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Books to introduce souls to the crisis in the Faith….. February 10, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Christendom, episcopate, General Catholic, Interior Life, Liturgy, reading, sadness, scandals, secularism.

…..and the liturgical revolution.

A reader asked me for some book recommendations to help introduce souls to the crisis in the Faith.   These books would be for folks who are either unaware there is a crisis, or who only have a sort of nebulous understanding that things have gone wrong, but can’t really fathom how.

I immediately thought of Michael Davies.  His many short books, especially on the Liturgy, are simple, easy to understand, and convey in brief examples and clear imagery the cause, nature, and extent of the crisis.  A few books I recommend to that end are:

Liturgical Shipwreck

Liturgical Time Bombs

A Short History of the Roman Mass

The Roman Rite Destroyed

The list for books that discuss the general crisis in the Faith more broadly (that is, without focusing so much on the liturgical devastation) is a bit harder to define.  I would not recommend Iota Unum or Pope Paul’s New Mass to those who don’t have a pretty good understanding of both the Faith and some knowledge of the crisis.  Maybe the latter.  But Anne Roche Muggeridge’s The Desolate City might be pretty ideal.  It’s not too long, is more focused on real-world effects than theological arguments, and is written in a popular style.  Dietrich von Hildebrand’s two analyses of the crisis in the Church, The Trojan Horse in the City of God and The Devastated Vineyard might be good, depending on the individual, but they may be too detailed or erudite for some.

Some might suggest The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in the United States, but I have to say, I have tried reading that book twice and I just found it way off base on a number of topics.  I put it down again without finishing it, which is really saying something, because I am incredibly stubborn about finishing even lousy books.  It is definitely meant to have mass appeal, but the fact that the author fundamentally mistakes the crisis in the Church as an American, rather than a universal, problem completely undermines it, as does his reflexive Americanism (as in the heresy) and his acceptance of many modernist presuppositions.  I can’t recommend it.

Everything else I’m thinking of is either too detailed or too involved for the beginner.  The request included some specific details I won’t share here, so maybe I’m being too limited for a general audience, but I think the vast majority of Catholics would find The Second Vatican Council: an unwritten history baffling.

So what suggestions have you?  I’m sure I’ve missed some wing dingers, I’m going from memory.  Remember, this would be a book to introduce people to the idea that there is a crisis in the Church/Liturgy, and the what/where/how/why it came about.  I don’t think The Banished Heart (good as it is), for instance, is appropriate.


1. TG - February 10, 2014

Father Joseph Esper has a book called “Catholism in Crisis” explains a lot of what happened after Vatican II. It’s not real long. Plus he has a way of making history sound interesting.

2. Daniel Brooks - February 10, 2014

The Michael Davies books introduced me to the liturgical iconoclasm. I use them as references very often.

I’d also add “One Hundred Years of Modernism: A Genealogy of the Principles of the Second Vatican Council”… although it is an SSPX publication so that may turn some people off.

Other than that, it is a very well-written book and is easy to read; it begins with the historical foundations of Catholic philosophy to explain the latter modernist aberrations.

3. discipleofthedumbox - February 10, 2014

Of the four, I’ve read Liturgical Shipwreck and A Short History of the Roman Mass. Fair reads, I suppose. An introduction at the least from the author’s perspective. He was the editor of The Remnant newspaper, if I recall correctly. Make that of what you will and tread carefully is my advice.

4. LaGallina - February 10, 2014

Thanks for the suggestions. I think there are many of us who have long had a vague sense that something was awry in the Church, but didn’t really understand what the problem was. The events of the Church in the past year have been a huge wake up call, and this blog has been a huge help in sifting through all the information.

For example, my daughter had a lesson about “Catholic hero” Tielhard de Chardin about 1 1/2 years ago in her first grade catechism class. My warning bells went off. I had never heard Chardin’s name, knew nothing about him, but I kept that little hand-out so I could refer to it if necessary. Since that time, his name has popped up in all kinds of places. And this blog helped me to learn about what a Modernist disaster he was. (I actually heard a speaker on youtube who was a Hindu or something criticize Chardin for tearing down his own faith and his Church’s traditions. Even some non-Catholics recognize the disaster.)

Now I am beginning to understand why my children (and I) have learned NOTHING about the faith in all the Catholic Church sponsored classes that we have been taking all these years. I’ve learned that “tradition” is to be discarded (seriously) and that the Church doesn’t believe in Original Sin anymore. Anything “devout” that I got involved in was basically Protestant. I never even knew what Benediction was or had ever heard “O Salutaris Hostia” after 10 years at my Catholic Church.

Now my kids and I are studying the Baltimore Catechism.

tantamergo - February 10, 2014

God bless you!

Baseballmom - February 10, 2014

That is awesome! One thing I believe will always be the case…. If one DESIRES the Truth and the Fullness of the Faith then the Holy Spirit will figure out a way to get it to him. 🙂

TG - February 10, 2014

You are so right. You have to be searching for Truth to be Catholic. That’s what led to my re-conversion. Unfortunately, in our culture, they would ask “what is truth”.

David - February 11, 2014

When I taught 7th grade CCD, I would often review the Baltimore Catechism and borrow materials from it for making explanations. The textbook I had was better than many others I had seen, but I preferred the Baltimore Catechism. It is well written in plain English that is easy to understand.

I also borrowed materials from Fr. Trigilio’s and Fr. Ken Brighenti’s Catholicism for Dummies. Personally, I learned quite a bit from it myself, and don’t let the title fool you. Catholicism for Dummies is also written in plain English and is true to the magesterium. Several RCIA classes and some introduction to Theology classes at colleges are using Catholicism for Dummies (seriously).

Fr. Robert Levis put a book together in the 1990’s that looks pretty good titled, Jesus, the Catechism, and Me. I found it through Abebooks. Fr. Levis had a reputation for orthodoxy at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. He was such a no-nonsense teacher during the 1970’s and early 1980’s that many of the “progressives” were advised to avoid his classes. These “progressives” could have learned a great deal from Fr. Levis.

5. Elizabeth - February 11, 2014

I don’t know if this would be good for beginners or not but what immediately came to mind was “Letter To Confused Catholics”. Excellent book and easy to read. Extremely helpful, as long as the person didn’t already have an ill-informed attitude against anything written by anyone-SSPX.

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