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This list of recommended reading is

based on two much more ambitious

projects by Fr John Hardon SJ and

Fr John McCloskey. Google


Lifetime Reading Plan’

for more

information – but don’t spend too much

time online. Better to get lost in a

good book!


1. ‘

The Lord’

Romano Guardini

Before Pope Benedict wrote Jesus of

Nazareth, there was Guardini’s The Lord,

translated into English in 1954. In the

words of the Pope Emeritus: ‘The Lord

has not grown old, precisely because it

still leads us to that which is essential,

to that which is truly real: Jesus Christ

Himself. That is why today this book still

has a great mission.’

2. ‘

Essay on the Development of

Christian Doctrine’

Bl John Henry Newman

A giant in his own lifetime, Cardinal

Newman’s influence has only increased

since his death. He could well be the first

English-speaking Doctor of the Church.

His so-called Essay on Development

(a book, not an essay!) is perhaps

Newman’s most original and enduring

theological contribution.

When I was young, I would finish a glass

of wine even when it was vinegar, and I

would persevere with a book even when

it was awful. Then I turned 30, which can

be an occasion for epiphany. In my case,

I resolved that life is too short to drink

bad wine and read bad books.

With that truism in mind, I present

this humble Catholic reading plan. Its

biases are glaring – most of the featured

authors lived in the past 100 years, and

many have an Australian connection.

At 15 titles, my list in no way pretends

to represent the scope of Catholic

thought. But still it can serve a noble

purpose: adapt its contents to

your own,


reading plan. Intentional

reading is the surest way to read the best

and avoid the rest.

Fr John Corrigan