The WM Review Reading List

Learning Sacred Theology

The full reading list in one place.

Part I: Preliminaries, Catechism, Latin, Philosophy and the Magisterium
Part II: Ecclesiology, Apologetics and Dogmatic Theology.
Part III: Holy Scripture, Moral Theology, History, Patristics and Canon Law

Theology Manuals – Why are they so important in the post-conciliar crisis?
What are the duties of laymen in studying and spreading the Faith? – Pope Leo XIII
Theology and History – Part II: Why understanding this relationship is crucial for avoiding shipwreck
Theology and the Interior Life – How do they help each other? Fr R. Garrigou-Lagrange, 1943

Here are all of the suggested titles from the Learning Sacred Theology series in one place. This list may be updated from time to time.

The series itself has a more detailed commentary of each stage, how to use this list, and how to avoid potential pitfalls – please do refer to it.

Each of the boxes below drops down – and the list in full below.

Image: interior of the Oxford Union Library. Source: WikiCommons.

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CONTENTS

Part I: Preliminaries, Catechism, Latin, Philosophy and the Magisterium

Holy Scripture

Holy Bible (Douay-Rheims), Baronius Press. (UK readers)

New Testament and Psalms (Douay Rheims), Baronius Press. (UK readers)

New Testament (Confraternity), Scepter.

Holy Bible (Knox), Baronius Press (UK readers). This mid-twentieth century translation was approved by the English bishops for use in churches prior to Vatican II.

Our own Old and New Testament Scriptural Rosary system is a way of incorporating Holy Scripture into your Rosary.

Psalms and Office Books

Roman Breviary (and for UK readers), Latin and English (1962) Baronius Press.

My Daily Psalm Book (and for UK readers). Features all of the psalms arranged in the order of the St Pius X Breviary – albeit as a translation from the controversial Cardinal Bea “Pian” Psalter. Nonetheless, a small and handy book and controversies here need not get in the way of laymen at this stage.

Monastic Diurnal (and for UK readers), Latin and English, dated 1963, 8th Edition published in 2020. It is according to the pre-St Pius X monastic psalter ordering. Warning: avoid the oversized 7th Edition!

Divinum Officium Project, Latin and English.

Our own Old Testament Rosary, which is predominantly excerpts from the Psalms allotted for each relevant mystery of the Rosary foretold.

St Robert Bellarmine – Commentary on the Book of Psalms (and for UK readers)

Liturgy

Guéranger – The Liturgical Year, 15 vols. See here for UK readers – although you may need to just order from the US link. A great edition was from St Bonaventure Press, (check here for availability) but this is currently out of print. It is still available from Loreto Publications in hardback and paperback editions. Available on the iPieta app and currently being posted daily online.

St Thomas Aquinas

Summa Theologica Trans. by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province, (5 vols.) Ave Maria Press, Hardback (and UK readers) and Paperback (and UK readers). Also online at New Advent and iPieta.

Summa Theologiae, Aquinas Institute (8 vols.) Latin-English, based on the English Fathers’ translation, without the Supplementum parts. (And for UK readers) Supplementum I-68 (and UK readers) Supplementum 69-99 (and UK readers)

St Thomas Aquinas – Summa Contra Gentiles. Aquinas Institute in 2 vols: Vol. I (Books I-II) and Vol. 2 (Books III-IV) and for UK readers here and here. Budget single-volume from Aeterna Press (and for UK readers) and online at iPieta or Aquinas.cc

Aquinas – Opuscula I, from the Aquinas Institute (UK readers), containing the following:

St Thomas Aquinas – Catena Aurea (and for UK readers). 4 vols, line-by-line commentary on the four Gospels from the Fathers of the Church, assembled by St Thomas Aquinas and translated by Cardinal John Henry Newman. Published by Baronius Press.

Tradivox VI: Aquinas, Pecham, and Pagula (UK readers), including St Thomas Aquinas’s Catechetical Instructions. An arrangement of other Opuscula in catechetical form. (ca. 1260)

St Thomas Aquinas’s scriptural commentaries are being published by the Aquinas Institute in English and Latin. Here are some of the options below – they are online here, and it is possible to buy single volumes of the commentaries below:

Anger – The Doctrine of the Mystical Body According to the Principles of St Thomas Aquinas (and for UK readers). Internet Archive. Draws together several texts for which there is a bit of a lacuna in the Summa itself.

Glenn – A Tour of the Summa. A compressed one-volume account of the Summa. (UK readers)

Pegues – Catechism of the Summa Theologica for the use of the Faithful (and for UK readers)

G.K. Chesterton – St Thomas Aquinas. Classic biography. (UK link)

Foster – The Life of St Thomas Aquinas – Biographical Documents (UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

The Catechism

The Roman Catechism (Catechism of the Council of Trent). Baronius Press. See our review here. (UK readers.)

Smith – The Teaching of the Catholic Church. Arouca Press: Hardback Vol. I and Vol. II (UK readers Vol. I and Vol. II). Paperback Vol. I and Vol. II (UK readers Vol. I and Vol. II) Second-hand in both one or two volumes.

De Zulueta – Letters on Christian Doctrine: Vol. I, Vol. II and Vol. III (For UK readers: Vol. I, Vol. II and Vol. III). Written for laymen, and with many interesting practical applications that are not found in other similar texts. Internet Archive (Vol. I, Vol. II and Vol. III)

Gaume – Catechism of Perserverence. (UK readers). Also at Internet Archive.

Fr Connell’s New Baltimore Catechism 3 (and for UK readers). Do not be put off by the smelly word “new.” Fr Francis Connell is superb, and this 1949 version improves some of the shortcomings of the original, and brings expressions in line with very clear papal teaching, such as Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis Christi.

Baltimore Catechism no. IV (and UK readers). Beautiful Baronius hardback. This is the teachers’ guide to Baltimore Catechism no. II. Baronius Press.

St Peter Canisius – A Small Catechism for Catholics (and for UK readers). Not really advanced, but historically interesting. Recently translated by Ryan Grant, this work by the Jesuit Doctor of the Church is an important historical document, sometimes called the first Catholic Catechism – although we can see other early works below.

St Robert Bellarmine – Doctrina Christiana: The Timeless Catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine (and for UK readers). Another translation by Ryan Grant, from another historic text, from another Jesuit Doctor of the Church.

Tradivox I – Three shorter catechisms. (UK readers)

  • Bishop Edmund Bonner – An Honest Godley Instruction. A foundational text written by a bishop who repented under Queen Mary, returned to the Catholic Church and died a confessor under Elizabeth I (1556)
  • Fr Laurence Vaux – A Catechisme of Christian Doctrine (1567)
  • Fr Diego de Ledesma – The Christian Doctrine (1573)

Tradivox II – Three seventeenth-century catechisms. (UK readers)

  • St Robert Bellarmine SJ – A Shorte Catechisme. This consists mostly of restored woodcuts. (1614)
  • Fr Henry Turberville – The Douay Catechism, or An Abridgement of the Christian Doctrine. Very polemically ordered towards catechising Catholics against Protestantism, with many Scripture references and details on the Mass. (1649)
  • Fr Thomas Vincent Sadler – The Childes Catechism. Written for parents. (1678)

Tradivox III – three texts by Bishop Richard Challoner, reviser of the Douay-Rheims Bible and Vicar Apostolic of London during a period of oppressive penal laws. (UK readers)

  • An Abridgement of Christian Doctrine. A synopsis of the Douay Catechism. (1759)
  • The Catholic Christian Instructed. A longer, very annotated work with a lot of focus on worship and the sacraments. (1737)
  • The Grounds of Catholick Doctrine. A simple Q&A catechism based on the Tridentine Profession of Faith (1752)

Tradivox IV: Three significant Irish catechisms, comparable to the Penny or Baltimore Catechisms (UK readers)

  • The Most Rev. Dr James Butler’s Catechism. Approved for national use by all of the Irish bishops, serving Irish Catholics for 150 years at home and in Canada and the USA. (1775)
  • The Catechism Ordered by the National Synod of Maynooth. (1884)
  • The Shorter Catechism Extracted [from the above]. (1891)

Tradivox V: Two by Irish priests in the 1700s. (UK readers)

  • Fr Andrew Donlevy – The Catechism, or Christian Doctrine, By Way of Question and Answer. The oldest major Irish catechetical manuscript. (1742)
  • Fr Thomas Burke OP – A Catechism Moral and Controversial. Written for more advanced audiences, with practical and apologetic notes. (1752)

Tradivox VI: Aquinas, Pecham, and Pagula (UK readers).

  • St Thomas Aquinas – The Catechetical Instructions. An arrangement of other Opuscula in catechetical form. (ca. 1260)
  • Archbishop John Pecham (of Canterbury) – Ignorantia Sacerdotum. Product of the Council of Lambeth. (1281)
  • Quinque Verba – pocket manual to “remedy the ignorance of simple priests.” (1300)
  • William of Pagula – Oculus Sacerdotis – a chapter, frequently excerpted and circulated at the time, from Pagula’s large guide for priests. (1320)

Tradivox VII: The Catechism of the Council of Trent (UK readers). April 2022.

Tradivox VIII: Pope St Pius X and Frassinetti (UK readers). July 2022.

Other texts have not been confirmed, but the following are mentioned on the website. They may be intended for publication, or just for the online database.

  • St Peter Canisius – A Sum of Christian Doctrine.(1555)
  • Doulye – A Brief Instruction. (1604)
  • Perry – A Full Course of Instructions for the Use of Catechists.(1847)
  • Gaume – Catechism of Perseverance (1849)
  • Fr F.X. Weninger SJ – Manual of the Catholic Doctrine (1867)
  • Baltimore Catechism (1891)
  • Thomas J. O’Brien – An Advanced Catechism of Catholic Faith and Practice (1902)
  • Deharbe’s Large Catechism (1921)
  • Bishop Hay – Abridgement of Christian Doctrine (1800)
Latin

Oulton’s So you really want to learn LatinYouTube

Ørberg – Lingua Latina per se Illustrata:

Fr William Most – Latin by the Natural Method

Hillard & Botting’s Elementary Latin Exercises (and UK readers). Here is the answer book (and UK readers) A traditional exercise book. It has been republished, but the new textbook does not match the new answer book – hence we have listed a reprint of the old exercise book with the new key.

Kennedy’s Revised Latin Primer. A classic text. (UK readers)

Philosophy

Introduction to Philosophy. Get this book. If you read nothing else, at least read this – it summarises all of the following books. Internet Archive. Reprint (better quality) from Gyan Books.

Dialectics (formal logic) The Catholic Archive and Internet Archive.

Criteriology (major logic or epistemology).

Ontology (metaphysics and being).

Cosmology (the physical world). Internet Archive.

Psychology (intellectual, animal and vegetative life) The Catholic Archive.

Theodicy (natural theology) The Catholic Archive.

Ethics (UK readers). Also at Internet Archive. Reprint from Gyan Books.

Aquinas – Opuscula I, from the Aquinas Institute (UK readers), containing the following:

Philosophy: Natural Theology

Feser, Five Proofs for the Existence of God. Ignatius Press. (UK readers)

Feser, The Last Superstition. St Augustine Press. (UK readers)

Glenn, Theodicy. The Catholic Archive.

Glenn – Apologetics. (UK readers). Also at The Catholic Archive.

Philosophy: some higher-level texts

Feser – Scholastic Metaphysics. Editiones Scholasticae (UK readers)

Feser – Aristotle’s Revenge. Editiones Scholasticae (UK readers)

Oderberg – Real Essentialism. Routledge (UK readers)

Oderberg – Metaphysics of Good and Evil. Routledge (UK readers)

For some context on the “analytic philosophy” with which these writers are engaging, one could look at something like this:

Beaney – Analytic Philosophy: A very short introduction. OUP (UK readers)

Magisterial Texts

PapalEncyclicals.net also contains many Conciliar documents and other texts.

Denzinger – The Sources of Catholic Dogma Preserving Christian Publications. (UK readers). Loreto Publications also have an edition. Deferrari’s translation of Denzinger’s Enchiridion (30th edition) is also online at Patristica.net. There are problems with Deferrari’s translation – see the note below this list.

Denzinger – Enchiridion Symbolorum 43rd Edition, Hunnermann (UK readers). Warning: contains post-conciliar documents. We only include it as an additional resource that may supplement the shortcomings of Deferrari’s version.

Papal Teachings – The Church. (and UK readers – you should be so lucky!) This book is like gold-dust, but try praying a novena to St Peter if you need some help acquiring it. It is a collection of various authoritative texts from the popes on ecclesiology, gathered from written documents and allocutions. Available online from The Catholic Archive and Internet Archive.

The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent

  • Soon to be available in a new and high quality edition in March 2022 from St Austin Press.

The Popes Against Modern Errors (and UK readers) A compendium of certain key encyclicals, with intrusive subtitles and missing key things like Mediator Dei and Mystici Corporis Christi.

Leo XIII – A Light in the Heavens – The Great Encyclicals Letters of Pope Leo XIII (and for UK readers)

Pius XII – The Pope Speaks: the Teachings of Pope Pius XII (and for UK readers)

[Denzinger is a necessary part of any moderately serious library. However, the Deferrari translation into English is far from perfect: it is sometimes jarringly different from other official versions of well-known magisterial documents. The text of the Vatican Council on what must be believed with divine and Catholic faith is quite unclear, even erroneous. For example, the section from Dei Filius Ch 3 (1792) is unclear or erroneous. The following translation by John Daly is clearer: “All those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and are proposed by the Church either by a solemn judgment or by her ordinary and universal magisterium to be believed as divinely revealed.”]

Magisterial texts: on philosophical and theological method

Leo XIII – Aeterni Patris. On the importance of the philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas in the study of theology.

Pius X – Pascendi Dominici Gregis. Systematising and condemning the errors of modernism.

Pius XII – Humani Generis. On the “new theology,” including many important observations on ecclesiology.

Magisterial texts: on ecclesiology

Dei Filius. On Faith.

Pastor Aeternus. On the Roman Pontiff.

Leo XIII – Satis Cognitum. On the unity of the Church.

Pius XI – Mortalium Animos. On the unicity of the Church.

Pius XII – Mystici Corporis Christi. On the Church, particularly as the mystical body of Christ.

FULL LIST BELOW

Part II: Dogmatic Theology, Apologetics and Ecclesiology

Overview of Dogmatic Theology

Wilhelm & Scannell – Manual of Catholic Theology (2 vols.) Vol. I (and for UK readers) and Vol. II (and for UK readers). Online at the Bellarmine Forums.

Hunter, S.J – Outlines of Dogmatic Theology (3 vols.) Vol. I (UK readers), Vol. II (UK readers) and Vol. III (UK readers) Vol. I deals with the Church and fundamental theology. Please note that some versions are missing about twenty pages, which deal with membership. These pages are available here. There is a cheaper one-volume compendium, without footnotes (and for UK readers), and the three volumes are online here: Vol. I, Vol. II and Vol. III

Tanquerey – Manual of Dogmatic Theology. (2 vols.) Available here for UK readers Very good, but quite compressed. And online here: Vol. I and Vol. II.

Murphy, Donlan, Cunningham, et al. – College Texts in Theology (3 or 4 vols.) This is an excellent and very clear “trilogy of four” (in that it has an extra fourth volume on Christian marriage). Volumes I and III are available as second-hand books. Volume II and IV are extremely rare second hand, and Vol. II is available as a new paperback from Wipf and Stock.

Wilmers – Handbook of the Christian Religion (1 vol.) (and for UK readers). More aimed at college students. Available at Internet Archive.

Parente – Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology (and for UK readers). Brief and brilliant. This is not an overview of dogmatic theology, but is a useful resource at this stage. Available from the Internet Archive.

Other Overviews

Garrigou-Lagrange – Reality. An excellent work for understanding how the Thomistic synthesis interacts with the whole of revealed doctrine – but while it is certainly very worth having and reading, at least one text from the above list should be mastered too. This book is soon to be republished by Baronius Press

Sacrae Theologia Summa (Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos Series – 8 vols.) Keep the Faith Publications. This series has much to commend it, and various volumes are mentioned below. However, while it may suit certain readers, it is more advanced than an accessible 2- or 3-volume overview necessary for this stage. For the sake of completeness, however, are the texts:

  • Vol. IA: Introduction to Theology, and On Christian Revelation
  • Vol. IB: On the Church of Christ, and On Holy Scripture
  • Vol. IIA: On the One and Triune God
  • Vol. IIB: On God, the Creator and Sanctifier, and On Sins
  • Vol. IIIA: On the Incarnate Word, and On the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Vol. IIIB: On Grace, and On the Infused Virtues
  • Vol. IVA: On the Sacraments in General and On Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance and Anointing
  • Vol. IVB: On Holy Orders and Matrimony, and On the Last Things

Pohle-Preuss – Dogmatic Theology (12 books in 6 volumes). Here for UK readers, although may need to order through the American link. Despite being such a large work, there is no concrete section on ecclesiology – which will make it a disappointment for many of our readers. Online at Internet Archive.

Fundamental Theology – Introductions and Apologetics

Introduction to theology (methodology)

Fenton – What is Sacred Theology? (and for UK readers). Originally published as The Concept of Sacred Theology. Internet Archive, and published as What is Sacred Theology? by Cluny Media.

Nicolau – Introduction to Theology. Contained within Sacrae Theologiae Summa Vol. IA. Keep the Faith Publications

Hogan  Clerical Studies (and for UK readers). An overview of the different courses of theology and how to study them. Available online at HathiTrust.

Systematic Apologetics (i.e. not just answers to Protestant questions)

Fenton – Laying the Foundation (and for UK readers). Originally published as We Stand with Christ, now published by Emmaus Road Publishing.

Nicolau – On Christian Revelation. Contained within Sacrae Theologiae Summa Volume IA. Keep the Faith Publications

Garrigou-Lagrange, On Divine Revelation. Soon to be published by Emmaus Academic Publishing, trans. by Matthew Minerd.

Van Noort – The True Religion (and for UK readers). This is the first of the three-part series Dogmatic Theology, reprinted by Arouca Press. Available online from Internet Archive.

Walshe – The Principles of Christian Apologetics (and for UK readers). Catholic text for college students dealing with the reasons for Christian revelation, rather than specifically the Catholic Church. Internet Archive.

Walshe – The Principles of Catholic Apologetics (and for UK readers). A truncated adaptation of Garrigou-Lagrange’s de Revelatione and focusing more on modernism and the idea of a revealed religion than Walshe’s other work. Online at Internet Archive. We have a good edition from Gyan Books).

Glenn – Apologetics (and for UK readers). This is more of a college text. Online at the Catholic Archive.

St Thomas Aquinas – Summa Contra Gentiles. Aquinas Institute in 2 vols: Vol. I (Books I-II) and Vol. 2 (Books III-IV) and for UK readers here and here. Budget single-volume from Aeterna Press (and for UK readers) and online at iPieta or Aquinas.cc

Fundamental Theology – Ecclesiology

Bellarmine – On the Church (and for UK readers). Translated by Mr Ryan Grant, Mediatrix Press. Other versions available too. Bellarmine is essential.

Salaverri – On the Church of Christ. Contained within Sacrae Theologiae Summa Volume IB. Keep the Faith Publications

Van Noort – Christ’s Church (and for UK readers). Vol. II of the series discussed above. Internet Archive.

Berry – The Church of Christ (and for UK readers). Excellent single volume manual of ecclesiology. Wipf and Stock.

Anger – The Doctrine of the Mystical Body According to the Principles of St Thomas Aquinas (and for UK readers). Internet Archive.

Billot – Warning: in French! On the Church of Christ. (Vol. I, Vol. II and Vol. III) Billot is one of the most significant theologians of recent times, and was praise by Pius XII in a 1953 allocution to the Gregorian University.[7] The French has been translated from Latin by Fr Gleize SSPX, and is available from Livres en Famille, France. We have included these volumes (and also Gréa’s, below) because of their significance, despite them not being in English. If they were in English, both Billot and Gréa’s texts would be in bold.

Gréa – Warning: in French! The Church and Her Divine Constitution (and for UK readers). NB: this edition says “Vol. I” but it contains both volumes. Available in French from Internet Archive

Fenton – The Church of Christ (and for UK readers). Not a systematic work, but rather contains articles from the American Ecclesiastical Review. Others articles are available as scans from the Bellarmine Forums and The Catholic Archive. Some may also be interested in Fenton’s The Diocesan Priest in the Church of Christ (and for UK readers).

MacLaughlin – The Divine Plan of the Church (and for UK readers). Single-volume apologetics work on the Church, but precise and detailed. Online at Internet Archive.

Finlay – The Church of Christ (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Ecclesiology: Miscellaneous

Manning – The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost (and for UK readers). Internet Archive.

Mersch – The Whole Christ (and for UK readers). Internet Archive.

Mura – The Nature of the Mystical Body (and for UK readers).

Rhodes – The Visible Unity of the ChurchVol. I and Vol. II (and for UK readers here and here). Online here: Vol. I and Vol. II.

Vacant – The Ordinary Magisterium of the Church and its Organs. Currently being translated by the WM Review from French. Part I available at the link, with subsequent parts linked within.

Ward – The Authority of Doctrinal Decisions Which Are Not Definitions of Faith (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Ward – Essays on the Church’s Doctrinal Authority (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Ecclesiology: Spiritual works

Guéranger – The Liturgical Year, 15 vols. See here for UK readers – although you may need to just order from the US link. A great edition was from St Bonaventure Press, (check here for availability) but this is currently out of print. It is still available from Loreto Publications in hardback and paperback editions. Available on the iPieta app and currently being posted daily online.

Boylan – This Tremendous Lover (and for UK readers). Baronius Press

Clérissac – The Mystery of the Church (and for UK readers). Online at the Bellarmine Forums.

Benson – Christ in the Church (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Leen – The True Vine (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Marmion – Christ the Life of the Soul (and for UK readers). Ignatius Press For reasons to avoid other certain publishers, see here). Online Internet Archive.

Ecclesiology – The Papacy

St Robert Bellarmine – Controversies of the Christian Faith. On the Holy Scriptures, Christ and the Roman Pontiff. Translated by Fr Kenneth Baker. (Sometimes available for UK readers). Essential reading for the topic.

St Robert Bellarmine – On the Roman Pontiff (and for UK readers). Again translated by Mr Ryan Grant and published by Mediatrix Press.

Guéranger – The Papal Monarchy (and for UK readers). This text, by the author of the much-loved Liturgical Year, was explicitly approved by Pope Pius IX.

Manning – Petri Privilegium (and for UK readers). Three lengthy and serious pastoral letters from Cardinal Manning, one of the great English converts of the nineteenth century, and a father of Vatican I. Online at Internet Archive.

Kenrick – Primacy of the Apostolic See Vindicated (and for UK readers). Fenton describes Archbishop Kenrick as using “a more popular literary style to bring out the same exactness in presentation of Christian doctrine” as scholastic theologians.[8] Online at Internet Archive.

Hergenröther – Anti-Janus (and for UK readers). The response by (later Cardinal) Hergenröther to Dr Döllinger’s historical-theology tract against the papacy. Internet Archive.

Bottalla – The Pope and the Church, Vol. I and Vol. II (and for UK readers here and here). Fr Bottalla SJ writes with a lively and entertaining vigour. Internet Archive (Vol. I and Vol. II)

Manning – The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost (and for UK readers). Internet Archive.

Mersch – The Whole Christ (and for UK readers). Internet Archive.

Mura – The Nature of the Mystical Body (and for UK readers).

Rhodes – The Visible Unity of the ChurchVol. I and Vol. II (and for UK readers here and here). Online here: Vol. I and Vol. II.

Vacant – The Ordinary Magisterium of the Church and its Organs. Currently being translated by the WM Review from French. Part I available at the link, with subsequent parts linked within.

Ward – The Authority of Doctrinal Decisions Which Are Not Definitions of Faith (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Ward – Essays on the Church’s Doctrinal Authority (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Ecclesiology – Fathers and Doctors

There are more texts from the Fathers and Doctors below – these are just some with particular interest for ecclesiology.

The Faith of Catholics, by Berington, Kirk and Waterworth. Three-vol. collection of patristic texts on various subjects. Vol. I and the start of Vol. II deal particularly with the Church and the Papacy. Available here: 

St Augustine. Most of his works are available online at New Advent.

St Cyprian – On the Unity of the Church (and for UK readers). Available in The Lapsed / The Unity of the Catholic Church, (Ancient Christian Writers series) trans. by Maurice Bevenot and published by Paulist Press, or online (NB: this is a transcription of an old translation, and we are not clear of the provenance of the website itself.)

St Vincent of Lerins – Commonitorium Against Heresies (and for UK readers). Published by Tradibooks, and online at New Advent.

St Francis de Sales – The Catholic Controversy (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

St Alphonsus – The History of Heresies (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Fundamental Theology: Sources of Revelation

Franzelin – On Divine Tradition (and for UK readers). Translated by Mr Ryan Grant and published by Mediatrix Press.

Van Noort – The Sources of Revelation / Divine Faith (and for UK readers). Vol. III of the series mentioned, dealing with Faith and the rule of faith. Available from Arouca Press.

Garrigou-Langrange – On Faith. Soon to be published by Baronius Press.

Garrigou-Lagrange, On Divine Revelation. Soon to be published by Emmaus Academic Publishing, trans. by Matthew Minerd.

Walshe – The Principles of Catholic Apologetics (and for UK readers). A truncated adaptation of Garrigou-Lagrange’s de Revelatione. Online at Internet Archive. We have a good edition from Gyan Books.

Billot – The Immutability of Tradition. On revelation and tradition. This is available in French and Spanish. The WM Review is considering working on a translation of this.

Agius – Tradition and the Church (and for UK readers). An introductory text. Internet Archive.                                              

FULL LIST BELOW

Part III: Scripture, Moral Theology, History, Fathers, and Canon Law

Holy Scripture – Introductions and Commentaries

Introductions

Nicolau – On Holy Scripture, Contained within Sacrae Theologiae Summa Volume IB. Keep the Faith Publications.

Laux – Introduction to the Bible (here for UK readers). For High School students, but 352 pages long. Tan Books.

Commentaries

Orchard et al – A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (and for UK readers) Internet Archive or second-hand copies.

Lapide SJ – The Great Commentary (On the Holy Gospels) (and for UK readers). Also available at iPieta.com.

Haydock Bible (and for UK readers). Detailed footnotes on a version of the Douay-Rheims. The commentary takes up about a half to two-thirds of each page. Available online at iPieta.com .

St Thomas Aquinas – Catena Aurea (and for UK readers). 4 vols, line-by-line commentary on the four Gospels from the Fathers of the Church, assembled by St Thomas Aquinas and translated by Cardinal John Henry Newman. Published by Baronius Press.

St Robert Bellarmine – Commentary on the Book of Psalms (and for UK readers)

Knecht – A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture. Available from Amazon USAmazon UK and Saint Austin Press. More aimed at teachers and parents. We have published a review.

St Thomas Aquinas’s scriptural commentaries are being published by the Aquinas Institute in English and Latin. Here are some of the options below – they are online here, and it is possible to buy single volumes of the commentaries below:

Moral Theology

St Alphonsus – Moral Theology. Available in an ongoing project from Mediatrix Press.

McHugh & Callan – Moral Theology – A Complete Course Based on St. Thomas Aquinas and the Best Modern Authorities (and for UK readers) Two volumes – superb, very clear and very comprehensive. Online at Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive here and here.

Prümmer – Handbook of Moral Theology (and for UK readers). One good and concise volume. Internet Archive.

Slater – Manual of Moral Theology for English-Speaking Countries. Vol. I and Vol. II (and for UK readers, Vol. I and Vol II. Online at Internet Archive.

Jone-Adelman – Moral Theology (and for UK readers). One good and concise volume.

Sagües – On Sins. In Sacrae Theologiae Summa IIB. Not a moral manual, but rather a detailed account of the concept of sin.

Connell – Outlines of Moral Theology (and for UK readers) Less detailed and systematic.

Fagothey – Right and Reason (and for UK readers). A college text.

Laux – Catholic Morality (and for UK readers). A high school text.

Extra Moral Theology texts

Aristotle – Nichomachean Ethics (and for UK readers)

Moral Theory: A Non-Consequentialist Approach (and for UK readers)

Applied Ethics: A Non-Consequentialist approach (and for UK readers)

Metaphysics of Good and Evil. (and for UK readers)

Spiritual Theology

St Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica IIa IIae Vol. I and Vol. II (and for UK readers here and here). This second part of the second part is focused on the virtues and on sin. Also available at Aquinas.cc, New Advent and on iPieta.com

Garrigou Lagrange – Three Ages of the Interior Life (and for UK readers here and here). Two volumes, soon to be available from Baronius Press.

Garrigou-Lagrange – Christian Perfection and Contemplation (and for UK readers). Soon to be available from Baronius Press.

Tanquerey – The Spiritual Life (and for UK readers). Soon to be available from St Austin Press.

Cunningham et al, College Theology Vol. II, The Christian Life (and for UK readers and online at Internet Archive) As the name suggests, this is more of a college text.

Church History

Darras – General History of The Catholic Church From The Commencement Of The Christian Era Until The Present Time, 4 vols. Online at Internet Archive, and available here:

Parsons – Studies in Church History. 6 vols. Online at Internet Archive.

Mourret-Thompson – A History of the Catholic Church. 8 vols. Online at Internet Archive. It is difficult to find, especially for UK readers.

  • Vol. I – Period of Early Expansion
  • Vol. II – Period of the Church Fathers
  • Vol. III – Period of the Early Middle Ages
  • Vol. IV – Period of the Later Middle Ages
  • Vol. V – Period of the Renaissance and Reformation
  • Vol. VI – Period of the Ancient Regime
  • Vol. VII – Period of the French Revolution (and for UK readers)
  • Vol. VIII – Period of the Early Nineteenth Century (1823-1878)

Poulet – A History of the Catholic Church (2 vols.) Online at Internet Archive and:

  • Vol. I – The Ancient Church, The Middle Ages, The Beginnings of the Modern Period (and for UK readers)
  • Vol. II – The Modern Period, Contemporary Church History (and for UK readers)

Some more particular works of interest could include:

St Alphonsus – The History of Heresies (and for UK readers). Rich in detail and gives a great overview up to its time of writing. Internet Archive and Forgotten Books.

Eusebius of Caesarea – Church History (and for UK readers). Online at New Advent.

St Bede the Venerable – Ecclesiastical History of the English People (and for UK readers). A glorious work.

Laux – Church History (and for UK readers) This is a high school or college text, but could be a good simple introduction.

Fathers and Doctors

A great starting point for various points of Catholic doctrine is:

The Faith of Catholics, by Berington, Kirk and Waterworth. Three-vol. collection of patristic texts on various subjects. Vol. I and the start of Vol. II deal particularly with the Church and the Papacy. Available here: 

For some examples of complete texts, particularly those dealing with the Church:

St Augustine. Most of his works are available online at New Advent. One could consult in particular:

St Cyprian – On the Unity of the Church (and for UK readers). Available in The Lapsed / The Unity of the Catholic Church, (Ancient Christian Writers series) trans. by Maurice Bevenot and published by Paulist Press, or online (NB: this online version is a transcription of an old translation, and we are not clear of the provenance of the website itself.)

St Vincent of Lerins – Commonitorium Against Heresies (and for UK readers). Published by Tradibooks, and online at New Advent.

For more interesting texts, which are more or less relevant to our current problems:

Tertullian – The Apology (and for UK readers). Tertullian ended as a heretic and his excessive choler may have been a reason. Nonetheless, his Apology is a joy to read. When I read it at as a young man, the only way I could describe it was “like reading fire.” Online here.

St Justin Martyr – The First and Second Apologies (and for UK readers). A very early account of the Christian faith and practice. Very readable and indeed a pleasure to read. Online at New Advent.

St Irenaeus of Lyon – Against Heresies (and for UK readers). Online at New Advent.

St Jerome – Letters (and for UK readers), or anything at all. The fierceness with which he writes is very exciting, and some would find it scandalous today. His letters to St Augustine reveal an interesting side to him.

St John Damascene – On the Orthodox Faith (and for UK readers) Online at New Advent.

Doctors

St Robert Bellarmine – On the Church (and for UK readers). Translated by Mr Ryan Grant, Mediatrix Press. Other versions available too. Bellarmine is essential.

St Robert Bellarmine – On the Roman Pontiff (and for UK readers). Again translated by Mr Ryan Grant and published by Mediatrix Press. Another version here, translated by Fr Kenneth Baker, including also the Controversies on Holy Scripture and Christ our Lord. Essential reading for the topic.

St Francis de Sales – The Catholic Controversy (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

St Alphonsus – The History of Heresies (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

St Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica, trans. by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province, (5 vols.) Ave Maria Press, Hardback (and UK readers) and Paperback (and UK readers). Also online at New Advent and iPieta.

St Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologiae, published by Aquinas Institute (8 vols.) Latin-English, based on the English Fathers’ translation, without the Supplementum parts. (And for UK readersSupplementum I-68 (and UK readersSupplementum 69-99 (and UK readers)

St Thomas Aquinas – Summa Contra Gentiles. Aquinas Institute in 2 vols: Vol. I (Books I-II) and Vol. 2 (Books III-IV) and for UK readers here and here. Budget single-volume from Aeterna Press (and for UK readers) and online at iPieta or Aquinas.cc

In addition to St Thomas’s own works, let’s mention again:

Abbé Anger’s The Doctrine of the Mystical Body According to the Principles of St Thomas Aquinas (for UK readers and Internet Archive). This is a useful compendium of a subject which does not appear in a discrete section of the Summa Theologica, and so is presumed not to exist.

Glenn – A Tour of the SummaA compressed one-volume account of the Summa. (UK readers)

Canon Law

The 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law, ed. Edward N. Peters (and for UK readers). Ignatius Press.

Bouscaren & Ellis – Canon Law, a Text and Commentary (and for UK readers) (1 vol.) Internet Archive.

Woywod – A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law in one volume, also as Vol. I and Vol. II. Here for UK readers in one volume, or as Vol. I and Vol. II (2 vols). Also available online: Vol. I and Vol. II

Augustine – Commentary on Canon Law (8 volumes) Internet Archive.

Appendix – Social Doctrine

Some recent papal documents on Catholic social doctrine:

Leo XIII – Rerum Novarum

Leo XIII – Libertas

Pius XI – Quadragesimo Anno

Pius XI – Quas Primas

Pius XII – Guiding Principles of the Lay Apostolate

Papal Teachings – The Lay Apostolate (and for UK readers)

And some more systematic texts:

Cahill – Framework of a Christian State (and for UK readers and online)

Glenn – Sociology

Fahey – Mystical Body of Christ and the Modern World (and for UK readers and online)

Fahey – Mystical Body of Christ and the Reorganisation of Society (and for UK readers and online)

Also for reference and interest:

Aristotle – Politics (and for UK readers and online)

Aquinas – On Kingship. Despite the title, this is about more than just Kingship: it also deals with the purpose of civil authority in themselves. In Opuscula I, from the Aquinas Institute (UK readers) and online at Aquinas.cc

And more popular treatments of relevant issues:

Belloc – The Servile State (and for UK readers and online)

Chesterton – Outline of Sanity (and for UK readers)

Civardi – Manual of Catholic Action (and for UK readers and online)

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Learning Sacred Theology

The full reading list in one place.

Part I: Preliminaries, Catechism, Latin, Philosophy and the Magisterium
Part II: Ecclesiology, Apologetics and Dogmatic Theology.
Part III: Holy Scripture, Moral Theology, History, Patristics and Canon Law

Theology Manuals – Why are they so important in the post-conciliar crisis?
What are the duties of laymen in studying and spreading the Faith? – Pope Leo XIII
Theology and History – Part II: Why understanding this relationship is crucial for avoiding shipwreck
Theology and the Interior Life – How do they help each other? Fr R. Garrigou-Lagrange, 1943



Part I: Preliminaries, Catechism, Latin, Philosophy and the Magisterium

Holy Scripture

Holy Bible (Douay-Rheims), Baronius Press. (UK readers)

New Testament and Psalms (Douay Rheims), Baronius Press. (UK readers)

New Testament (Confraternity), Scepter.

Holy Bible (Knox), Baronius Press (UK readers). This mid-twentieth century translation was approved by the English bishops for use in churches prior to Vatican II.

Our own Old and New Testament Scriptural Rosary system is a way of incorporating Holy Scripture into your Rosary.

Liturgy, Psalms and Office Books

Guéranger – The Liturgical Year, 15 vols. See here for UK readers – although you may need to just order from the US link. A great edition was from St Bonaventure Press, (check here for availability) but this is currently out of print. It is still available from Loreto Publications in hardback and paperback editions. Available on the iPieta app and currently being posted daily online.

Roman Breviary (and for UK readers), Latin and English (1962) Baronius Press.

My Daily Psalm Book (and for UK readers). Features all of the psalms arranged in the order of the St Pius X Breviary – albeit as a translation from the controversial Cardinal Bea “Pian” Psalter. Nonetheless, a small and handy book and controversies here need not get in the way of laymen at this stage.

Monastic Diurnal (and for UK readers), Latin and English, dated 1963, 8th Edition published in 2020. It is according to the pre-St Pius X monastic psalter ordering. Warning: avoid the oversized 7th Edition!

Divinum Officium Project, Latin and English.

Our own Old Testament Rosary, which is predominantly excerpts from the Psalms allotted for each relevant mystery of the Rosary foretold.

St Robert Bellarmine – Commentary on the Book of Psalms (and for UK readers)

St Thomas Aquinas

Summa Theologica Trans. by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province, (5 vols.) Ave Maria Press, Hardback (and UK readers) and Paperback (and UK readers). Also online at New Advent and iPieta.

Summa Theologiae, Aquinas Institute (8 vols.) Latin-English, based on the English Fathers’ translation, without the Supplementum parts. (And for UK readers) Supplementum I-68 (and UK readers) Supplementum 69-99 (and UK readers)

St Thomas Aquinas – Summa Contra Gentiles. Aquinas Institute in 2 vols: Vol. I (Books I-II) and Vol. 2 (Books III-IV) and for UK readers here and here. Budget single-volume from Aeterna Press (and for UK readers) and online at iPieta or Aquinas.cc

Aquinas – Opuscula I, from the Aquinas Institute (UK readers), containing the following:

St Thomas Aquinas – Catena Aurea (and for UK readers). 4 vols, line-by-line commentary on the four Gospels from the Fathers of the Church, assembled by St Thomas Aquinas and translated by Cardinal John Henry Newman. Published by Baronius Press.

Tradivox VI: Aquinas, Pecham, and Pagula (UK readers), including St Thomas Aquinas’s Catechetical Instructions. An arrangement of other Opuscula in catechetical form. (ca. 1260)

St Thomas Aquinas’s scriptural commentaries are being published by the Aquinas Institute in English and Latin. Here are some of the options below – they are online here, and it is possible to buy single volumes of the commentaries below:

Anger – The Doctrine of the Mystical Body According to the Principles of St Thomas Aquinas (and for UK readers). Internet Archive. Draws together several texts for which there is a bit of a lacuna in the Summa itself.

Glenn – A Tour of the Summa. A compressed one-volume account of the Summa. (UK readers)

Pegues – Catechism of the Summa Theologica for the use of the Faithful (and for UK readers)

G.K. Chesterton – St Thomas Aquinas. Classic biography. (UK link)

Foster – The Life of St Thomas Aquinas – Biographical Documents (UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

The Catechism

The Roman Catechism (Catechism of the Council of Trent). Baronius Press. See our review here. (UK readers.)

Smith – The Teaching of the Catholic Church. Arouca Press: Hardback Vol. I and Vol. II (UK readers Vol. I and Vol. II). Paperback Vol. I and Vol. II (UK readers Vol. I and Vol. II) Second-hand in both one or two volumes.

De Zulueta – Letters on Christian Doctrine: Vol. I, Vol. II and Vol. III (For UK readers: Vol. I, Vol. II and Vol. III). Written for laymen, and with many interesting practical applications that are not found in other similar texts. Internet Archive (Vol. I, Vol. II and Vol. III)

Gaume – Catechism of Perserverence. (UK readers). Also at Internet Archive.

Fr Connell’s New Baltimore Catechism 3 (and for UK readers). Do not be put off by the smelly word “new.” Fr Francis Connell is superb, and this 1949 version improves some of the shortcomings of the original, and brings expressions in line with very clear papal teaching, such as Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis Christi.

Baltimore Catechism no. IV (and UK readers). Beautiful Baronius hardback. This is the teachers’ guide to Baltimore Catechism no. II. Baronius Press.

St Peter Canisius – A Small Catechism for Catholics (and for UK readers). Not really advanced, but historically interesting. Recently translated by Ryan Grant, this work by the Jesuit Doctor of the Church is an important historical document, sometimes called the first Catholic Catechism – although we can see other early works below.

St Robert Bellarmine – Doctrina Christiana: The Timeless Catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine (and for UK readers). Another translation by Ryan Grant, from another historic text, from another Jesuit Doctor of the Church.

Tradivox I – Three shorter catechisms. (UK readers)

  • Bishop Edmund Bonner – An Honest Godley Instruction. A foundational text written by a bishop who repented under Queen Mary, returned to the Catholic Church and died a confessor under Elizabeth I (1556)
  • Fr Laurence Vaux – A Catechisme of Christian Doctrine (1567)
  • Fr Diego de Ledesma – The Christian Doctrine (1573)

Tradivox II – Three seventeenth-century catechisms. (UK readers)

  • St Robert Bellarmine SJ – A Shorte Catechisme. This consists mostly of restored woodcuts. (1614)
  • Fr Henry Turberville – The Douay Catechism, or An Abridgement of the Christian Doctrine. Very polemically ordered towards catechising Catholics against Protestantism, with many Scripture references and details on the Mass. (1649)
  • Fr Thomas Vincent Sadler – The Childes Catechism. Written for parents. (1678)

Tradivox III – three texts by Bishop Richard Challoner, reviser of the Douay-Rheims Bible and Vicar Apostolic of London during a period of oppressive penal laws. (UK readers)

  • An Abridgement of Christian Doctrine. A synopsis of the Douay Catechism. (1759)
  • The Catholic Christian Instructed. A longer, very annotated work with a lot of focus on worship and the sacraments. (1737)
  • The Grounds of Catholick Doctrine. A simple Q&A catechism based on the Tridentine Profession of Faith (1752)

Tradivox IV: Three significant Irish catechisms, comparable to the Penny or Baltimore Catechisms (UK readers)

  • The Most Rev. Dr James Butler’s Catechism. Approved for national use by all of the Irish bishops, serving Irish Catholics for 150 years at home and in Canada and the USA. (1775)
  • The Catechism Ordered by the National Synod of Maynooth. (1884)
  • The Shorter Catechism Extracted [from the above]. (1891)

Tradivox V: Two by Irish priests in the 1700s. (UK readers)

  • Fr Andrew Donlevy – The Catechism, or Christian Doctrine, By Way of Question and Answer. The oldest major Irish catechetical manuscript. (1742)
  • Fr Thomas Burke OP – A Catechism Moral and Controversial. Written for more advanced audiences, with practical and apologetic notes. (1752)

Tradivox VI: Aquinas, Pecham, and Pagula (UK readers).

  • St Thomas Aquinas – The Catechetical Instructions. An arrangement of other Opuscula in catechetical form. (ca. 1260)
  • Archbishop John Pecham (of Canterbury) – Ignorantia Sacerdotum. Product of the Council of Lambeth. (1281)
  • Quinque Verba – pocket manual to “remedy the ignorance of simple priests.” (1300)
  • William of Pagula – Oculus Sacerdotis – a chapter, frequently excerpted and circulated at the time, from Pagula’s large guide for priests. (1320)

Tradivox VII: The Catechism of the Council of Trent (UK readers). April 2022.

Tradivox VIII: Pope St Pius X and Frassinetti (UK readers). July 2022.

Other texts have not been confirmed, but the following are mentioned on the website. They may be intended for publication, or just for the online database.

  • St Peter Canisius – A Sum of Christian Doctrine.(1555)
  • Doulye – A Brief Instruction. (1604)
  • Perry – A Full Course of Instructions for the Use of Catechists.(1847)
  • Gaume – Catechism of Perseverance (1849)
  • Fr F.X. Weninger SJ – Manual of the Catholic Doctrine (1867)
  • Baltimore Catechism (1891)
  • Thomas J. O’Brien – An Advanced Catechism of Catholic Faith and Practice (1902)
  • Deharbe’s Large Catechism (1921)
  • Bishop Hay – Abridgement of Christian Doctrine (1800)

Some basic catechisms

Latin

Oulton’s So you really want to learn LatinYouTube

Ørberg – Lingua Latina per se Illustrata:

Fr William Most – Latin by the Natural Method

Hillard & Botting’s Elementary Latin Exercises (and UK readers). Here is the answer book (and UK readers) A traditional exercise book. It has been republished, but the new textbook does not match the new answer book – hence we have listed a reprint of the old exercise book with the new key.

Kennedy’s Revised Latin Primer. A classic text. (UK readers)

Philosophy

Introduction to Philosophy. Get this book. If you read nothing else, at least read this – it summarises all of the following books. Internet Archive. Reprint (better quality) from Gyan Books.

Dialectics (formal logic) The Catholic Archive and Internet Archive.

Criteriology (major logic or epistemology).

Ontology (metaphysics and being).

Cosmology (the physical world). Internet Archive.

Psychology (intellectual, animal and vegetative life) The Catholic Archive.

Theodicy (natural theology) The Catholic Archive.

Ethics (UK readers). Also at Internet Archive. Reprint from Gyan Books.

Aquinas – Opuscula I, from the Aquinas Institute (UK readers), containing the following:

Philosophy: Natural Theology

Feser, Five Proofs for the Existence of God. Ignatius Press. (UK readers)

Feser, The Last Superstition. St Augustine Press. (UK readers)

Glenn, Theodicy. The Catholic Archive.

Glenn – Apologetics. (UK readers). Also at The Catholic Archive.

Philosophy: some higher-level texts

Feser – Scholastic Metaphysics. Editiones Scholasticae (UK readers)

Feser – Aristotle’s Revenge. Editiones Scholasticae (UK readers)

Oderberg – Real Essentialism. Routledge (UK readers)

Oderberg – Metaphysics of Good and Evil. Routledge (UK readers)

For some context on the “analytic philosophy” with which these writers are engaging, one could look at something like this:

Beaney – Analytic Philosophy: A very short introduction. OUP (UK readers)

Magisterial Texts

PapalEncyclicals.net also contains many Conciliar documents and other texts.

Denzinger – The Sources of Catholic Dogma Preserving Christian Publications. (UK readers). Loreto Publications also have an edition. Deferrari’s translation of Denzinger’s Enchiridion (30th edition) is also online at Patristica.net. There are problems with Deferrari’s translation – see the note below this list.

Denzinger – Enchiridion Symbolorum 43rd Edition, Hunnermann (UK readers). Warning: contains post-conciliar documents. We only include it as an additional resource that may supplement the shortcomings of Deferrari’s version.

Papal Teachings – The Church. (and UK readers – you should be so lucky!) This book is like gold-dust, but try praying a novena to St Peter if you need some help acquiring it. It is a collection of various authoritative texts from the popes on ecclesiology, gathered from written documents and allocutions. Available online from The Catholic Archive and Internet Archive.

The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent

  • Soon to be available in a new and high quality edition in March 2022 from St Austin Press.

The Popes Against Modern Errors (and UK readers) A compendium of certain key encyclicals, with intrusive subtitles and missing key things like Mediator Dei and Mystici Corporis Christi.

Leo XIII – A Light in the Heavens – The Great Encyclicals Letters of Pope Leo XIII (and for UK readers)

Pius XII – The Pope Speaks: the Teachings of Pope Pius XII (and for UK readers)

[Denzinger is a necessary part of any moderately serious library. However, the Deferrari translation into English is far from perfect: it is sometimes jarringly different from other official versions of well-known magisterial documents. The text of the Vatican Council on what must be believed with divine and Catholic faith is quite unclear, even erroneous. For example, the section from Dei Filius Ch 3 (1792) is unclear or erroneous. The following translation by John Daly is clearer: “All those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and are proposed by the Church either by a solemn judgment or by her ordinary and universal magisterium to be believed as divinely revealed.”]

Magisterial texts: on philosophical and theological method

Leo XIII – Aeterni Patris. On the importance of the philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas in the study of theology.

Pius X – Pascendi Dominici Gregis. Systematising and condemning the errors of modernism.

Pius XII – Humani Generis. On the “new theology,” including many important observations on ecclesiology.

Magisterial texts: on ecclesiology

Dei Filius. On Faith.

Pastor Aeternus. On the Roman Pontiff.

Leo XIII – Satis Cognitum. On the unity of the Church.

Pius XI – Mortalium Animos. On the unicity of the Church.

Pius XII – Mystici Corporis Christi. On the Church, particularly as the mystical body of Christ.

Part II: Dogmatic Theology, Apologetics and Ecclesiology

Overviews of Dogmatic Theology

Wilhelm & Scannell – Manual of Catholic Theology (2 vols.) Vol. I (and for UK readers) and Vol. II (and for UK readers). Online at the Bellarmine Forums.

Hunter, S.J – Outlines of Dogmatic Theology (3 vols.) Vol. I (UK readers), Vol. II (UK readers) and Vol. III (UK readers) Vol. I deals with the Church and fundamental theology. Please note that some versions are missing about twenty pages, which deal with membership. These pages are available here. There is a cheaper one-volume compendium, without footnotes (and for UK readers), and the three volumes are online here: Vol. I, Vol. II and Vol. III

Tanquerey – Manual of Dogmatic Theology. (2 vols.) Available here for UK readers Very good, but quite compressed. And online here: Vol. I and Vol. II.

Murphy, Donlan, Cunningham, et al. – College Texts in Theology (3 or 4 vols.) This is an excellent and very clear “trilogy of four” (in that it has an extra fourth volume on Christian marriage). Volumes I and III are available as second-hand books. Volume II and IV are extremely rare second hand, and Vol. II is available as a new paperback from Wipf and Stock.

Wilmers – Handbook of the Christian Religion (1 vol.) (and for UK readers). More aimed at college students. Available at Internet Archive.

Parente – Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology (and for UK readers). Brief and brilliant. This is not an overview of dogmatic theology, but is a useful resource at this stage. Available from the Internet Archive.

Other Overviews

Garrigou-Lagrange – Reality. An excellent work for understanding how the Thomistic synthesis interacts with the whole of revealed doctrine – but while it is certainly very worth having and reading, at least one text from the above list should be mastered too. This book is soon to be republished by Baronius Press

Sacrae Theologia Summa (Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos Series – 8 vols.) Keep the Faith Publications. This series has much to commend it, and various volumes are mentioned below. However, while it may suit certain readers, it is more advanced than an accessible 2- or 3-volume overview necessary for this stage. For the sake of completeness, however, are the texts:

  • Vol. IA: Introduction to Theology, and On Christian Revelation
  • Vol. IB: On the Church of Christ, and On Holy Scripture
  • Vol. IIA: On the One and Triune God
  • Vol. IIB: On God, the Creator and Sanctifier, and On Sins
  • Vol. IIIA: On the Incarnate Word, and On the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Vol. IIIB: On Grace, and On the Infused Virtues
  • Vol. IVA: On the Sacraments in General and On Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance and Anointing
  • Vol. IVB: On Holy Orders and Matrimony, and On the Last Things

Pohle-Preuss – Dogmatic Theology (12 books in 6 volumes). Here for UK readers, although may need to order through the American link. Despite being such a large work, there is no concrete section on ecclesiology – which will make it a disappointment for many of our readers. Online at Internet Archive.

Fundamental Theology: Introduction to theology (methodology)

Fenton – What is Sacred Theology? (and for UK readers). Originally published as The Concept of Sacred Theology. Internet Archive, and published as What is Sacred Theology? by Cluny Media.

Nicolau – Introduction to Theology. Contained within Sacrae Theologiae Summa Vol. IA. Keep the Faith Publications

Hogan  Clerical Studies (and for UK readers). An overview of the different courses of theology and how to study them. Available online at HathiTrust.

Fundamental Theology: Systematic Apologetics (i.e. not just answers to Protestant questions)

Fenton – Laying the Foundation (and for UK readers). Originally published as We Stand with Christ, now published by Emmaus Road Publishing.

Nicolau – On Christian Revelation. Contained within Sacrae Theologiae Summa Volume IA. Keep the Faith Publications

Garrigou-Lagrange, On Divine Revelation. Soon to be published by Emmaus Academic Publishing, trans. by Matthew Minerd.

Van Noort – The True Religion (and for UK readers). This is the first of the three-part series Dogmatic Theology, reprinted by Arouca Press. Available online from Internet Archive.

Walshe – The Principles of Christian Apologetics (and for UK readers). Catholic text for college students dealing with the reasons for Christian revelation, rather than specifically the Catholic Church. Internet Archive.

Walshe – The Principles of Catholic Apologetics (and for UK readers). A truncated adaptation of Garrigou-Lagrange’s de Revelatione and focusing more on modernism and the idea of a revealed religion than Walshe’s other work. Online at Internet Archive. We have a good edition from Gyan Books).

Glenn – Apologetics (and for UK readers). This is more of a college text. Online at the Catholic Archive.

St Thomas Aquinas – Summa Contra Gentiles. Aquinas Institute in 2 vols: Vol. I (Books I-II) and Vol. 2 (Books III-IV) and for UK readers here and here. Budget single-volume from Aeterna Press (and for UK readers) and online at iPieta or Aquinas.cc

Fundamental Theology: Ecclesiology

Bellarmine – On the Church (and for UK readers). Translated by Mr Ryan Grant, Mediatrix Press. Other versions available too. Bellarmine is essential.

Salaverri – On the Church of Christ. Contained within Sacrae Theologiae Summa Volume IB. Keep the Faith Publications

Van Noort – Christ’s Church (and for UK readers). Vol. II of the series discussed above. Internet Archive.

Berry – The Church of Christ (and for UK readers). Excellent single volume manual of ecclesiology. Wipf and Stock.

Anger – The Doctrine of the Mystical Body According to the Principles of St Thomas Aquinas (and for UK readers). Internet Archive.

Billot – Warning: in French! On the Church of Christ. (Vol. I, Vol. II and Vol. III) Billot is one of the most significant theologians of recent times, and was praise by Pius XII in a 1953 allocution to the Gregorian University.[7] The French has been translated from Latin by Fr Gleize SSPX, and is available from Livres en Famille, France. We have included these volumes (and also Gréa’s, below) because of their significance, despite them not being in English. If they were in English, both Billot and Gréa’s texts would be in bold.

Gréa – Warning: in French! The Church and Her Divine Constitution (and for UK readers). NB: this edition says “Vol. I” but it contains both volumes. Available in French from Internet Archive

Fenton – The Church of Christ (and for UK readers). Not a systematic work, but rather contains articles from the American Ecclesiastical Review. Others articles are available as scans from the Bellarmine Forums and The Catholic Archive. Some may also be interested in Fenton’s The Diocesan Priest in the Church of Christ (and for UK readers).

MacLaughlin – The Divine Plan of the Church (and for UK readers). Single-volume apologetics work on the Church, but precise and detailed. Online at Internet Archive.

Finlay – The Church of Christ (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Ecclesiology: The Roman Pontiff

St Robert Bellarmine – Controversies of the Christian Faith. On the Holy Scriptures, Christ and the Roman Pontiff. Translated by Fr Kenneth Baker. (Sometimes available for UK readers). Essential reading for the topic.

St Robert Bellarmine – On the Roman Pontiff (and for UK readers). Again translated by Mr Ryan Grant and published by Mediatrix Press.

Guéranger – The Papal Monarchy (and for UK readers). This text, by the author of the much-loved Liturgical Year, was explicitly approved by Pope Pius IX.

Manning – Petri Privilegium (and for UK readers). Three lengthy and serious pastoral letters from Cardinal Manning, one of the great English converts of the nineteenth century, and a father of Vatican I. Online at Internet Archive.

Kenrick – Primacy of the Apostolic See Vindicated (and for UK readers). Fenton describes Archbishop Kenrick as using “a more popular literary style to bring out the same exactness in presentation of Christian doctrine” as scholastic theologians.[8] Online at Internet Archive.

Hergenröther – Anti-Janus (and for UK readers). The response by (later Cardinal) Hergenröther to Dr Döllinger’s historical-theology tract against the papacy. Internet Archive.

Bottalla – The Pope and the Church, Vol. I and Vol. II (and for UK readers here and here). Fr Bottalla SJ writes with a lively and entertaining vigour. Internet Archive (Vol. I and Vol. II)

Manning – The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost (and for UK readers). Internet Archive.

Mersch – The Whole Christ (and for UK readers). Internet Archive.

Mura – The Nature of the Mystical Body (and for UK readers).

Rhodes – The Visible Unity of the ChurchVol. I and Vol. II (and for UK readers here and here). Online here: Vol. I and Vol. II.

Vacant – The Ordinary Magisterium of the Church and its Organs. Currently being translated by the WM Review from French. Part I available at the link, with subsequent parts linked within.

Ward – The Authority of Doctrinal Decisions Which Are Not Definitions of Faith (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Ward – Essays on the Church’s Doctrinal Authority (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Ecclesiology: Fathers and Doctors of the Church

There are more texts from the Fathers and Doctors below – these are just some with particular interest for ecclesiology.

The Faith of Catholics, by Berington, Kirk and Waterworth. Three-vol. collection of patristic texts on various subjects. Vol. I and the start of Vol. II deal particularly with the Church and the Papacy. Available here: 

St Augustine. Most of his works are available online at New Advent.

St Cyprian – On the Unity of the Church (and for UK readers). Available in The Lapsed / The Unity of the Catholic Church, (Ancient Christian Writers series) trans. by Maurice Bevenot and published by Paulist Press, or online (NB: this is a transcription of an old translation, and we are not clear of the provenance of the website itself.)

St Vincent of Lerins – Commonitorium Against Heresies (and for UK readers). Published by Tradibooks, and online at New Advent.

St Francis de Sales – The Catholic Controversy (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

St Alphonsus – The History of Heresies (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Ecclesiology: Miscellaneous

Manning – The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost (and for UK readers). Internet Archive.

Mersch – The Whole Christ (and for UK readers). Internet Archive.

Mura – The Nature of the Mystical Body (and for UK readers).

Rhodes – The Visible Unity of the ChurchVol. I and Vol. II (and for UK readers here and here). Online here: Vol. I and Vol. II.

Vacant – The Ordinary Magisterium of the Church and its Organs. Currently being translated by the WM Review from French. Part I available at the link, with subsequent parts linked within.

Ward – The Authority of Doctrinal Decisions Which Are Not Definitions of Faith (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Ward – Essays on the Church’s Doctrinal Authority (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Ecclesiology: Spiritual works

Guéranger – The Liturgical Year, 15 vols. See here for UK readers – although you may need to just order from the US link. A great edition was from St Bonaventure Press, (check here for availability) but this is currently out of print. It is still available from Loreto Publications in hardback and paperback editions. Available on the iPieta app and currently being posted daily online.

Boylan – This Tremendous Lover (and for UK readers). Baronius Press

Clérissac – The Mystery of the Church (and for UK readers). Online at the Bellarmine Forums.

Benson – Christ in the Church (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Leen – The True Vine (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

Marmion – Christ the Life of the Soul (and for UK readers). Ignatius Press For reasons to avoid other certain publishers, see here). Online Internet Archive.

Fundamental Theology: Sources of Revelation

Franzelin – On Divine Tradition (and for UK readers). Translated by Mr Ryan Grant and published by Mediatrix Press.

Van Noort – The Sources of Revelation / Divine Faith (and for UK readers). Vol. III of the series mentioned, dealing with Faith and the rule of faith. Available from Arouca Press.

Garrigou-Langrange – On Faith. Soon to be published by Baronius Press.

Garrigou-Lagrange, On Divine Revelation. Soon to be published by Emmaus Academic Publishing, trans. by Matthew Minerd.

Walshe – The Principles of Catholic Apologetics (and for UK readers). A truncated adaptation of Garrigou-Lagrange’s de Revelatione. Online at Internet Archive. We have a good edition from Gyan Books.

Billot – The Immutability of Tradition. On revelation and tradition. This is available in French and Spanish. The WM Review is considering working on a translation of this.

Agius – Tradition and the Church (and for UK readers). An introductory text. Internet Archive.                                              

Part III: Scripture, Moral Theology, History, Fathers, and Canon Law

Introductions to Holy Scripture

Nicolau – On Holy Scripture, Contained within Sacrae Theologiae Summa Volume IB. Keep the Faith Publications.

Laux – Introduction to the Bible (here for UK readers). For High School students, but 352 pages long. Tan Books.

Commentaries on Holy Scripture

Orchard et al – A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (and for UK readers) Internet Archive or second-hand copies.

Lapide SJ – The Great Commentary (On the Holy Gospels) (and for UK readers). Also available at iPieta.com.

Haydock Bible (and for UK readers). Detailed footnotes on a version of the Douay-Rheims. The commentary takes up about a half to two-thirds of each page. Available online at iPieta.com .

St Thomas Aquinas – Catena Aurea (and for UK readers). 4 vols, line-by-line commentary on the four Gospels from the Fathers of the Church, assembled by St Thomas Aquinas and translated by Cardinal John Henry Newman. Published by Baronius Press.

St Robert Bellarmine – Commentary on the Book of Psalms (and for UK readers)

Knecht – A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture. Available from Amazon USAmazon UK and Saint Austin Press. More aimed at teachers and parents. We have published a review.

St Thomas Aquinas’s scriptural commentaries are being published by the Aquinas Institute in English and Latin. Here are some of the options below – they are online here, and it is possible to buy single volumes of the commentaries below:

Moral Theology

St Alphonsus – Moral Theology. Available in an ongoing project from Mediatrix Press.

McHugh & Callan – Moral Theology – A Complete Course Based on St. Thomas Aquinas and the Best Modern Authorities (and for UK readers) Two volumes – superb, very clear and very comprehensive. Online at Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive here and here.

Prümmer – Handbook of Moral Theology (and for UK readers). One good and concise volume. Internet Archive.

Slater – Manual of Moral Theology for English-Speaking Countries. Vol. I and Vol. II (and for UK readers, Vol. I and Vol II. Online at Internet Archive.

Jone-Adelman – Moral Theology (and for UK readers). One good and concise volume.

Sagües – On Sins. In Sacrae Theologiae Summa IIB. Not a moral manual, but rather a detailed account of the concept of sin.

Connell – Outlines of Moral Theology (and for UK readers) Less detailed and systematic.

Fagothey – Right and Reason (and for UK readers). A college text.

Laux – Catholic Morality (and for UK readers). A high school text.

Extra Moral Theology texts

Aristotle – Nichomachean Ethics (and for UK readers)

Moral Theory: A Non-Consequentialist Approach (and for UK readers)

Applied Ethics: A Non-Consequentialist approach (and for UK readers)

Metaphysics of Good and Evil. (and for UK readers)

Spiritual Theology

St Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica IIa IIae Vol. I and Vol. II (and for UK readers here and here). This second part of the second part is focused on the virtues and on sin. Also available at Aquinas.cc, New Advent and on iPieta.com

Garrigou Lagrange – Three Ages of the Interior Life (and for UK readers here and here). Two volumes, soon to be available from Baronius Press.

Garrigou-Lagrange – Christian Perfection and Contemplation (and for UK readers). Soon to be available from Baronius Press.

Tanquerey – The Spiritual Life (and for UK readers). Soon to be available from St Austin Press.

Cunningham et al, College Theology Vol. II, The Christian Life (and for UK readers and online at Internet Archive) As the name suggests, this is more of a college text.

Church History

Darras – General History of The Catholic Church From The Commencement Of The Christian Era Until The Present Time, 4 vols. Online at Internet Archive, and available here:

Parsons – Studies in Church History. 6 vols. Online at Internet Archive.

Mourret-Thompson – A History of the Catholic Church. 8 vols. Online at Internet Archive. It is difficult to find, especially for UK readers.

  • Vol. I – Period of Early Expansion
  • Vol. II – Period of the Church Fathers
  • Vol. III – Period of the Early Middle Ages
  • Vol. IV – Period of the Later Middle Ages
  • Vol. V – Period of the Renaissance and Reformation
  • Vol. VI – Period of the Ancient Regime
  • Vol. VII – Period of the French Revolution (and for UK readers)
  • Vol. VIII – Period of the Early Nineteenth Century (1823-1878)

Poulet – A History of the Catholic Church (2 vols.) Online at Internet Archive and:

  • Vol. I – The Ancient Church, The Middle Ages, The Beginnings of the Modern Period (and for UK readers)
  • Vol. II – The Modern Period, Contemporary Church History (and for UK readers)

Some more particular works of interest could include:

St Alphonsus – The History of Heresies (and for UK readers). Rich in detail and gives a great overview up to its time of writing. Internet Archive and Forgotten Books.

Eusebius of Caesarea – Church History (and for UK readers). Online at New Advent.

St Bede the Venerable – Ecclesiastical History of the English People (and for UK readers). A glorious work.

Laux – Church History (and for UK readers) This is a high school or college text, but could be a good simple introduction.

Fathers

A great starting point for various points of Catholic doctrine is:

The Faith of Catholics, by Berington, Kirk and Waterworth. Three-vol. collection of patristic texts on various subjects. Vol. I and the start of Vol. II deal particularly with the Church and the Papacy. Available here: 

For some examples of complete texts, particularly those dealing with the Church:

St Augustine. Most of his works are available online at New Advent. One could consult in particular:

St Cyprian – On the Unity of the Church (and for UK readers). Available in The Lapsed / The Unity of the Catholic Church, (Ancient Christian Writers series) trans. by Maurice Bevenot and published by Paulist Press, or online (NB: this online version is a transcription of an old translation, and we are not clear of the provenance of the website itself.)

St Vincent of Lerins – Commonitorium Against Heresies (and for UK readers). Published by Tradibooks, and online at New Advent.

For more interesting texts, which are more or less relevant to our current problems:

Tertullian – The Apology (and for UK readers). Tertullian ended as a heretic and his excessive choler may have been a reason. Nonetheless, his Apology is a joy to read. When I read it at as a young man, the only way I could describe it was “like reading fire.” Online here.

St Justin Martyr – The First and Second Apologies (and for UK readers). A very early account of the Christian faith and practice. Very readable and indeed a pleasure to read. Online at New Advent.

St Irenaeus of Lyon – Against Heresies (and for UK readers). Online at New Advent.

St Jerome – Letters (and for UK readers), or anything at all. The fierceness with which he writes is very exciting, and some would find it scandalous today. His letters to St Augustine reveal an interesting side to him.

St John Damascene – On the Orthodox Faith (and for UK readers) Online at New Advent.

Doctors

St Robert Bellarmine – On the Church (and for UK readers). Translated by Mr Ryan Grant, Mediatrix Press. Other versions available too. Bellarmine is essential.

St Robert Bellarmine – On the Roman Pontiff (and for UK readers). Again translated by Mr Ryan Grant and published by Mediatrix Press. Another version here, translated by Fr Kenneth Baker, including also the Controversies on Holy Scripture and Christ our Lord. Essential reading for the topic.

St Francis de Sales – The Catholic Controversy (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

St Alphonsus – The History of Heresies (and for UK readers). Online at Internet Archive.

St Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica, trans. by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province, (5 vols.) Ave Maria Press, Hardback (and UK readers) and Paperback (and UK readers). Also online at New Advent and iPieta.

St Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologiae, published by Aquinas Institute (8 vols.) Latin-English, based on the English Fathers’ translation, without the Supplementum parts. (And for UK readersSupplementum I-68 (and UK readersSupplementum 69-99 (and UK readers)

St Thomas Aquinas – Summa Contra Gentiles. Aquinas Institute in 2 vols: Vol. I (Books I-II) and Vol. 2 (Books III-IV) and for UK readers here and here. Budget single-volume from Aeterna Press (and for UK readers) and online at iPieta or Aquinas.cc

In addition to St Thomas’s own works, let’s mention again:

Abbé Anger’s The Doctrine of the Mystical Body According to the Principles of St Thomas Aquinas (for UK readers and Internet Archive). This is a useful compendium of a subject which does not appear in a discrete section of the Summa Theologica, and so is presumed not to exist.

Glenn – A Tour of the SummaA compressed one-volume account of the Summa. (UK readers)

Canon Law

The 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law, ed. Edward N. Peters (and for UK readers). Ignatius Press.

Bouscaren & Ellis – Canon Law, a Text and Commentary (and for UK readers) (1 vol.) Internet Archive.

Woywod – A Practical Commentary on the Code of Canon Law in one volume, also as Vol. I and Vol. II. Here for UK readers in one volume, or as Vol. I and Vol. II (2 vols). Also available online: Vol. I and Vol. II

Augustine – Commentary on Canon Law (8 volumes) Internet Archive.

Appendix – Other Subjects

Social Doctrine

Some recent papal documents on Catholic social doctrine:

Leo XIII – Rerum Novarum

Leo XIII – Libertas

Pius XI – Quadragesimo Anno

Pius XI – Quas Primas

Pius XII – Guiding Principles of the Lay Apostolate

Papal Teachings – The Lay Apostolate (and for UK readers)

And some more systematic texts:

Cahill – Framework of a Christian State (and for UK readers and online)

Glenn – Sociology

Fahey – Mystical Body of Christ and the Modern World (and for UK readers and online)

Fahey – Mystical Body of Christ and the Reorganisation of Society (and for UK readers and online)

Also for reference and interest:

Aristotle – Politics (and for UK readers and online)

Aquinas – On Kingship. Despite the title, this is about more than just Kingship: it also deals with the purpose of civil authority in themselves. In Opuscula I, from the Aquinas Institute (UK readers) and online at Aquinas.cc

And more popular treatments of relevant issues:

Belloc – The Servile State (and for UK readers and online)

Chesterton – Outline of Sanity (and for UK readers)

Civardi – Manual of Catholic Action (and for UK readers and online)

Learning Sacred Theology

The full reading list in one place.

Part I: Preliminaries, Catechism, Latin, Philosophy and the Magisterium
Part II: Ecclesiology, Apologetics and Dogmatic Theology.
Part III: Holy Scripture, Moral Theology, History, Patristics and Canon Law

Theology Manuals – Why are they so important in the post-conciliar crisis?
What are the duties of laymen in studying and spreading the Faith? – Pope Leo XIII
Theology and History – Part II: Why understanding this relationship is crucial for avoiding shipwreck
Theology and the Interior Life – How do they help each other? Fr R. Garrigou-Lagrange, 1943


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