‘While the Eyes of the Great are Elsewhere’ by William Biersach. Link
In my opinion, this book is essential reading for all post Vatican II Catholics. Mr Biersach describes with great accuracy the feelings of bewilderment and confusion experienced by Catholics when the changes resulting from Vatican II were implemented. Changes that were imposed from the top down and that were neither desired nor expected by the ordinary Catholic faithful. And even though Mr. Biersach grew up in a middle class household in California and I grew up in an Irish working class community in England, our experiences were exactly the same. I am a couple of years older than Mr. Biersach so I was never catechised by the post- Vatican II catechism and I had no idea that the Church had changed the doctrine on the necessity of water baptism for salvation until a few years ago when I read this book for the first time.
‘ Desire and Deception’ by Charles Coulombe. Link
A history of the heresies of salvation by desire, blood and invincible ignorance. The book also explains the philosophy of ultra realism and how these errors crept into Church teaching when this philosophy was abandoned .
‘Liberalism is a Sin’ Dom. Felix Sarda Y Salvany. Link
This book was first published in Spanish in 1886 and is an excellent analysis and refutation of the heresy of Liberalism, and his description of the “Liberal Catholic”, who decides for himself which dogmas of the faith he will believe in and which he won’t, is absolutely brilliant.
‘ The Liberal Catholic assumes as the formal motive of the act of faith, not the infallible authority of God revealing supernatural truth, but his own reason deigning to accept as true what appears rational to him according to the appreciation and measure of his own individual judgement. He subjects God’s authority to the scrutiny of his reason, and not his reason to God’s authority. He accepts revelation not on account of the infallible revealer, but because of the “infallible” receiver.’
Dom. Felix Sarda y Salvany is also acerbic in his condemnation of the ‘Catholics’ of the other extreme, the catholic calvinists, the Jansenists. Although jansenism was declared a heresy over 200 years ago it continued to exercise it’s baleful influence over Catholics, especially Irish Catholics, when I was a child and the heresy appears to have been resurrected by the sedevacantistas.
‘The Church of the Parables and the True Spouse of the Suffering Saviour’ by Joseph Prachensky. S.J.
This wonderful book was written to combat the heresy that Protestants could be saved by Baptism of Desire. The idea that Catholics, both traditional and otherwise, would one day teach that idolaters, such as muslims, hindus and buddhists, could be saved by Baptism of Desire was inconceivable at the time!
‘Commonitory’ by St. Vincent of Lerins.
By the consideration of time,— for seeing that time seizes upon all things human, we also in turn ought to snatch from it something which may profit us to eternal life, especially since a certain awful expectation of the approach of the divine judgment importunately demands increased earnestness in religion, while the subtle craftiness of new heretics calls for no ordinary care and attention.
3.] But now, in the Lord’s name, I will set about the object I have in view; that is to say, to record with the fidelity of a narrator rather than the presumption of an author, the things which our forefathers have handed down to us and committed to our keeping, yet observing this rule in what I write, For that I shall by no means touch upon everything that might be said, but only upon what is necessary; nor yet in an ornate and exact style, but in simple and ordinary language, so that the most part may seem to be intimated, rather than set forth in detail. Let those cultivate elegance and exactness who are confident of their ability or are moved by a sense of duty. For me it will be enough to have provided a Commonitory (or Remembrancer) for myself, such as may aid my memory, or rather, provide against my forgetfulness: which same Commonitory however, I shall endeavor, the Lord helping me, to amend and make more complete little by little, day by day, by recalling to mind what I have learned. I mention this at the outset, that if by chance what I write should slip out of my possession and come into the hands of holy men, they may forbear to blame anything therein hastily, when they see that there is a promise that it will yet be amended and made more complete.
This blog is my personal ‘Commonitory’.
I was catechised by The Penny Catechism which had been used in one form or another to catechise English Catholics since the time of the Recusancy. I must have been catechised by the 1936 edition but I cannot find a copy of it on the internet.
A history of The Penny Catechism .
This history was written in 1998 and the author, evidently a man of his time, is dismissive of it’s format, although G.K. Chesterton called it ” a marvellous compendium of Christian wisdom”.
I think that the Penny Catechism is an ideal starting point for anyone, Catholic or otherwise, who is sincerely seeking the Truth about the Catholic faith. Needless to say, the heretical doctrines of salvation by desire, blood or invincible ignorance are not taught in the catechism.
The Maynooth Catechism 1951
The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom
I cannot praise them highly enough. The are written in a remarkably accessible style and are full of wisdom and profound insights on the teachings of the Gospels and Epistles. His love for God is apparent in every word he writes. They can be downloaded for very little on the internet. I would start with his homilies on the Gospels of St. Mathew and St. John.
A link for his homilies on the Gospel of St. John.