The Anglo-Catholic Bookshelf

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Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means old books

-C.S. Lewis “On the Reading of Old Books”

Some of the best advise I have ever been given has come in the form of two words: read this. Time and again I have had mentors, friends and spiritual directors recommend books that have had a profound influence on my life and on my faith. The list that I present below is by no means exhaustive, but represents some of the most treasured and well worn volumes on my bookshelf. Some of these books would be appropriate for anyone wishing to have a deeper understanding of the faith (e.g., “The Catholic Religion” by Vernon Staley); some are very specifically resources for priests and liturgy nerds (e.g., “Ritual Notes”); and some are just plain fun (e.g., “The Towers of Trebizond” by Rose Macaulay).

Some of these books are recommendations from colleagues of mine in the Society of Catholic Priests. As I attended our conference this year in Atlanta, I was reminded that one of the greatest things we as priests have to share with each other (and hopefully with the rest of the world as well) is wisdom. So here is a list of books that an Anglican in the Catholic tradition may wish to have on their bookshelf.

Not all of these books are about Anglo-Catholicism per se, but are about the Catholic Faith in general. Most are old, but some are new. I intend to update this list from time to time as I discover or am referred to new resources. 

General Religion/Faith/Anglo-Catholicism 

  • The Catholic Religion: A Manual of Instruction for Members of the Anglican Church by Vernon Staley
  • The King’s Highway by G.D. Carleton
  • Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
  • Heresy by G.K. Chesterton
  • The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton
  • Heresy by Alister McGrath
  • Paths in Spirituality by John Macquarrie
  • The Gospel and the Catholic Church by Michael Ramsey
  • Dogmatics in Outline by Karl Barth
  • Why Sacraments? by Andrew Davison
  • He who is: a study in traditional theism by E.L. Mascall
  • Existence and Analogy by E.L. Mascall
  • Priesthood and Prayer by Bede Frost
  • The Return of Christendom by Maurice Reckitt et al.
  • Reconciliation: Preparing for confession in the Episcopal Church by Martin Smith
  • Soul Friend by Kenneth Leech
  • Saving Belief by Austin Farrer
  • We Preach Christ Crucified by Kenneth Leech
  • The Christian Priest Today by Michael Ramsey
  • The Rule of Saint Benedict by Joan Chittester
  • The Divine Milieu by Pierre Teillard de Chardin
  • Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton
  • Foundations by Karl Rahner
  • The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity by Richard Hooker
  • Prices Private by Lancelot Andrews
  • Anglo-Catholic in Religion: T.S. Elliot and Christianity by Barry Spurr
  • Tokens of Trust by Rowan Williams
  • The Love of Learning and the Desire for God by Jean Leclercq
  • Corpus Christi by E.L. Mascall
  • Signs of Life (40 Catholic Customs and their Biblical Roots) by Scott Hahn

Books about Anglo-Catholic History

  • Walsingham Way by Colin Stephenson
  • Anglo-Catholicism by Sheila Kaye-Smith
  • The Vision Glorious by Geoffrey Rowell
  • The Ecclesiastical History of the English People by Bede

Books about liturgy, or prayer books

  • The Parson’s Handbook by Percy Dearmer
  • The Mass of the Roman Rite by Joseph A. Jungmann, S.J.
  • Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book by David Cobb and Derek Olsen
  • The Ritual Reason Why by Charles Walker and Thomas Ball
  • Ritual Notes by E.C.R. Lamburn
  • The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described by Adrian Fortescue
  • The Anglican Missal

Books mostly for fun

  • The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macaulay
  • Merrily on High by Colin Stephenson
  • Absolute Truths by Susan Howatch
  • At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  • A Glass of Blessings by Barbara Pym