New to Tradition? A reading list for newcomers

Rev. Reid Hennick SSPX

Traditional Catholicism can be overwhelming upon arrival, and one cannot hope to make sense of it without a little context. The contemporary crisis in the Catholic Church is this context, and the entire apostolate of the Society of St Pius X is predicated on it.

But how do we go about explaining the details to the newcomer? This is a major difficulty. Traditionalism is not mathematics. We cannot take basic axioms and walk our audience to incontrovertible conclusions. Teaching in this manner does not work in religion. The newcomer needs elucidation instead of deduction, and “he needs it from someone who is prepared to examine his personal needs”.Dom Eugene Boylon, This Tremendous Lover (Newman Press, 1947). Yet such personalised guidance is not easy to come by. Accordingly, as St Teresa of Avila wisely advised her nuns, if the newcomer cannot find someone to answer his questions, he should seek out a book for this purpose.Antonio Royo Marín, The Theology of Christian Perfection (Priory Press, 1962).

Where to begin? A generic list of recommended reading, by itself, cannot choose the right book for the right person at the right time (although it is better than nothing). Nonetheless, to help newcomers get their best start, below are some very good works that explain the crisis in the Catholic Church and, as a result, traditional Catholicism. Under each heading, the works are listed in order of difficulty, beginning from the most accessible. NB: It is not obligatory to read everything!

Traditional Doctrine

  • A Brief Catechism for Adults by Fr. William J. Cogan,
  • My Catholic Faith by Bp. Louis Laravoire Morrow,
  • The Catechism of the Council of Trent
  • The Popes against Modern Errors: 16 Papal Documents
  • Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott

Overview of the Crisis

  • Open Letter to Confused Catholics by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre
  • Jr., The Great Façade by Christopher A. Ferrara & Thomas E. Woods
  • The Catechism of the Crisis by Fr. Matthias Gaudron
  • One Hundred Years of Modernism by Fr. Dominic Bourmaud

The Second Vatican Council and its Teachings

  • The Inside Story of Vatican II by Fr. Ralph M. Wiltgen
  • From Ecumenism to Silent Apostasy by the Society of Saint Pius X
  • They Have Uncrowned Him by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre
  • The Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty by Michael Davies
  • Pope John’s Council by Michael Davies
  • The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story by Roberto de Mattei
  • Vatican II Council: A Much Needed Discussion by Msgr. Brunero Gherardini
  • Iota Unum by Romano Amerio The New Mass
  • The Mass of All Time by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre
  • The Catholic Sanctuary and the Second Vatican Council by Michael Davies
  • A Brief Critical Study of the New Order of Mass by Cds. Alfredo Ottaviani & Antonio Bacci and a group of Roman theologians
  • Liturgical Time Bombs in Vatican II by Michael Davies
  •  Cranmer’s Godly Order by Michael Davies
  • Pope Paul’s New Mass by Michael Davies
  • The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background by Msgr. Klaus Gamber
  • Abp. Marcel Lefebvre & The Society of St Pius X by Michael Davies
  • Most Asked Questions about the Society of Saint Pius X by Angelus Press
  • A Bishop Speaks by Abp Marcel Lefebvre
  • The Rest of the Story by Bp. Tissier de Mallerais
  • Marcel Lefebvre: The Biography by Bp. Tissier de Mallerais
  • 'A study of the 1988 Episcopal Consecrations' in Si Si No No (July & September issues, 1999) issues of SiSiNoNo

Obedience in the Crisis

  • True Obedience in the Church: A Guide to Discernment in Challenging Times by Peter Kwasniewski
  • Love for the Papacy & Filial Resistance to the Pope by Roberto de Mattei
  • Sedevacantism: A False Solution to a Real Problem by the Priests of the Italian District of the Society of Saint Pius X

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