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1/13/2018 6:42 pm  #1


Catholicism

As something akin to a new Year's resolution I've decided to dive into learning about Catholicism this year.  I grew up protestant and am familiar with Ancient philosophy, so I am not ignorant of historical Christianity, but am looking to learn specifically about Catholic practice, art, history,  and obviously philosophy.

Does anyone have any recommendations of books or things to look into?

I am planning on attending a traditional Catholic mass (which I have never done,  it sounds like a beautiful experience), and I just finished reading G.K. Chesterton's short biography of St. Thomas Aquinas.  As for other books on my list, I have the Story of Monasticism, by Greg Peters, and a book by Rene Guenon dealing with Freemasonry and the traditional Catholic  workers guilds of the middle ages.  I'm also considering rereading Elementary Christian Metaphysics by Joseph Owens and eventually want to read some St. Bonaventure with a commentary I found.

Any other suggestions on books or art or literature or anything to immerse myself in catholicism?   

Thanks!

 

1/13/2018 7:21 pm  #2


Re: Catholicism

Chesterton's Orthodoxy is interesting. The Catechism might be worth reading. I have a book called The Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin. It's a useful apologetic book that provides a comprehensive compilation of passages from the early Church Fathers in support of the book's general premise that the Catholic Church is the one true, historical and apostolic church established by Christ in the first century.  Maybe also check out The Faith of our Fathers:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Faith_of_Our_Fathers


Since it's over a century old it's available for free on Archive.org:

https://archive.org/details/thefaithofourfat27435gut

 

1/14/2018 7:44 pm  #3


Re: Catholicism

Funny, before I declared atheism it was Catholicism I was brought up in. My parents were really seriously into the pageantry of that religion and insisted their 5 kids were exposed to all of it. My mother, in particular, I dubbed a cathaholic. The various steps of Catholic training kids were indoctrinated in was such a religious meme, which one can call it these days, of reinforcement that it's not a stretch to see how people succumb to it.

If the service was straight forward with bible-speak relevant to the community's make-up and needs I'd have given it some kudos for effort. But, it was just a guy in his service garb spouting the usual religious stuff, followed by the ridiculous ceremonial communion that was supposed to symbolize receiving the body of Christ, and then followed up by some closing sermonizing. This becomes a pageantry of ceremonial pomp and circumstance during the religious holidays. Forgive my irreverence but religions just make no sense to me. I see them as idol worship whereas the commandment "thou shalt have no other gods before me" gets totally blown out of the water by their existence. Religions are exactly that. Case in point, if you have a genuine sense of your god and truly believe you can worship it without channeling that worship through a religion or other agent, then why employ such a device? The sense of (spiritual) community it provides? Well, okay but that's a wholly secular reinforcement to something you should already have high and tight without externally propping it up with the herd instinct.

I say try to be your own spirituality for your own life and put some distance between yourself and the organized faith purveyors. If you can do that, you're genuinely one with your god. Otherwise, not so much.
 

 

1/14/2018 10:56 pm  #4


Re: Catholicism

lacktone wrote:

Funny, before I declared atheism it was Catholicism I was brought up in. My parents were really seriously into the pageantry of that religion and insisted their 5 kids were exposed to all of it. My mother, in particular, I dubbed a cathaholic. The various steps of Catholic training kids were indoctrinated in was such a religious meme, which one can call it these days, of reinforcement that it's not a stretch to see how people succumb to it.

If the service was straight forward with bible-speak relevant to the community's make-up and needs I'd have given it some kudos for effort. But, it was just a guy in his service garb spouting the usual religious stuff, followed by the ridiculous ceremonial communion that was supposed to symbolize receiving the body of Christ, and then followed up by some closing sermonizing. This becomes a pageantry of ceremonial pomp and circumstance during the religious holidays. Forgive my irreverence but religions just make no sense to me. I see them as idol worship whereas the commandment "thou shalt have no other gods before me" gets totally blown out of the water by their existence. Religions are exactly that. Case in point, if you have a genuine sense of your god and truly believe you can worship it without channeling that worship through a religion or other agent, then why employ such a device? The sense of (spiritual) community it provides? Well, okay but that's a wholly secular reinforcement to something you should already have high and tight without externally propping it up with the herd instinct.

I say try to be your own spirituality for your own life and put some distance between yourself and the organized faith purveyors. If you can do that, you're genuinely one with your god. Otherwise, not so much.
 

Lacktone,

That didn't even attempt to answer my question.  You also seem to have a lot of misunderstandings about the ritualistic aspects of religion.

RomanJoe,

Thanks, I will definitely have to read Orthodoxy by Chesterton.   His prose is really enjoyable.
 

     Thread Starter
 

1/17/2018 12:55 pm  #5


Re: Catholicism

lacktone wrote:

Forgive my irreverence but religions just make no sense to me. I see them as idol worship whereas the commandment "thou shalt have no other gods before me" gets totally blown out of the water by their existence. Religions are exactly that. Case in point, if you have a genuine sense of your god and truly believe you can worship it without channeling that worship through a religion or other agent, then why employ such a device? The sense of (spiritual) community it provides?

Catholics, at least, don't think that God is equally accessible within and without religion. The Church serves a teaching and evangelizing function.

Moreover God is Love, and some of our acquaintance with him is through loving others. Community itself isn't accidental.

 

1/17/2018 1:21 pm  #6


Re: Catholicism

I mentioned Cardinal Newman in the other thread, and he is a good place to start to understand the impulse of Catholicism. His Apologia Pro Vita Sua and The Development of Christian Doctrine are both suited to your aim. It's usually worth perusing his sermons as well. Many of his writings are available online.

If you want to become acquainted with Catholic literature, then Flannery O'Connor and Evelyn Waugh are good authors to start with. Everything by O'Connor is great; her short stories in particular are very entertaining and reasonably short, but her novels are also great. Waugh's Brideshead Revisited is popular, and there's a very good and faithful 10-episode BBC series. I think his satire is even better, though, and I'd particularly recommend A Handful of Dust and Helena.

As regards philosophy, it is worth dabbling in Anscombe. Her recently released collection of papers Faith in a Hard Ground would be suitable to your end.

Pope John Paul II's Veritatis splendor is a good summary and restatement of the Church's moral theology.

The Latin Mass is indeed beautiful. I found it helpful to go to a low Mass on a weekday. Large parts of the Latin Mass are said silently, and the congregation is not meant to hear them. But even the parts that are said audibly can be hard to hear in a larger Church, especially if you are not sitting up front. That can make it harder to follow along in a Missal, if you're not familiar with what's going on.

Churches which offer the Latin Mass almost inevitably lay out Missal booklets with the ordinary prayers of the Mass, but it's best if you can get your hands on a full 1962 Daily Missal, as that will contain the commons and the propers for the day. Some Churches lay those out as well.

On the other hand, it's hard to get used to using a Missal anyway, and perhaps you just want to find a high Mass, as that is certainly the most beautiful.

 

1/17/2018 3:40 pm  #7


Re: Catholicism

Brian wrote:

As something akin to a new Year's resolution I've decided to dive into learning about Catholicism this year. I grew up protestant and am familiar with Ancient philosophy, so I am not ignorant of historical Christianity, but am looking to learn specifically about Catholic practice, art, history, and obviously philosophy.

Does anyone have any recommendations of books or things to look into?

I am planning on attending a traditional Catholic mass (which I have never done, it sounds like a beautiful experience), and I just finished reading G.K. Chesterton's short biography of St. Thomas Aquinas. As for other books on my list, I have the Story of Monasticism, by Greg Peters, and a book by Rene Guenon dealing with Freemasonry and the traditional Catholic workers guilds of the middle ages. I'm also considering rereading Elementary Christian Metaphysics by Joseph Owens and eventually want to read some St. Bonaventure with a commentary I found.

Any other suggestions on books or art or literature or anything to immerse myself in catholicism?

Thanks!

I am not a Catholic but do have quite a fondness for Catholic literature. From a literary and historic perspective I would recommend Joseph Pearce Literary Converts (it gives an interesting overview of conversion and the arts). Pearce is also responsible for a number of entertaining biographies of various British Catholic figures like Belloc and Tolkien.

Speaking of Belloc you might enjoy his Great Heresies and Europe and the Faith. His apologetic stuff is dated but still enjoyable to read, far more so I find than Chesterton. Finally I would recommend Robert Baldick's bio of J.K. Huysmans for a study of spiritual extremes (Schopenhauerian pessimism, spiritualism and potential Satanism and thence Catholic monasticism).
 

 

1/17/2018 4:48 pm  #8


Re: Catholicism

Hi Brian,

Since you are interested in Catholic philosophy read stuff made Catholic religious orders say the Dominicans or Franciscans (Check out the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology). Some good examples are Fr. Michael Dodds, Fr. Thomas Joseph White, Fr. Thomas Weinandy. Of course, you can always go back and read some classical thinkers like Bl. Duns Scotus or St. Anselm. 

 

 

1/17/2018 5:52 pm  #9


Re: Catholicism

DanielCC wrote:

Pearce is also responsible for a number of entertaining biographies of various British Catholic figures like Belloc and Tolkien.

Speaking of whom, certainly go ahead and read Lord of the Rings if you haven't already.

 

Yesterday 12:27 pm  #10


Re: Catholicism

Greg wrote:

I mentioned Cardinal Newman in the other thread, and he is a good place to start to understand the impulse of Catholicism. His Apologia Pro Vita Sua and The Development of Christian Doctrine are both suited to your aim. It's usually worth perusing his sermons as well. Many of his writings are available online.

If you want to become acquainted with Catholic literature, then Flannery O'Connor and Evelyn Waugh are good authors to start with. Everything by O'Connor is great; her short stories in particular are very entertaining and reasonably short, but her novels are also great. Waugh's Brideshead Revisited is popular, and there's a very good and faithful 10-episode BBC series. I think his satire is even better, though, and I'd particularly recommend A Handful of Dust and Helena.

As regards philosophy, it is worth dabbling in Anscombe. Her recently released collection of papers Faith in a Hard Ground would be suitable to your end.

Pope John Paul II's Veritatis splendor is a good summary and restatement of the Church's moral theology.

The Latin Mass is indeed beautiful. I found it helpful to go to a low Mass on a weekday. Large parts of the Latin Mass are said silently, and the congregation is not meant to hear them. But even the parts that are said audibly can be hard to hear in a larger Church, especially if you are not sitting up front. That can make it harder to follow along in a Missal, if you're not familiar with what's going on.

Churches which offer the Latin Mass almost inevitably lay out Missal booklets with the ordinary prayers of the Mass, but it's best if you can get your hands on a full 1962 Daily Missal, as that will contain the commons and the propers for the day. Some Churches lay those out as well.

On the other hand, it's hard to get used to using a Missal anyway, and perhaps you just want to find a high Mass, as that is certainly the most beautiful.

 
Greg,

Thanks for all the recommendations.   I already love O'Connor, but I am unfamiliar with Waugh.   I'll have to check out the BBC series for sure.  The Veritatis Splendor and Apologia Pro Vita Sua both sound excellent though.

Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is a low mass?  Is that the post Vatican-II mass In the local language?   I live in rural Wyoming and the only Catholic church that offers Latin mass is like 2 hours away, and they exclusively offer the traditional mass. 

I have read Tolkien, but it was many years ago.  Although honestly, I think if I'm going to take on a book that large I will probably attempt Dante's Divine Comedy.


DanielCC wrote:

I am not a Catholic but do have quite a fondness for Catholic literature. From a literary and historic perspective I would recommend Joseph Pearce Literary Converts (it gives an interesting overview of conversion and the arts). Pearce is also responsible for a number of entertaining biographies of various British Catholic figures like Belloc and Tolkien.

Speaking of Belloc you might enjoy his Great Heresies and Europe and the Faith. His apologetic stuff is dated but still enjoyable to read, far more so I find than Chesterton. Finally I would recommend Robert Baldick's bio of J.K. Huysmans for a study of spiritual extremes (Schopenhauerian pessimism, spiritualism and potential Satanism and thence Catholic monasticism).

Daniel,
I have never heard of Baldick or Huysman, but that biography sounds quite exciting!  Belloc and Pearce are both names I encounter somewhat frequently, but people whom I know nothing about.  Great Heresies sounds fascinating.  I'll have to do some more research.

MysteriousBrony wrote:

Since you are interested in Catholic philosophy read stuff made Catholic religious orders say the Dominicans or Franciscans (Check out the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology). Some good examples are Fr. Michael Dodds, Fr. Thomas Joseph White, Fr. Thomas Weinandy. Of course, you can always go back and read some classical thinkers like Bl. Duns Scotus or St. Anselm.

MB,
Any particular works by those authors stand out?


Thanks for all the responses everybody!

     Thread Starter
 

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