The WM Review Reading List

Here are all of the suggested titles from the Learning Sacred Theology series in one place. This list may be updated from time to time.

The series itself has a more detailed commentary of each stage, how to use this list, and how to avoid potential pitfalls – please do refer to it.

Image: interior of the Oxford Union Library. Source: WikiCommons.

Preliminary Links:

Part I: Preliminaries, Catechism, Latin, Philosophy and the Magisterium
Part II: Ecclesiology, Apologetics and Dogmatic Theology.
Part III: Holy Scripture, Moral Theology, History, Patristics and Canon Law

Theology Manuals – Why are they so important in the post-conciliar crisis?
What are the duties of laymen in studying and spreading the Faith? – Pope Leo XIII
Should converts set themselves up as teachers? Newman’s answer
Theology and History – Part II: Why understanding this relationship is crucial for avoiding shipwreck
Theology and the Interior Life – How do they help each other? Fr R. Garrigou-Lagrange, 1943

Part I: Preliminaries, Catechism, Latin, Philosophy and the Magisterium

Holy Scripture

Liturgy, Psalms and Office Books

  • Guéranger – The Liturgical Year, 15 vols. See here for UK readers – although you may need to just order from the US link. A great edition was from St Bonaventure Press, (check here for availability) but this is currently out of print. It is still available from Loreto Publications in hardback and paperback editions. Available on the iPieta app and currently being posted daily online.

  • Roman Breviary (and for UK readers), Latin and English (1962) Baronius Press.

  • My Daily Psalm Book (and for UK readers). Features all of the psalms arranged in the order of the St Pius X Breviary – albeit as a translation from the Cardinal Bea “Pian” Psalter. Nonetheless, a small and handy book and controversies here need not get in the way of laymen at this stage.

  • Monastic Diurnal (and for UK readers), Latin and English, dated 1963, 8th Edition published in 2020. It is according to the pre-St Pius X monastic psalter ordering. Warning: avoid the oversized 7th Edition!

  • Divinum Officium Project, Latin and English.

  • Our own Old Testament Rosary, which is predominantly excerpts from the Psalms allotted for each relevant mystery of the Rosary foretold.

  • St Robert Bellarmine – Commentary on the Book of Psalms (and for UK readers)

St Thomas Aquinas

The Catechism

Tradivox I – Three shorter catechisms. (UK readers)

  • Bishop Edmund Bonner – An Honest Godley Instruction. A foundational text written by a bishop who repented under Queen Mary, returned to the Catholic Church and died a confessor under Elizabeth I (1556)

  • Fr Laurence Vaux – A Catechisme of Christian Doctrine (1567)

  • Fr Diego de Ledesma – The Christian Doctrine (1573)

Tradivox II – Three seventeenth-century catechisms. (UK readers)

  • St Robert Bellarmine SJ – A Shorte Catechisme. This consists mostly of restored woodcuts. (1614)

  • Fr Henry Turberville – The Douay Catechism, or An Abridgement of the Christian Doctrine. Very polemically ordered towards catechising Catholics against Protestantism, with many Scripture references and details on the Mass. (1649)

  • Fr Thomas Vincent Sadler – The Childes Catechism. Written for parents. (1678)

Tradivox III – three texts by Bishop Richard Challoner, reviser of the Douay-Rheims Bible and Vicar Apostolic of London during a period of oppressive penal laws. (UK readers)

  • An Abridgement of Christian Doctrine. A synopsis of the Douay Catechism. (1759)

  • The Catholic Christian Instructed. A longer, very annotated work with a lot of focus on worship and the sacraments. (1737)

  • The Grounds of Catholick Doctrine. A simple Q&A catechism based on the Tridentine Profession of Faith (1752)

Tradivox IV: Three significant Irish catechisms, comparable to the Penny or Baltimore Catechisms (UK readers)

  • The Most Rev. Dr James Butler’s Catechism. Approved for national use by all of the Irish bishops, serving Irish Catholics for 150 years at home and in Canada and the USA. (1775)

  • The Catechism Ordered by the National Synod of Maynooth. (1884)

  • The Shorter Catechism Extracted [from the above]. (1891)

Tradivox V: Two by Irish priests in the 1700s. (UK readers)

  • Fr Andrew Donlevy – The Catechism, or Christian Doctrine, By Way of Question and Answer. The oldest major Irish catechetical manuscript. (1742)

  • Fr Thomas Burke OP – A Catechism Moral and Controversial. Written for more advanced audiences, with practical and apologetic notes. (1752)

Tradivox VI: Aquinas, Pecham, and Pagula (UK readers).

  • St Thomas Aquinas – The Catechetical Instructions. An arrangement of other Opuscula in catechetical form. (ca. 1260)

  • Archbishop John Pecham (of Canterbury) – Ignorantia Sacerdotum. Product of the Council of Lambeth. (1281)

  • Quinque Verba – pocket manual to “remedy the ignorance of simple priests.” (1300)

  • William of Pagula – Oculus Sacerdotis – a chapter, frequently excerpted and circulated at the time, from Pagula’s large guide for priests. (1320)

Tradivox VII: The Catechism of the Council of Trent (UK readers)

Tradivox VIII: Pope St Pius X and Frassinetti (UK readers)

Tradivox IX: St Peter Canisius (UK readers)

Tradivox X: Gaume (UK readers) – Jan 2023

Other texts have not been confirmed, but the following are mentioned on the website. They may be intended for publication, or just for the online database.

  • Doulye – A Brief Instruction. (1604)

  • Perry – A Full Course of Instructions for the Use of Catechists.(1847)

  • Fr F.X. Weninger SJ – Manual of the Catholic Doctrine (1867)

  • Baltimore Catechism (1891)

  • Thomas J. O’Brien – An Advanced Catechism of Catholic Faith and Practice (1902)

  • Deharbe’s Large Catechism (1921)

  • Bishop Hay – Abridgement of Christian Doctrine (1800)

Some basic catechisms




Philosophy: Natural Theology

Philosophy: some higher-level texts

For some context on the “analytic philosophy” with which these writers are engaging, one could look at something like this:

Magisterial Texts

Magisterial texts: on philosophical and theological method

  • Leo XIII – Aeterni Patris. On the importance of the philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas in the study of theology.

  • Pius X – Pascendi Dominici Gregis. Systematising and condemning the errors of modernism.

  • Pius XII – Humani Generis. On the “new theology,” including many important observations on ecclesiology.

Magisterial texts: on ecclesiology

  • Dei Filius. On Faith.

  • Pastor Aeternus. On the Roman Pontiff.

  • Leo XIII – Satis Cognitum. On the unity of the Church.

  • Pius XI – Mortalium Animos. On the unicity of the Church.

  • Pius XII – Mystici Corporis Christi. On the Church, particularly as the mystical body of Christ.

The WM Review is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Part II: Dogmatic Theology, Apologetics and Ecclesiology

Overviews of Dogmatic Theology

Other Overviews

  • Garrigou-Lagrange – Reality. An excellent work for understanding how the Thomistic synthesis interacts with the whole of revealed doctrine – but while it is certainly very worth having and reading, at least one text from the above list should be mastered too. This book is soon to be republished by Baronius Press

  • Sacrae Theologia Summa (Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos Series – 8 vols.) Keep the Faith Publications. This series has much to commend it, and various volumes are mentioned below. However, while it may suit certain readers, it is more advanced than an accessible 2- or 3-volume overview necessary for this stage. For the sake of completeness, however, are the texts:

    • Vol. IA: Introduction to Theology, and On Christian Revelation

    • Vol. IB: On the Church of Christ, and On Holy Scripture

    • Vol. IIA: On the One and Triune God

    • Vol. IIB: On God, the Creator and Sanctifier, and On Sins

    • Vol. IIIA: On the Incarnate Word, and On the Blessed Virgin Mary

    • Vol. IIIB: On Grace, and On the Infused Virtues

    • Vol. IVA: On the Sacraments in General and On Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance and Anointing

    • Vol. IVB: On Holy Orders and Matrimony, and On the Last Things

Fundamental Theology: Introduction to theology (methodology)

Fundamental Theology: Systematic Apologetics (i.e. not just answers to Protestant questions)

Share The WM Review

Fundamental Theology: Ecclesiology

Ecclesiology: The Roman Pontiff

Ecclesiology: Fathers and Doctors of the Church

There are more texts from the Fathers and Doctors below – these are just some with particular interest for ecclesiology.

The Magisterium

It is important to realise that there are a lot of debates around the terminology and nature of the magisterium. It is not correct to treat this topic as if it was fully established prior to Vatican II. This is a complex area and requires care.

Ecclesiology: Spiritual works

Fundamental Theology: Sources of Revelation

Part III: Scripture, Moral Theology, History, Fathers, and Canon Law

Introductions to Holy Scripture

Commentaries on Holy Scripture

St Thomas Aquinas’s scriptural commentaries are being published by the Aquinas Institute in English and Latin. Here are some of the options below – they are online here, and it is possible to buy single volumes of the commentaries below:

Moral Theology

The WM Review is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Extra Moral Theology texts

Spiritual Theology

Church History

Darras – General History of The Catholic Church From The Commencement Of The Christian Era Until The Present Time, 4 vols. Online at Internet Archive, and available here:

Parsons – Studies in Church History. 6 vols. Online at Internet Archive.

Mourret-Thompson – A History of the Catholic Church. 8 vols. Online at Internet Archive. It is difficult to find, especially for UK readers.

  • Vol. I – Period of Early Expansion

  • Vol. II – Period of the Church Fathers

  • Vol. III – Period of the Early Middle Ages

  • Vol. IV – Period of the Later Middle Ages

  • Vol. V – Period of the Renaissance and Reformation

  • Vol. VI – Period of the Ancient Regime

  • Vol. VII – Period of the French Revolution (and for UK readers)

  • Vol. VIII – Period of the Early Nineteenth Century (1823-1878)

Poulet – A History of the Catholic Church (2 vols.) Online at Internet Archive and:

  • Vol. I – The Ancient Church, The Middle Ages, The Beginnings of the Modern Period (and for UK readers)

  • Vol. II – The Modern Period, Contemporary Church History (and for UK readers)

Share The WM Review

Some more particular works of interest could include:


A great starting point for various points of Catholic doctrine is:

The Faith of Catholics, by Berington, Kirk and Waterworth. Three-vol. collection of patristic texts on various subjects. Vol. I and the start of Vol. II deal particularly with the Church and the Papacy. Available here: 

For some examples of complete texts, particularly those dealing with the Church:

St Augustine. Most of his works are available online at New Advent. One could consult in particular:

Other Fathers:

  • St Cyprian – On the Unity of the Church (and for UK readers). Available in The Lapsed / The Unity of the Catholic Church, (Ancient Christian Writers series) trans. by Maurice Bevenot and published by Paulist Press, or online (NB: this online version is a transcription of an old translation, and we are not clear of the provenance of the website itself.)

  • St Vincent of Lerins – Commonitorium Against Heresies (and for UK readers). Published by Tradibooks, and online at New Advent.

For some other interesting texts, which are more or less relevant to our current problems:


In addition to St Thomas’s own works, let’s mention again:

Canon Law

Augustine – Commentary on Canon Law (8 volumes) Internet Archive.


Appendix – Other Subjects

Social Doctrine

Some recent papal documents on Catholic social doctrine:

And some more systematic texts:

And more popular treatments of relevant issues:

Refer a friend

Miscellaneous Reading Lists

Preparation for Tyranny

1. Joseph Pearce – Solzhenitsyn, A Soul in Exile (and for UK readers). I recommend reading this over reading the three volumes by Solzehnitsyn. The full text from Solzhenitsyn is very long and contain a lot of detail, much of which will not interest our readers, and some of which is very disturbing and unsettling. Pearce’s biography contains nearly all of the information from the three volumes about the moral and spiritual lessons learned in the Gulag. It is a great read, and more than sufficient.

2. Fr Walter Ciszek SJ – He Leadeth Me (and for UK readers). The inspiring account of an American Jesuit in Russia, brought into the Gulag machine. Fr Ciszek teaches us what not to do in these situations – namely trying to rely on ourselves or our own strength.

3. Fr Jean Pierre de Caussade SJ – Abandonment to Divine Providence (and for UK readers). This is a classic text dealing with the principles of abandonment and trust, rather than the details of living under tyranny.

4. St Thomas More – A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation (and for UK readers). This was written while St Thomas More was in prison in the Tower of London and is a completely comprehensive answer to all of your fears.

5. William Shakespeare – Hamlet (and for UK readers). Many readers may have bad school memories of Shakespeare in general, and perhaps Hamlet in particular. But the depth of insight into these matters in this play is astounding, especially for times like ours. This is not surprising when we recall the oppressive and tyrannical regimes of his time. If you struggled with it at school, you might be surprised if you return to it as an adult. Bear in mind, however, that Shakespeare is supposed to be performed, rather than read.