on this subreddit. God bless! :)


u/iamjar · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I admire your honesty and desire for truth, it's very rare these days.

To answer your question, you must pray. Prayer is necessary for faith, because it comes from above. You know how some people, even with all the evidence, reject what is reality because they want to be deluded? You need God to help you see reality and to live according to it. You should start praying the rosary, as it's a most beautiful prayer to the Mother of God, while meditating on the life of Christ. Prayer is humility in action, because by praying you recognize you are not strong enough on your own. You need God's help.

After that, I'd find a priest in a parish from here near where you live (, these are traditional priests, and he can help you answer your questions. Online is one thing and in person is another.

And keep reading in the meantime, both sides, of the evidence for Jesus Christ as the Son of God (, Lives of the Saint(Pope St Pius X, St Anthony the Great, St Anthony of Padua, St Padre Pio), the Gospels.

It's not easy and it will take time, but life in Christ is worth more than all that. The peace of God is worth more than the universe.

" Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. "

u/versorverbi · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Certainly pray for her, but confronting her can be detrimental to the relationship. My wife prayed for me a lot, but we would get into fights when she tried too hard to convert me (for our first married Christmas she literally bought a pile of Catholic apologetics books; it didn't go well). I had to come to conversion on my own.

The most important thing is to work hard to be a faithful Catholic yourself. This is especially true because you weren't practicing when you got married; your wife should be able to tell the difference between who you were before and who you are now, with the Church back in your life. As others have suggested, go to Mass, make time for adoration, pray the rosary, buy and read books that teach you your Catholic faith and improve your devotion to our Lord. When you mess up, especially in your marriage, go to confession ASAP and make things right.

Don't attack her or Protestantism in general; it's unhelpful, for example, to say, "See? Protestants be crazy," when something bad happens at your wife's church. (Bad things happen at Catholic parishes, too.) But when she has questions for you--"Why don't you eat fish on Fridays? Why do you pray to Mary? Why does your Bible have more books than mine?"--make sure you have answers. Be charitable and knowledgeable in responding.

Perhaps most importantly, be patient. Prayer works, but it doesn't always accomplish your goal today or tomorrow.

EDIT: Typo.

u/cdubose · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Books: (I would double-check to make sure they don't already have some of these prior to purchase, though)

  • Nice hardback version of the Catechism
  • Good Catholic Study Bible (Pope-Urban-III mentioned some good ones)
  • Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn
  • Priority of Christ by Bishop Robert Barron
  • subscription to Magnificat
  • Book about or written by their confirmation saint
  • Good Catholic Prayer Book
  • Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel (if they're younger)
  • Finding True Happiness by Dr. Robert Spitzer, SJ

    Not books:

  • A nice rosary (a Catholic can never have too many rosaries)
  • A wall crucifix (as in one they can hang on the wall at home)
  • A necklace with a crucifix on it
  • A nice nativity set
  • An artistic picture of the pope? (a great gift if they're a fan of Pope Francis--if they aren't, find out what Pope they are a fan of and get a picture of that pope)
u/trolo-joe · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

If he's not already, get him into praying the divine office. You can get the single volume set or the four volume set.

It would be lovely if the two of you prayed together. I would recommend (if this is foreign to either of you) to start with Night Prayer (compline). It's the shortest version, to be prayed before you go to bed (or 9pm if you keep the Hours) and it introduces you to the style of prayer.

Morning Prayer (matins lauds) is great - I love starting my day with it.

For you I would recommend reading Rome Sweet Home and/or Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic.

u/PetiePal · 2 pointsr/Catholicism
  • The YouVersion Bible App. (
    I used to use Glo but it kinda sucks and they didn't update or keep up with new features. I can bookmark/highlight passages, create quotes and media, read and participate with my wife and friends in Bible plans not just readings but media built in. It's great and 100% free.

  • I own a St. Joseph's New American Edition of the Bible which I really like
  • I also own a St. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible which is amazing

u/TarnishedTeal · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

33 days to Morning Glory is an excellent book that takes a look at Marian consecration from the view of 4 great Saints. This author has also written a few other amazing books. The journaling you do with this program is life-changing. The website is pretty great too, the last I checked (a few years ago).

And then of course there is the Montefort classic True Devotion to Mary which is what many many people from laypersons to popes have used to consecrate themselves.

Give either book a read through and talk with your local priest. Also lots of prayer. Like, LOTS of prayer. Also I've been slowly feeling a call back to Catholicism and back to my Consecration, so thank you for your post.

u/InsomnioticFluid · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

There are several good ones. As a Protestant, I am sure you would appreciate the biblical background, so here are some I recommend:

  1. Walking with Mary (Sri is an excellent theologian whose writing is very accessible).
  2. Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary (Pitre is also very good. While I haven’t read this, if it’s like any of his other books, it will be excellent.)
  3. Hail Holy Queen (A a popular classic, also listed above).
  4. Rethinking Mary in the New Testament (A new in-depth treatment focusing on the Biblical background).

    You really can’t go wrong with any of these titles. Just check out the descriptions and reviews and see which one you like best.
u/JustSomeSmallQs · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

>Unlike your anthropomorphic sky creature.

Straw man, straw man, swimming through the ocean, causing a commotion, because it’s so fallacious...We don’t believe in a dude with a beard in the sky. You realize those depictions are just for ease of viewing, right? Otherwise we would literally not be able to depict the moment of creation, which would make for very unentertaining images.

>And some non spatial/temporal-ether (for lack of a better descriptive term) is an entirely possible, even likely explanation of observable facts.

Mmmmmhmmmm. It’s weird that you guys are all “hurr durr magic sky fairy,” and in order to keep any semblance of self-consistent philosophy you have to resort to untestable universes that spontaneously generated out of nothing. You literally read more like a caricature of Christian beliefs than I do. “It just happened! It popped out of space juice!”

Which one of us is high, again?

Also, note that God is also a perfectly consistent explanation. But sure, magic sky multiverses. Whatever.

>Please read ACTUAL theories and research.

Did you read the research behind the book you linked? I too read pop science. I’m reading an ancient Brian Greene book called Fabric of the Cosmos right now. I would encourage you to look up the critical reviews for the book you linked, as well. Here’s one I found (admittedly on Wikipedia), that I thought was interesting:

>Commenting on the philosophical debate sparked by the book, the physicist Sean M. Carroll asked, "Do advances in modern physics and cosmology help us address these underlying questions, of why there is something called the universe at all, and why there are things called 'the laws of physics,' and why those laws seem to take the form of quantum mechanics, and why some particular wave function and Hamiltonian? In a word: no. I don't see how they could."


>Sorry I won't read your bronze age myths anymore than I have.

Okay? We’ll see who’s right when we die, I guess.

>Equivocate if you wish.

Thank you for your generosity.

>Religion gave us sacrificial goats.

Science gave us Hiroshima and the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, but I’m not railing at science, am I?

>Science (an actual, demonstrable understanding of reality) gave us engines, planes, computers...

Catholicism gave us the university system, Western civilization, the Big Bang Theory, tons of advances in modern medicine, a modern legal system, and, what do you know, according to this, modern science. Weird, huh?

>Probability is temporal, so even the most unlikely things are bound to happen in a multiverse, btw...

Who are you to decide how probability does or does not apply in a multiverse that you don’t even know exists?

>if you'll leave me to take advantage of the life I actually know I'll get.

Yes, please, continue leading your meaningful life trolling Catholic forums.

u/Akzum · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Depends on what section of the Church she wants to discover. Just off the top of my head:

The Lamb's supper is widely recommended, I haven't read it but any word of it highly praises the way it explains and appreciates the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

I enjoyed Francis Cardinal Arinze's book on Mary, and how it relates perfectly to scripture.

Has she seen Bishop Barron's Catholicism series in general?

u/superlosernerd · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

You can consecrate yourself to Christ through Mary on any day of the year - God would not restrict such a beautiful gift to certain days.

However, it is tradition, and somewhat more meaningful, to consecrate yourself on a Marian feast day. Typically you try to time it so the traditional 33 days of study/prayer finish on the day before the consecration, and you do your consecration on the 34th day, which would be a Marian feast day. I finished mine recently, on the Our Lady of the Rosary fest day.

I would highly recommend St. Louis de Montford's guide, but when I did my consecration, I used not only that book but also the more modern 33 Days to Morning Glory. The 33 Days book is a little more modern in its text and easier to understand, but the original guide by St. Louis de Montford had many more prayers and a more in-depth introduction to Mary that I greatly appreciated. So for my 33 day study, I used both, which I highly recommend, since I felt like I learned a lot from both.

u/Midwest88 · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Fuentes is good for some things, like fighting SJW's. He's well-meaning when he defends his Catholic faith, but definitely isn't that competent at it. He's more well-read on political philosophers (he even states this in his earlier vids), so like many, many young Catholics he has a lot to learn about his face on a philosophical and theological standpoint to better understand and defend it. This is not to say that he isn't worth listening to, just to be aware of his strengths and what he needs to work on (of course what's stated above is my own observation; you may think differently).

I haven't read every comment directed to you, but if it hasn't been listed I'd say look at these to become a staple in your "spiritual warfare toolbox":

  • Purchase a rosary. I got mine at Learn how to say the rosary and try to incorporate it every week for a month then daily the next (like a spiritual/praying workout). Get it blessed by your local priest.
  • Purchase a scapular (various colors means different things). Get it blessed by your local priest.

    Books/Lit (if you have the funds):

  • Bible (I suggest the Douay-Rheims or Knox translation)
  • Baltimore Catechism
  • The Last Superstition by Ed Feser

    Also, read/listen to stories about atheists who turned Catholic:

  • John C. Wright
  • Leah Libresco
  • Holly Ordway
  • Jennifer Fulwiler
u/peonymoss · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

1- Bible: Any Bible with the word "Catholic" on the front (and without words like "Story", "Picture", "For Little Ones", etc) will suit your purposes. Your best bet is either the NRSV-CE or the New American Bible. Beyond that, it's completely up to you - different editions have different features. Just go to a Catholic bookstore and see which one you like best. This blog has some information on the different editions.

For the NRSV-CE, take a look at the Ignatius Bible

For New American, take a look at a St Joseph edition. I've also heard a recommendation for the Fireside editions.

Either one of those might fit the bill for "quintessential"

2 - For learning the prayers of the Mass, get a St Joseph Sunday Missal. Any edition will have the basic prayers. If you get the inexpensive paperback "2015" book, it will have the prayers of the Mass, but the Bible readings won't pick up until the new Church year starts in late November.

For learning more about the whys and wherefores of the Mass, the Catechism has a good start on this information. You might also like to check out Scott Hahn's The Lamb's Supper

3- printed Catechism - Get this one. If it looks intimidating, get one of its little sisters, the Compendium or even the YouCat

4 - Philosophy - The Catechism itself will have references. I like Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed

Hope this is helpful! Welcome aboard!

u/OcioliMicca · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

My favorites Scripture Scholars are:

  1. Brant Pitre
  2. Scott Hahn
  3. John Bergsma


    They all have Bible Studies in specific topics (Eucharist, Priesthood, Covenants, specific Books) or more general. For Old Testament, I'd check out Brant Pitre and John Bergsma's somewhat recently released A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament. They have a New Testament one coming, but not sure on the date. But you do have Scott Hahn's Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament to cover your bases there! You can also look into Navarre Study Bibles, it's best to get them used on sites like Ebay or Amazon as they're pricey but worth it in commentary. Brant Pitre and John Bergsma has a lot of their work available at Catholic Productions. Scott Hahn has the St. Paul Center, which even has some online study course available free like The Lamb's Supper: The Bible and the Mass.
u/Bounds · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

> I'm looking for reading material, lectures, anything that can help me in my journey back to the church.

I believe that the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, will be the greatest help to you. In the sacraments we encounter Jesus, instead of simply learning about him. Learning is important too, of course.

That said,
more (free) lectures than you can shake a stick at:

Some spiritual reading (Paid):

How to Resist Temptation A short book that does an excellent job of clearing up some common misconceptions about temptations and how we respond to them.

The Last Superstition A polemical book, which can be off-putting to a meek soul, but it provides a very accessible explanation of the philosophical framework of the Church.

Some spiritual reading (Free):
Story of A Soul The story of St. Therese of Lisieux's "little way," which saw her promoted to be a doctor of the Church.

The Practice of the Presence of God Brother Lawrence describes his spirituality, which involved being in constant prayer.

The Great Divorce A gentle, fictional introduction to Purgatory.

Is there a specific topic you want to read more about?

u/crowjar · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Well, it would depend on what you feel your soul is looking for right now.

You say you're agnostic, there are books for people who want to get a sense of the existence of God, like Jacob's Ladder: Ten Steps to Truth. Peter Kreeft, the author of the book, has a handy section on his website going over various perspectives on the verification of God's existence.

There are books for people who want to get to know Catholic faith a little better before committing, like Waking Up Catholic: A Guide to Catholic Beliefs for Converts, Reverts, and Anyone Becoming Catholic.

There are books for people who want to get to know the Catholic faith more in depth, and have some hurdles to overcome, particularly from the protestant objections, like Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism, from an anti-Catholic Presbyterian minister whose battle against the faith pulled him into it.

There are people who come to the Church by reading on the lives of saints, others by reading on the history of the church and how it built western civilization, and others just by reading the news. It's not just a purely intelectual exercise, this is a spiritual quest and as such you have to give your soul what it yearns for.

u/Lmcglinchey · 1 pointr/Catholicism

For a Bible, I'd recommend, and the Catechism to the Catholic Church. It's a great Buble translation and has footnotes that reference the CCC which explains what the Church teaches and why. They're an excellent pair. As for Mass? Others have given excellent advice. As a convert myself, I found The Catholic Church to hold the fullness of truth.

God bless you in your search for truth.

u/nkleszcz · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Get a Bible you would read. I like the RSV-CE, but you can also go with the Douay Rheims if you want archaic English or the NAB. Of the Bibles, the Navarre Bible (RSV) has commentary sections from Saints throughout the centuries. They have a single volume version of the New Testament that I use. (Also good, the Ignatius Study Bible, also New Testament only).

I recommend Thomas Howard's If Your Mind Wanders At Mass and Healing Through the Mass by Fr. Robert DeGrandis.

Get the Official Catechism of the Catholic Church, and get the helps put out by Ignatius Press (which contain the texts of all the footnotes). The Compendium is also good, if you want an abridgement.

For Philosophy, I recommend The Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin. In that book he takes the writings of seven doctors of the Church and encapsulates them so that a layperson can follow them. You can use that as a springboard to discover your own readings about St. Augustine, St. John of the Cross, etc.

These are all affiliate links, but you do not have to use them.

u/throwawayCath9013 · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Sorry you've had a bad experience. The internet and forums are often a mixed bag unfortunately.

If you are interested in better understanding Catholicism, a good start is this book Its a pretty simple read and represents a good foundation to start from. It doesn't answer every question you might have, but I think it might give you some better insight. Hope it helps. God bless.

u/kjdtkd · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

>I've downloaded CS Lewis' Mere Christianity maybe this will help.

This is a pretty decent and easy to read introduction to Christianity as a whole, so good start!

>Also, for someone who is at times skeptical regarding deities. How can I cement my faith once and for all?

Cementing your faith will never be a single irrefutable argument; It's more of a process than anything else. However, if you're looking to approach God from an intellectual standpoint, then Edward Feser is a great contemporary philosopher and writer. His book The Last Superstition was my introduction to the intellectual support for God and my first real dive into realism.

>I'd like to know what being a good Catholic is all about. Like what can I do today to be a better Catholic?

I don't have a specific book off the top of my head, but I'm sure someone else here can point you in the right direction.

u/MephistosLament · 3 pointsr/Catholicism


To continue with your second point (I was at work, so could only answer the first point):

2) I can't take the Bible literally.

We have to understand what the Bible is. It is first and foremost a collection of books, not a single literary work. Every word is the inspired word of God, however its human authors are spread out over centuries, and contain multiple genres including history, allegory, psalms, gospels, epistles (letters), prophecy, etc. Before we look at a particular book, we have to ask a few questions: Who is the (human) author? What genre is it? What is its intention? Without knowing that, we can't come to a realization of what we are reading. For example, Genesis is not intended as literal history, but as historical allegory. For example, to God, time is meaningless. Time, properly understood, is the breaking up of existence into pieces. A person's existence is never fully grasped, but is known in a succession of moments. God is infinite and eternal, thus he contains the totality of his existence in one single action. Thus to say that creation of this or that thing took place in a "day" is meaningless to God because God is the very action of being and cannot be delineated into measurement of time. But it is sufficient for human readers to grasp the theological points of the text, which is the point. Similarly, Leviticus is written largely as a manual outlining ritual, legal and moral practices to help the Jews grow closer to God, and specifically in the setting of Jewish temple worship. Many of the practices are no longer followed by Christians, such as animal sacrifices, because Christ is the one sufficient burnt offering offered once for all. The books of the bible also have to be looked at in context with the rest of the books. The early church fathers looked at the Old Testament as containing the New Testament in hidden form, for example. The bible is difficult, as you say, which is partly why the church has teaching authority, to help us to understand the bible in its proper contexts. I would recommend a study bible such as The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible.

u/imapadawan · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

The US Catholic Church uses the New American Bible, so that's the translation you'll be hearing at Mass if you're in the US. So, just search New American Bible and go with that. I would even recommend getting a study Bible to help you understand what's happening and how things relate to other parts of the Bible, because it can be confusing. Just as a recommendation, this one is fantastic.

There are quite a few sources on understanding the Mass. I would look up the Order of the Mass and maybe try reading through that and following along during Mass, so you understand what is being said and also know what to say.

The Catechism is fantastic. Here is a pretty safe bet on getting started with reading that and something to use as reference.

If you're interested in reading the Summa Theologica, there are shorter versions like Summa of the Summa, which, while still not too short, condense down the most important information and make it easier for somebody without as much time to at least get the general idea.

Good luck on your journey, as I am currently doing the same and am in RCIA, but I've been doing my research for quite a while and am very excited for the coming year!

u/love_unknown · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

It's not a Catholic book, but if you want to go the 'not pushy' route, I would suggest something like C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce—something that gives a little bit of a taste of broader Christian theology, but that isn't itself overwhelmingly doctrinal (since I know that many non-believers tend to react quite forcefully against that kind of thing).

If you want to be more explicitly doctrinal but still just want to give a kind of inviting teaser into greater mysteries, I would recommend picking up a short topical work in theology. Something, perhaps, like Ratzinger's 'In the Beginning…': A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall.

Otherwise there's always Bishop Barron's Catholicism.

u/bb1432 · 10 pointsr/Catholicism

Personally, I think there's a lot of garbage, namby-pamby advice in this thread.

As Venerable Fulton Sheen said, "There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing."

If you believe the Catholic Faith is true, then presumably your end goal is their conversion. If it's not, it should be.

Perhaps the initial explanation won't go well. That's fine. Whatever happens, don't burn any bridges. Unfortunately, since it's today there's not much more prep you can do.

The best advice I can give is to come armed with what they think they know. Beyond the initial, emotional reaction, they will have arguments. Maybe not today, but they'll come. They already know what they're going to say. They already have their "Catholicism is the Whore of Babylon Talking Points" on a 3x5 index card (even if it's just a mental index card.) So what do you do? Surprise them. Steal their lines. Ask questions that they aren't expecting. Since you already know all of the anti-Catholic talking points, you are (hopefully) well prepared to counter them with clarity and charity, using Holy Scripture as your guide.

Also, remember you're not alone in this. LOTS of fantastic people have made this conversion. Here are a few book recs that are relevant.

Catholicism and Fundamentalism

Rome Sweet Home

Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic

Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church

I haven't read this one yet, but it also looks awesome. Dr. Brant Pitre also writes on this topic:

The Fourth Cup: Unveiling the Mystery of the Last Supper and the Cross

u/mikfay2010 · 11 pointsr/Catholicism

Here are some posts that have been shared on r/Catholicism before:

u/halpcat · 5 pointsr/Catholicism


I really liked the book 33 Days to Morning Glory a friend recommended it and it was super easy to follow, not overwhelming, and had so many excellent reflections.

I'm glad to have done the consecration, it helped me a lot on my faith journey.

Perhaps this could interfere with another consecration or make it seem burdensome to do multiple ones, but at the end of the day, this all leads to Christ. To Jesus through Mary. :)

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! The consecration is not until the end of the book/journey, so you can always opt out and just use it as an educational tool.

u/sariaru · 1 pointr/Catholicism

All of his books are great. He used to be a Protestant, so he understand where many Protestants are coming from in their understanding of Scripture and theology. It makes him really relate-able without coming off as high-brow or overly theological. Rome Sweet Home and Hail, Holy Queen are also excellent.

I also recommend Fr. Dwight Longenecker as another Evangelical-turned-Catholic. He has a most excellent blog on Patheos called Standing on my Head and has written a couple of "debate" style books on varying Catholic topics, such as Mary: An Evangelical-Catholic Debate and Challenging Catholics: An Evangelical-Catholic Dialogue

u/stkatarina · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I've been on the looks for one myself, and I think this one suggested for me seems pretty great:

Coupled with the Catechism it should be great.

> Ideal for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith and intended to be accessible by all Catholics in its level of scriptural scholarship.

u/arandorion · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I too have been asking these questions. You will find most if not all of them answered at Catholic Answers. For example, here is one of the answers regarding infant baptism. There is also an article regarding infant baptism in the early church.

Here is an article on why Catholics ask for intercession from the Saints.

They also have a great You Tube channel that will answer just about any question you have.

You may be interested in the Ignatius Study Bible New Testament. It contains an Index of Doctrines in the appendix. For any given doctrine, they provide Biblical references and commentary regarding that doctrine. That alone should make this a must read for Protestants. It uses the Revised Standard Version.

There are many great resources that can answer your questions. I started with a video series called What Catholics Really Believe. There's an unrelated book by the same name as well.

Any book by Scott Hahn may be of interest. He was an ordained Presbyterian minister before he became Catholic.

Send me a message if you want any more info.

Another good book is Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic. It explains Catholic theology from the perspective of a fundamentalist Protestant convert.

Any book by Peter Kreeft would be good, but you may especially like his Handbook of Catholic Apologetics since it specifically answers the questions you are asking. Kreeft is a Catholic convert from Calvinism.

Bp. Barron provides a load of resources on his site Word on Fire. He has a You Tube channel as well.

There are many, many more resources, but this should get you started. I have been a Protestant all my life, but I've been studying Catholicism heavily for a few years. So far, all of my questions have been answered from resources available online.

u/eastofrome · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Glory be to Jesus Christ!

Do you have any Sryiac Catholic churches in your area? Syriac, Maronite, Syro-Malankara, Chaldean Catholic, or Syro-Malabar Catholic Church? The first three are Western Syriac, the last two are Eastern Syriac, so if you know whether he is Western Rite or Eastern Rite you can find a sui iuris Catholic church of the same rite. If at all possible I would start attending Divine Liturgy there- Eastern spirituality and theology is best learned by practicing rather than just reading. And talk with the priest, he can help guide you on essential texts in the Syriac traditions.

I would suggest reading books focused on Early Christianity and the Church Fathers, the Desert Fathers, Saint Ephrem the Syrian, and St Isaac the Syrian.

Some books I know of:

u/mamboguy2012 · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

Its an NAB Bible, comes with a bookmark and is pretty small, so it's convenient to carry around. Text is small (I don't mind small text, so depends on how you feel) but all the standard footnotes are pushed to the end of the chapters, making reading easier because they aren't distracting. Also has prayers, the rosary mysteries (with relevant readings), stations of the cross, and the daily readings calendar. No maps or essays though.

I also have a bunch of the Ignatius Study Bible books (the single book versions like this and those I really like as well. If anyone else has the Ignatius New Testament Bible ( and could confirm its all those wrapped up, I'd definitely get that too. New Testament only though

u/formal_function · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

I know you don't want book recommendations, buuuut, I'd like to plug Ed Feser's recent book about the 5 Proofs for the Existence of God, proof here being more of a demonstration rather than something akin to a mathematical proof.

You also tend to use a decent amount of sense type language to dissuade yourself from a particular conclusion. ie: "x seems wrong to me". I've found this particular mode of discussing propositions as obfuscating the truth rather than reveal them. So as a reader, it gets a bit difficult to tackle your exact issues.

Reading this response from you, there is a lot of relativism in most of your issues. While there are most certainly aspects of reality that are relative, there are things which are general and universally understandable and you don't have to fall into the epistemological trap that nothing is knowable because of a pure saturation in relativity. However, maybe I'm misreading you here. I think you should spend some time looking into what about reality is demonstrable (if anything) and how that does bind the mind.

God can be demonstrated.

After a survey of the landscape, Catholicism provides the best explanatory power to the ministry of Jesus
Christ. (I'm currently in the middle of converting from Protestantism myself!)

If Catholicism is true it necessarily binds the mind.


Here is a fun debate between Ed Feser and a Humian secularist which you might find interesting:

u/baddspellar · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

I'm glad to see there were a few respectful responses to your question, including /u/vnk. I think the biggest challenge for modern thinkers is that we tend to downplay any way of seeing things that doesn't involve the methods of science, e.g. physical observation, measuring, etc. And then when someone like you asks the obvious question of why it still looks, smells, and tastes like bread and wine (observations) people get all kinds of upset. I remember long ago someone angrily responding to a similar question from me that "there's no bread and wine there anymore!", as if that were a helpful response. The "accidents" of physical form are indeed still there, and if you ran the body and blood through any scientific apparatus they'd indeed tell you, "yep, bread and wine".

It took me a while to come to grips with this, and it required me to acknowledge there are other ways of thinking.
Here's a fairly readable book on the Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas that might help you learn how to think of things from a different perspective. You don't need to abandon the scientific way of thinking. In fact, you shouldn't, as it has led to tremendous improvements in the human condition and so it would be a terrible thing to abandon. It's just that life, and God, are too big and too important to see from just one limited perspective. You may have a hard time accepting this for a while. Try your best to be open to it.

I'll add that, yes, I believe in transubstantiation.

u/thelukinat0r · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

I have a four-way tie for best mariology.

In no particular order:

Marian Mystery by Denis Farkasfalvy

Queen Mother by Ted Sri

Daughter Zion by Joseph Ratzinger

Mariology by Matthias Joseph Scheeben

If you're looking for books directed at a more popular audience (i.e. if you're not a theologian), then the following are very good:

Behold your Mother by Tim Staples

Hail Holy Queen by Scott Hahn

EDIT: Here's a great bibliography my professor made for a mariology course.

EDIT: Just as a caveat, my interest in mariology is mostly biblical. Apparitions aren't a huge interest of mine. So the above reflects that. Though there's plenty on dogmatic/systematic mariology there too.

u/darkman2040 · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

I would start with the Compendium on Catholic Social Doctrine for specifics to how the Church views government, the state, and the Church's relation to it.

I apologize for the Vatican link but that is all I have. Normally I wouldn't' be embarrassed but the Vatican's site is...well...horrid in design. But there are paperbacks if you are interested.

For philosophy in general I would recommend Edward Fesser's Aquinas: A beginner's Guide:

Fesser is a bit polemic in his other works, but he does an excellent job of explaining the big differences between the thought of Aquinas and other medievalist and more modernist thinking that we take for granted.

u/starwarsgeek33 · 25 pointsr/Catholicism

Quick answers: No, you are not a hypocrite, and no, you're not horrible for letting the question of your career bother you.

As for what to do, I'm a lifelong Catholic, so I don't have a lot of experience that will help. However, I do know of other people who have been in similar situations. You may have heard of Dr. Scott Hahn...he's a prominent Catholic writer/speaker/professor of theology. He was a Presbyterian minister. I've never read his conversion story ("Rome Sweet Home"), so I'm not sure exactly how much he focuses on the difficulties of the situation, but this will probably help.

There's also Jeff Cavins. He left the Catholic faith and became a Methodist minister, but eventually returned.

Sorry I can't offer any direct assistance, but hopefully these will be of some help.

u/Lolawola · 8 pointsr/Catholicism

Well the first thing that happens in the book of Acts is Peter quotes “let another take his office” and they replaced Judas effectively setting up the replacing of when one dies another would take over.

Have you read the writings of the early Church fathers? They are those who immediately succeeded and learned from the apostles and even lived with them. Like Ignatius of Antioch lived with and learned from the apostle John. It may help clarify a lot you have questions on. An excellent place to begin is with this book as it’s divided up into the different categories of beliefs the Church has and always has had.

u/Portkey_Dolphin · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

My mom got me this book called "33 Days to Morning Glory", and its a easy to follow version of how to consecrate yourself to mary and what it means. You have to prepare 33 days before a Marian feast day (for Lent I was prepping for the Annunciation) and then you're closer to Mary in special ways and try to be more intentional in the way you live to honor her, and she brings you closer to Jesus. I'd recommend the book, my faith life was getting rather boring and repeptive and this was a nice refresher and good thing to read every morning.
Here's a link to amazon:

u/Stari_tradicionalist · 5 pointsr/Catholicism


You did first part by contacting your nearest parish. They will send you to RCIA, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. It is kind of course that will teach you basics.

About reading these two newer books are good:

If you are short on money, I can recommend three older books which you read for free:

The faith of our fathers - Cardinal Gibbon

The spirit of Catholicism - Karl Adam

The belief of Catholics - Ronald Knox


u/Suppa-time · 2 pointsr/Catholicism

I would also encourage you to read Aquinas (A Beginner's Guide), which is also by Dr. Edward Feser.

Other sources I can think of that speak to this topic:

Dr. Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College (and a Thomist), is also a great resource. For example, here is the audio from a talk he gave on Moral Theology & Homosexuality (YouTube).

Also a great listen is Matt's Fradd's Pints with Aquinas podcast episode episode 72 with Daniel Mateson (who wrote "Why I Don't Call Myself Gay"). There are some other episodes with guests that cover this topic as well.

Fr. Mike Schmitz is also known for speaking on the topic of homosexuality.

u/greatchristobel · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God via @amazon

Sorry on mobile and linking is terrible.

Disclosure: Have not read but comes highly recommended. Personally I like True Devotion to Mary and Secrets of the Rosary

u/jz-dialectic · 1 pointr/Catholicism

I think you would be well off to read some solid theology and philosophy.

The Last Superstition by Edward Feser changed my life. Until I read this book, I always struggled to harmonize my faith with reason. Feser showed me how.
He also runs a blog:

Fr. Thomas Joseph White is a terrific teacher of the faith in the Thomistic intellectual tradition. His book The Light of Christ will explain some of the fundamental Catholic dogmas.

u/datanalogy · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

It's good that you're considering both the material and immaterial aspects of that with which you're surrounding yourself.

In addition to Kreeft (whose books I've also found helpful, btw), I highly recommend Edward Feser's blog and books.

Feser is a Catholic philosopher who writes about religion, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethics and a lot of other things from a traditional perspective, and he's really well informed on modern thought and culture (his background is in analytic philosophy). His style is really fun but his arguments are rigorous.

I'd say more, but this is already starting to read like an advertisement...

I just can't stress the importance of being well informed on the intellectual merits of the Catholic faith (and theism in general) when studying at a secular environment. A lot of the intellectual attacks against our faith will instantly lose their efficacy when we realize that the people making them have no idea what they're criticizing.

u/PianoShredder111 · 1 pointr/Catholicism

Buying a good Catechism is a great place to start. This one I bought awhile back is small, well written and has a lot of scriptural references for you to look up

This youtube channel is also a really good source for a lot of traditional Catholic lectures and speeches. I can't sign off neccesarily on every single one but it was a big help for me and continues to feature very good content

u/stuck_in_bed · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

> why the Catholic faith is the only true faith as opposed to just "one of many paths," a.k.a. religious relativism