Catholic Culture Podcasts
Catholic Culture Podcasts

Free or Low-Cost Books to Jump-Start Catholic Friends and Family

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | May 11, 2010

The Dynamic Catholic Institute was founded by writer Matthew Kelly to do its part in the rejuvenation of Catholicism in the English-speaking world. Eight years ago Kelly published his book Rediscovering Catholicism, and it is the mission of the Institute to place a copy of this book in the hands of every Catholic in the United States. Recently the Institute sent me four copies so I could see about letting users know about it.

I’ve reviewed the book. It is a basic presentation of the value, riches and beauty of Catholicism—all about why taking the Faith seriously should matter. After introducing the life-changing nature of Christ’s mission and that of His Church, the book focuses in particular on Kelly’s “Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality”: Reconciliation, Contemplation, The Mass, the Bible, Fasting, Spiritual Reading and the Rosary. Rediscovering Catholicism is not for those who are already deeply committed and deeply knowledgeable; it is a deliberately breezy treatment designed primarily to get the lukewarm or indifferent excited about being Catholic, or perhaps those who, while not exactly lukewarm, are engaged in only a sort of secularized social Catholicism because they have been badly formed.

The book is available in single copies for the cost of shipping and handling ($5.95), and at $2.00 per copy for bulk distribution (with free shipping): Rediscovering Catholicism. It is well worth considering, but be warned: Though it is an easy read, it is over 300 pages long, so you have to ask yourself whether your intended recipients will actually read it.

For those with shorter attention spans, Catholic Answers’ Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth, developed originally for distribution at World Youth Days, is a 32-page booklet which provides a more succinct and classically-apologetical introduction to Catholicism. It’s available for $1.00 plus shipping, or in bulk for as little as 50 cents. Either text could be just the thing to jump-start the nascent Catholics you hold dear.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: shenanigans03650 - May. 14, 2010 11:22 PM ET USA

    I keep "Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth" on hand in some quantity for anyone who shows the least interest. I've also assured the Jehovah's Witnesses (& others who go door to door) that I would read their "Watchtower" if they would read my book. I have come to learn they're not supposed to accept anything from those they solicit, but I've found a few takers. You never know if that's just what someone needed at that moment. GB.

  • Posted by: paul.goodell1892 - May. 11, 2010 8:10 PM ET USA

    I've read the book. It's excellent (though certainly breezy and intended for the less-than-committed Catholic). It also opens with one of the better "grab your attention" intros I've read, which may lessen fears of it going unread. I know I was skeptical about the book (which I received at a conference on Eucharistic Adoration), but didn't want to put it down after the introduction.