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Charles Johnston

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Recommended Reading

I read a lot of books, and buy even more than I read lol. Sometimes people ask me what I’m reading, or what some of my favorites were, so here is a short list of my recommendations.

These are all books that I’ve read, and I know I’ve forgotten more that I’ve put down here, so I’ll update this as I add new books to my library, or remember books I’ve already read lol. Click any of the book images to go straight to their Amazon page.

Works of Theology & Catechesis

  • Catechism of The Catholic Church

    Every Catholic needs to have a copy of this. If you’ve ever wondered what the Church taught about any given subject, you’ll find your answer in the catechism.
  • Jesus of Nazareth
    The first book I read by Pope Benedict XVI, and it didn’t disappoint. If reading this kind of book seems tedious, I can promise you that this one is not. It’s a page turner like a work of fiction, but will enlighten you and feed your soul better than anything James Patterson could write.
  • Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Naratives

    All the good things I have to say about the above book applies here too.
  • Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week

    The final volume in Pope Benedict’s trilogy
  • Catholicism
    Bishop Barron just has a wonderful way of breaking things down, without dumbing or watering them down.
  • That Nothing May Be Lost: Reflections on Catholic Doctrine and Devotion

This book is just great. Written by Fr Paul Scalia, the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, he really gives great insight into many areas of Catholic teachings and beliefs. As a sponsor in my parish’s RCIA, we used this book as par of our new curriculum.

  • United States Catholic Catechism for AdultThe US catechism for adults is great for those wanting to learn more about the Catholic Church, and was actually the curriculum for the RCIA at my parish when I entered the Church.
  • Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

I loved this book. What a beautiful image of heaven, an eternal wedding banquet with God and His Church.

  • Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper

This book really goes in depth to the roots of the Eucharist. Knowing all the typology, and prefigurements of the Eucharist is mind blowing.

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

I heard Scott Hahn give this talk before, but the book goes into much greater depth. There is so much going on at the Last Supper, and especially for someone like me that was spurred towards conversion by the Eucharist, this book is one of the best.

  • The Creed: Professing the Faith Through the Ages

How many times have we said the creed at Mass without giving it a second thought? I know I have, but this book will make you see the creed in a whole new way.

  • The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth

I thought I had made a great discovery during my early days of searching and seeking after the truth. I realized that reading the book of Revelation was like sitting in my local Catholic Church during a Sunday Mass. So imagine my surprise when I discovered a book that predated my own discovery, and even more surprise to see that Scott Hahn himself was just writing about something that the Church had taught for centuries. This book permanently changes how you see the Mass and Revelation.

  • Angels and Saints: A Biblical Guide to Friendship with God’s Holy Ones

This book was a wonderful guide to help me better understand the concept of praying for the intercession of the saints, and the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. I understood it at a base level, but my latent Protestantism couldn’t wrap my head around it.

  • A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture

I’m very intrigued at the idea that God has maintained a covenant throughout salvation history, and this book explores the covenantal relationship all the way back to Adam and Eve.

  • Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God

As you can tell by now, I love Scott Hahn’s books lol. This one was another, like saints and angels, that helped me overcome some discomfort surrounding the Marian Dogmas. I believed the, but they didn’t feel completely natural until I read this.

  • Lord, Have Mercy: The Healing Power of Confession

This, like all of Scott Hahn’s books, is a great way to better understand Church teachings. This book will help you open up the beautiful gift that we have in the sacrament of confession.

  • God Sent His Son

I’m currently reading this book by Christoph Cardinal Schönborn. The Cardinal has lectured on the topic of Christology for decades, and this book is the fruit of all those years. I’m enjoying the book so far, and would recommend it despite not having finished it yet, because the author is known for his solid orthodoxy I know there will be no heretical surprises lol.

Biographies

  • Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox


This biography gives a lot of insight into the life, and mind, of one of the greatest thinkers in the history of the Church.

Conversion Stories

  • Rome Sweet Home

    The king of the conversion stories, this book written by Scott Hahn, and his wife Kimberley, is one of the most widely read and well received Catholic conversion stories of all time.
  • Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church
    Steve Rey is a great catholic writer, and this story of his conversion is one of the best out there. I read a few conversion stories before my own took place, and I still read them now, because they give a good insight into all the reasons that people have for coming home to the Catholic Church.
  • Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic
    This book was actually the last book I read before jumping into the Tiber river and swimming across. I never really held any of these anti-catholic beliefs like the writer did, but I had encountered them a lot, so I figured it would be good to know how o respond to my fundamentalist friends once I was in the other side.

Church Fathers

  • When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers

    This book takes a look at a handful of the early Church fathers, and gives you a quick look into each of their lives. A great introduction that you can use to springboard into the ones you find most interesting.
  • On The Incarnation
    Saint Athanasius was a bishop from Alexandria and a fierce opponent of the Arian Heresey. This book is one of the earliest works of Christology, and is a terrific read.
  • Confessions of Saint Augustine

A must read among the works of Church Fathers.

  • City of God

I’m only recommending this because of how influential it is in Catholic thought, I’ve always been intimidated by this phone book sized book lol. It’s one of those bucket list reads for me, but my life doesn’t have enough time (or attention span) to tackle this tome at this moment.

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