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Roman Catholic books like the Baltimore Catechism, the Catholic Bible, the Liturgy, and the lives of the saints teach us to know, love and serve God in this world so as to be happy with Him in Heaven. The question is, "How do you know if a book is Catholic?"
Books are specifically Catholic if they were written by Catholics on Catholic doctrine and approved of and used by the Catholic Church. One may not study books of other religious persuasions on the subject of religion and hope to learn how to get to Heaven or to live a Catholic life on earth. 'Kind of makes common sense.
From the early years of the Catholic Church, books were hand written so they were rare and costly. For centuries the main Catholic books that were widely available were the Catholic Bible, the books of the Liturgy, the Martyrology, and local catechisms until the Catechism of the Council of Trent. They have conveyed the Catholic Faith to millions and are beacons for us. They are encyclopedic in their information and unsurpassed for their inspiration. I thank God for the many companies who have preserved these books.
Other books that are written by Catholics and discuss Catholic topics are Catholic insofar as they agree with or teach the Catholic Faith. Catholics write bazillions of other books, too.
Roman Catholic Prayer Books
When searching for prayer books we sometimes need to specify the term Roman Catholic prayer books since there are Anglican "Catholic" books, etc. The Roman Catholic Missal is a complete daily Catholic prayer book, the original "thought for the day" book. It covers the Mass of the day and usually has most of the Catholic prayers and many stories of the saints or notes from The Immitation of Christ. It uses the Bible for several readings each day. The best of the Bible audio books we've listened to is the Audio Douay-Rheims Bible.
Catholic Reading List
Our St. Anne's Helper's Catholic Reading list includes these treasures:
Many of these books could also be read during the school year, but these are also less "text booky", or more interesting in and of themselves, not merely books for information during the school year. All of these books are edifying and many are also very interesting for adults, especially the high school reading list. They are likely to be on many a Catholic home school curriculum "suggested reading list", too. As there are plenty of secular book lists available, this is specifically a Catholic summer reading list.
Roman Catholic Home School Books
We are so fortunate that there are so many Roman Catholic home school programs available today. The new textbooks read better than textbooks did 30 and 40 years ago. Many teach their subjects better, too. Many Catholic home school curriculum publishers have rewritten old Catholic books that needed updating for Catholic homeschooling or have gone to great effort to republish authentically Catholic books. See our Catholic Homeschool recommendations here .
Catholic Childrens Books
The Catholic Church has some antique children's books that are endearing. Neumann Press has a very nice selection of republished old children's books and song books. We like using this Catholic children's Bible and St. Anne's Helper Catholic Audio Books for First Communion and for Confirmation that teach the Catholic prayers for children. Be sure to add The Children of the Kingdom and the Catholic Mother Goose for fun.
Catholic Audio Books
Catholic audio books make it easy to learn the truths of the Catholic Faith and to hear the stories of the saints. Faith comes through hearing and if you do not have good sermons available, you'll need to read them. Many Catholic audio books offer you the same benefits as reading.
St. Anne's Helper Catholic ebooks are our effort to help you find the basics.
Catholics appreciate the many old Catholic books that Refuge of Sinners Publishing, TAN Books, Neumann, Baronius, and others have worked to republish and restore. They have reprinted many rare Catholic books. Children also appreciate the many beautiful children's books that these and many Catholic Homeschool companies have restored.
Adoremus Books offers St. Anne's Helper First Communion Audio Catechism, as well as many Catholic Homeschool books!
We recommend St. Anne's Helper First Communion (Volume 1) and Catholic Confirmation (Volume 2) Audio Catechisms (CDs and Downloads) and their companion Catechism Copybooks (Manuscript or Cursive Writing Ebooks) to lighten the study and teaching effort in learning the truths of the Catholic Religion. The audio are great for both children and adults.
Catholic Catechism Books
Our first recommendation is to learn the basic Catholic beliefs as taught in a catechism such as the Baltimore Catechism for children (This can be an easy way for an adult to learn, too, like using Cliffs Notes); and The Catechism of the Council of Trent and The Catechism Explained for high school and adult students. These books offer the Catholic principles necessary to learn to practice the Faith well enough to keep the Faith! Once a student knows the Catholic principles he can discern whether other books are Catholic or not. The catechism is one of the most fundamental of Roman Catholic books. A good one has all the basic answers.
Catholic First Communion and Catholic Confirmation St. Anne's Helper Audio Baltimore Catechisms and Catholic Worksheets - great as gifts and super useful with any Catholic home school curriculum.
Read the Douay-Rheims Bible New Testament on MP4 or MP3 Audio Bible. We love it!
A handy reminder of the Catholic Holy Days with our Catholic Holy Days Of Obligation Monthly Reminder. It also reminds of the dates for the First Fridays and First Saturdays. Sometimes the First Friday is AFTER the First Saturday.... It also has a Universal chart of the holy days.
Grandparents? God-parents? Do your children and God-children know the basic Catholic beliefs as they have always been taught and do they have an easy way to learn them with an audio catechism? Help your students, children, grandchildren or God-children learn the Catholic prayers, Catholic Ten Commandments and the Catholic Sacraments by giving them Saint Anne's Helper's CDs and Downloads.
A great companion book to the First Communion Catechism year is Jesus Comes, book 2 of the Our Holy Faith series published by Neumann Press, Long Prairie, MN. This is the best version of the Baltimore Catechism that we have found for First Communion in over fifteen years of purposeful comparison. We were thrilled to find it after having had the same material taught by religious sisters to most of our children.
It also has the fewest omissions of the Catholic books that we have seen. The pictures are sweet and modest. It was easy to teach about Adam, angels, Abraham, Moses, the Holy Family, the Catholic Ten Commandments and the Catholic sacraments. We used the book as a photo album, flipping to the pictures of the ideas that we would review.
The modest pictures helped to expand the Bible stories which help any poll-parrot drill make sense to our children. When we used it as a photo album, we would flip through the pictures asking who the pictures represented and what those people did. This is the book from which most of the St. Anne's Helper First Communion answers come, complete with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
They offer the best Catholic answers to the Baltimore Catechism questions. The St. Anne's Helper First Communion Audio CD (or Download) concurs with the Confirmation Audio Helper CD. The few questions (Ten Commandments, Blessed Trinity, definitions of the Catholic sacraments, etc.) that are the same in each catechism, have the exact same answers which spares confusion.
The New Catholic Picture Bible can be a great photo album of salvation history for both children and adults (Cliff notes?!). It is used in the Catholic home school curriculum at Our Lady of Victory School. Noe and some of the prophets are given the Protestant spellings of their names (which is a signal to beware), but we have otherwise used that book as a great visual memory aid (like a photo album) and as an early history book as well as a mini Roman Catholic Bible which seems to concur in meaning with the Douay-Rheims version. It can be a great help liturgically, too, because the Nativity story has such good pictures and stories for the Roman Catholic Advent season and the Christmas season, the Passion of Jesus for the Lenten season and so forth. This is also useful for teaching the mysteries of the Rosary.
The Living My Religion series is used at OLVS, too, and made a great "reader" for our first few years. It was the first set of Catholic text books that we had used when we began to use a Catholic home school curriculum. We used them as grade appropriate readers and rejoiced to see the nuances the children picked up from their own reading of the text! It is also a great companion set for expanding the childs idea of the catechism toward the information necessary for Confirmation. OLVS has republished this set with workbooks.
The Catechism of the Council of Trent and The Catechism Explained offer high school and adult level study of these same principles and they are surprisingly easy to read and understand. The Catechism of the Council of Trent was the foundation for the Baltimore Catechism and many Catholic catechisms since that time. The Baltimore Catechism is in a more concise question and answer format for easy memorization of specific answers. The Catechism Explained expands the Baltimore Catechism for adults. Further study and reference to sources at a higher level can be found in the book The Church Teaches since it has quotes from the Doctors of the Church. If you are beginning to study the Catholic Faith as an adult, be encouraged that you only need one good catechism. One good book is all that's necessary to learn the basic truths of the Catholic Faith.
Deharbes Small Catechism, Christian Book Club of America is a most concise and helpful book, especially for older students who do not need the visual aid of pictures (RCIA, CCD, Catholic Religious Education).
The Catechism in Pictures, Studere Educational Trust, Palayamkottai, INDIA, phone # 91 462 572 389 is full of beautiful artwork plates which are a catechism in themselves. Young and old will learn and marvel as they read and look at these beautiful pictures. We marvel at the detail. There is no mistaking Hell here! The main place that we have found it available in the US is at the Immaculata Book Store, phone # 785-437-2409. (It is currently out of print and is expected to be available in late August or early September.) (UPDATE: Fall 2010 an edited version was republished and is available at the Immaculata Book Store, El Camino Real, and the Angelus Press). Currently, the main catechisms we know to recommend for students who are able to study Catholic books on their own are The Catechism of the Council of Trent, and The Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X (recommended by him before he was pope and before the Baltimore and Penny Catechisms were available), and This is the Faith. They have excellent forewords and are excellent for high school and college level study! The first and last are published by Tan Books and the other is produced by Instauratio Press, now known as St. Benedicts Book Club. This is the Faith was recommended by the religious sister who taught two of our daughters and is published by Tan Books. This Is The Faith is also available as a Catholic audio book on CD.
Certitude In Choosing Roman Catholic Books!
Other catechisms (and even higher level volumes in some of these same series) vary some of the words, which is not always bad; yet some omit or remove questions on Creation, Original Sin, Heaven and Hell; remove definitions (What is Confirmation? as opposed to the subjective, "What does Confirmation do for you?"); and make the answers for confession plural. Yes, many questions can be answered in the possessive plural without changing the meaning much, but Confession is a singular matter. We have heard more than one parish priest admonish his congregation not to confess the sins of others. We chose to use the versions with Imprimatur that do not remove these truths of the Faith and that use definitions rather than subjective answers. Learning the Catholic Faith well often depends on choosing Catholic books carefully.
Another real gem was Childrens Retreats, by Rev. Fr. Halpin, Lepanto Press, Post Falls, ID. It has a section on the sacraments of Penance (Catholic Reconciliation), First Holy Communion and Confirmation followed in another part by stories to exemplify each of these three sacraments. It is seems to be meant for teachers or older students, and it teaches a great deal as it goes. It offers much that one can retell for a younger child as Father does in the text of the book and it is one of my favorite supplemental Catholic books for sacrament preparation.
See our Catholic answers page to see that most of the Baltimore Catechisms concur with very little difference in the wording of the catechism questions and answers. The discrepancies are few, especially where there are no expansions.
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