Church and Ecclesiology

This is a an index of links to texts and ebooks concerning the one true and Catholic Church of our divine Lord Jesus Christ, including writings on (I) the Church in general, (II) her mandate, (III) history, and (IV-VII) organs, (VIII) her relation to society, and her contemporary (IX) policies and (X) problems.


I. The Church, i
n General

  1. A Christian Apology: Volume 3, The Church, by Paul Schanz, translated by Michael F. Glancey and Victor J. Schobel (Ratisbon, Rome, New York, Cincinnati: Frederick Pustet & Co., 1891). Available in various formats at Open Library and Internet Archive.
  2. The Catholic Church and Conversion, by G.K. Chesterton. Available on K. Chesterton’s Works on the Web. Conversion.
  3. The Catholic Church and the Gospels, by Charles G. Mortimer (Dublin: Catholic Truth Society of Ireland). Available at Lux Occulta.
  4. Christ’s Kingdom on Earth: or, the Church and Her Divine Constitution, Organization, and Framework, Explained for the People, by James Luke Meagher, 1848-1920 (New York : Christian Press Association, 1891). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive.
  5. The Church; or, What do Anglicans Mean by the Church? Second edition, by John B. Bagshawe (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1899). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Internet Archive.
  6. Dominus Iesus: Declaration on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved by Pope St. John Paul II June 16, 2000, issued  August 6, 2000. May be downloaded in PDF format from Catholic Primer Library and read online at the Holy See. [NB, This is one of the most important doctrinal texts issued by the Holy See in contemporary times. It should be read together with Answers to Main Objections Against Dominus Iesus, the text of then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, published 22 September 2000, which may be read online at EWTN Library.]
  7. Draft of a Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, by the Preparatory Theological Commission for the Second Vatican Council, translated by Fr. Joseph A. Komonchak (2012). Available as a single pdf file (on this page) at In Verbo Veritatis. The individual chapters are also available in pdf format: Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10, and Chapter 11.
  8. The Essentials of Spiritual Unity, by Ronald Knox. Available at Catholic Answers (last visited December 8, 2009).
  9. Ecclesiam Suam: Encyclical on the Church, by Pope Paul VI, August 6, 1964. Available at the Holy See.
  10. The Externals of the Catholic Church: Her Government, Ceremonies, Festivals, Sacramentals, and Devotions, by Rev. John Francis Sullivan (New York : P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1917). With Imprimatur. May be read online or downloaded in multiple formats at Internet Archive and Open Library
  11. The Externals of the Catholic Church: Her Government, Ceremonies, Festivals, Sacramentals, and Devotions, 2d ed. rev. to conform to the new code of canon law, by Rev. John F. Sullivan (New York: P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1918). With Imprimatur. May be read online or downloaded in multiple formats at Open Library.
  12. The Holy Spirit and The Church, by William G. Most. Available at EWTN Library (Copyright, 1994, by Wm. G. Most).
  13. In Love with the Church, by St. Josemaria Escriva. May be read online at Josemaria Escriva (copyright Studium Foundation, rights reserved).
  14. In Soft Garments: A Collection of Oxford Conferences, by Ronald A. Knox (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1953). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive. Includes the essays “If God exists”, “The Living Witness”, “The Unholiness of the Church”, “Verbum baro factum est”, “The Church and Human Progress”, and “Unselfishness in Marriage”.
  15. Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, May 28, 1992. May be read online at the Holy See, atEWTN Library, and at Catholic Information Network.
  16. [Letter to William Palmer, 4th] Fourth letter to the Rev. William Palmer, M.A., of Worcester College, Oxford: on the way to find the true church of Christ on earth, on satisfaction, on indulgences, on the supremacy of the See of Rome, infallibility, Eucharist, etc., etc., by Verax, a Catholic layman (London: T. Jones, 1842). Internet Archive and Open Library.
  17. Mysterium Ecclesiae: Declaration in Defense of the Catholic Doctrine on the Church Against Certain Errors of the Present Day, by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 24, 1973. May be read online at Michael’s Cyberspace Scriptorium and Library and the Holy See.
  18. On the Unity of the Church, by St. Cyprian of Carthage. Available at New Advent.
  19. Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth, by Karl Keating, Catholic Answers. (Copyright 1993 Catholic Answers, Inc). Available on the EWTN Library, which states: “This text file may be uploaded to and downloaded from computer bulletin board systems provided the text is in no way altered and the above copyright notice and address of Catholic Answers are included.”).
  20. Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 29, 2007. May be read online at the Holy See and at Catholic Eternal Truth.
  21. The Spirit of Catholicism, by Karl Adam, translated by Dom Justin McCann, O.S.B. The printed book be purchased on this page of the Catholic Answers Shop (Catholic Answers Press), on this page of St. George Books & Giftson this page of Ignatius Press (2016), on this page of the Ave Maria University Store (Angelico Press); and at Amazon.com (Kessinger Publishing, 2010), Amazon.com (Angelico Press, 2012), Barnes & Noble (CreateSpace Publishing, 2016), and Amazon.com (Image, 1960). The ebook may be purchased at Amazon.com (Papamoa Press 2017) and Amazon.fr (Papamoa Press, 2017), and Barnes & Noble.
  22. A Treatise on the Church, by Heinrich Klee, translated by Edward Cox (London: T. Jones, 1847). Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  23. The Visible Church, Her Government, Ceremonies, Sacramentals, Festivals and Devotions, a Compendium of “The Externals of the Catholic Church”, 5th ed., rev., by John F. Sullivan; with 120 illustrations from pen drawings by the author. (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1922). Available at Open Library. (copyright status uncertain).
  24. What is the Catholic Church?, (Booklet) by Fr Stephen Wang. May be downloaded in PDF format through the Catholic Truth Society, which states that it provides “An introduction to the world’s oldest institution founded by Jesus Christ”.
  25. Which is the True Church?: or, a Few Plain Reasons for Joining the Roman Catholic Communion, by C.F.B. Allnatt (Edinburgh: Ballantyne Press, 1881). Available at Internet Archive. and Open Library.


II. The Mandate of the Church

A. The Great Commission

See also the page Evangelization and Missions.

  1. “The Crisis of Faith and the Theology of Mission: A Reflection on Redemptoris Missio”, by Timothy T. O’Donnell, S.T.D. (April 29, 1992). From the Spring 1992 issue of Faith & Reason; found in L’Osservatore Romano, Jan. 28, 1991 and in Origins, Jan. 31, 1991, Vol. 20, No. 34, pp. 541-568. May be read online at EWTN Library.]
  2. “Culture in the Magisterium of Pope John Paul II: Evangelization through Dialogue and the Renewal of Society”, by R. Jared Staudt, Claritas: Journal of Dialogue and Culture, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 52-65 (March 2014). Available in PDF format (through this page) at Claritas: Journal of Dialogue and Culture.
  3. Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization, by the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2012). Available in PDF format (on this page) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  4. Encyclical “Evangelii Praecones” on Promotion of Catholic Missions, by the Venerable Servant of God Pope Pius XII, June 2, 1951. May be read online on this page of Catholic Cultureon this page of the EWTN Library; and at the Holy See.
  5. Encyclical Letter “Redemptoris Missio” on the Permanent Validity of the Church’s Missionary Mandate, by Pope St. John Paul II (7 December 1990). May be read online through this page at EWTN Library; at the Holy See; at IntraTextAvailable in PDF format through this page of The Catholic Society.
  6. Exhortación Apostólica “Evangelii Nuntiandi” acerca de la Evangelización en el Mundo Contemporáneo, por el Papa Pablo VI (8 de Diciembre 1975). Disponible en La Santa Sede y Congregacion para el Clero. Con resumen en Catholic.net.
  7. Foi et inculturation, par la Commission Theologique Internationale (1988). “Approuvé in forma specifica lors de la session plénière d’octobre 1988 et rendu public avec le placet de S. Ém. le cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, président de la Commission”. Disponible sur le site du Saint-Siege.
  8. Instrumentum Laboris “La Nuova Evangelizzazione per la Trasmissione della Fede Cristiana”, per la XIII Assemblea Generale Ordinaria del Sinodo dei Vescovi (Città del Vaticano, 2012). Disponibile presso la Santa Sede, con la conferenza stampa per la presentazione degli Instrumentum Laboris (19 giugno 2012) in questa pagina.
  9. Instrumentum Laboris “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith” for the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (Vatican City, 2012). May be read online at the Holy See. [A summary of the document, “Transmitting the Christian Faith” by Archbishop Nikola Eterović, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops (from L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 27 June 2012, page 8), may be read on this page at the EWTN Libraries. Another summary may be found at the Diocese of Cork and Ross.]
  10. “A New Door of Faith: Catholic Identity, Evangelization, and Renewal through Social Media”, by Amy Bonnacorso, Seat of Wisdom: A Theological and Pastoral Journal, Issue 6 (Winter 2013): 15-41. Available in pdf format on this page of Seat of Wisdom.
  11. Nota Doutrinal Sobre Alguns Aspectos da Evangelização, pela Congregação para a Doutrina da Fé (3 Dezembro 2007). Disponível em Santa Se.
  12. Princeps Pastorum: Encíclica sobre el Apostolado Misionero, del Papa San Juan XXIII (28 de noviembre de 1959). Disponible en la Santa Sede, el Archidiocesis de Madrid, y la Congregación para el Clero.
  13. Sermons and Lectures on the Missions: A Collection of Sermons, Lectures, and Sketches on the Catholic Missions, Volume 1, edited by Anton Huonder, adapted from the German by Cornelius Pekari (Techny, IL: Mission Press, 1918). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  14. “The Synod and the New Evangelization: Why It’s Important for U.S. Catholics” by Father James Wehner. Available on this page at the National Catholic Register.
  15. The Workers are Few; Reflections upon Vocation to the Foreign Missions, by Rev. Paolo Manna, translated by Rev. Joseph F. McGlinchey (Boston, Mass.: Society for the Propagation of the Faith, 1911). With the apostolic benediction of Pope St. Pius X for the original Italian text, and Imprimatur for the translation. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library, with a second copy at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  16. You Will Be My Witnesses: A Pastoral Letter to the People of God of San Antonio on the Christian Mission to Evangelize and Proclaim Jesus Christ, by Archbishop José H. Gomez (February 15, 2010). Available in PDF format (on this page) at the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, at Internet Archive (the  29 April 2013 snapshot of the relevant webpage of the Archdiocese of San Antonio), at Hitpages, at My Illinois State, and at Yumpu (which requires registration to access).

B. The Sacerdotal Office

See the pages Sacraments and Liturgy.

C. The Magisterial Office 

  1. Catena Aurea or, A golden Chain of Evidences Demonstrating from “Analytical Treatment of History,” that Papal Infallibility is no Novelty; a Memorial of the Papal Jubilee, June 16, 1871 to honor the “Annos Petri Completos” of Our Holy Father, Pope Pius the Great, by an Old Catholic (Perry County, Ohio: St. Joseph’s College, 1871).  Available in various formats at Open Library and Internet Archive. [N.B., While author refers to himself as an “Old Catholic”, this appears to be an ironic use of the term, since the work sets out to refute the thesis of Dollinger and the “Old Catholic” sect. The work is therefore orthodox. However, please exercise caution in view of certain statements tending to anti-Semitism.]
  2. Communio: International Catholic Review, vol. 38, no. 3, Ecclesiam Apostolicam (Fall 2011). Indexed at Communio, from which “The Infallibility of the Church: A Marian Mystery” by Roch Kereszty may be downloaded in PDF format.
  3. “Contraception and the Infallibility of the Ordinary Magisterium,” by Germain Grisez and John C. Ford, S.J., Theological Studies, 39 (1978): 258–312. Available in PDF format at The Way of the Lord Jesus (copyright 2009).
  4. Draft of a Dogmatic Constitution [on] Defending Intact the Deposit of Faith, by the Preparatory Theological Commission for the Second Vatican Council, translated by Fr. Joseph A. Komonchak (2012). Available in pdf format (on this page) at In Verbo Veritatis.
  5. [Letter to William Palmer, 4th] Fourth letter to the Rev. William Palmer, M.A., of Worcester College, Oxford: on the way to find the true church of Christ on earth, on satisfaction, on indulgences, on the supremacy of the See of Rome, infallibility, Eucharist, etc., etc., by Verax, a Catholic layman (London: T. Jones, 1842). Internet Archive and Open Library.
  6. [Letter to William Palmer, 5th] Fifth letter to the Rev. William Palmer, M.A., of Worcester College, Oxford: God has confided the sacred deposit of the revelation of Christianity to an infallible authority, by Verax, a Catholic layman (London: T. Jones, 1843) Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  7. Petri Privilegium: Three Pastoral Letters to the Clergy of the diocese, by Henry Edward Manning (London: Longmans, Green, 1871). In English, The Privilege of Peter. The Pastoral Letters discuss the doctrine and historical basis of Papal infallibility. Available at Internet Archive.
  8. The New Parish Priest’s Practical Manual: A Work Useful Also for Other Ecclesiastics, Especially for Confessors and for Preachers, by Joseph [Giuseppe] Frassinetti, translated by William Hutch (London: Burns and Oates; New York: Catholuc Piblication Society, 1883). With Imprimatur. Available in pdf format at Saints’ Books. May be read online, and available in mobi, epub, pdf, and other formats, at Internet Archive.
  9. The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost: or, Reason and Revelation, by Henry Edward Manning, Archbishop of Westminster (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1865). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: National Institute for Newman Studies, Book contributor: Saint Mary’s College of California).

D. The Pastoral Office 

See the page Law, Ecclesiastical.


III. The History of the Church

See also the page History and Biography.

  1. Catena Aurea or, A golden Chain of Evidences Demonstrating from “Analytical Treatment of History,” that Papal Infallibility is no Novelty; a Memorial of the Papal Jubilee, June 16, 1871 to honor the “Annos Petri Completos” of Our Holy Father, Pope Pius the Great, by an Old Catholic (Perry County, Ohio: St. Joseph’s College, 1871).  Available in various formats at Open Library and Internet Archive. [N.B., While author refers to himself as an “Old Catholic”, this appears to be an ironic use of the term, since the work sets out to refute the thesis of Dollinger and the “Old Catholic” sect. The work is therefore orthodox. However, please exercise caution in view of certain statements tending to anti-Semitism.]
  2. Church History, by Eusebius of Caesarea, translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 1, edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1890). Available at New Advent (Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight, copyright 2009 by Kevin Knight).
  3. The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils, 325-1870, by Philip Hughes. With Imprimatur (1960). Available at Documenta Catholica Omnia and Christus Rex.
  4. A Commentary by Writers of the First Five Centuries on the Place of St. Peter in the New Testament: and that of St. Peter’s successors in the Church, by James Waterworth (London: Thomas Baker, 1871). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  5. From Tarsus to Rome: the story of the first Christian hierarchy, by Herman Joseph Heuser (London, New York: Longmans, Green and co.1929). With Imprimatur. Available at Open Archive [microform] and may be read at com. NB, the Onread.com copy has many proofreading errors.
  6. The Government of the Church in the First Century: an Essay on the Beginnings of the Christian Ministry, by William Moran (Dublin: M.H. Gill & Son, 1913). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  7. History of the Catholic Church from the Renaissance to the French Revolution,, by Rev. James Maccaffrey (c. 1914). With Imprimatur. Volume I available on Project Gutenberg. Volume II available on Project Gutenberg.
  8. A History of the Church to the Eve of the Reformation, by Philip Hughes. Ecclesiastial history. Available on Documenta Catholica Omnia and on the Roman Catholic Resource Index of the Secular Franciscan Order, Five Franciscan Martyrs Province.
  9. Peter at Rome: Being an Historical Dissertation; With an Appendix, Containing Reference to the Discussion Held in Rome, February 9th and 10th, 1872, in the Hall of the Pontificia Academia Tiberina, between Three Catholic Priests and Three Evangelical Ministers, Concerning the Coming of St. Peter to Rome, by John Stewart M’Corry (London: Burns and Oates,1874). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  10. The Tradition of the Syriac Church of Antioch, Concerning the Primacy and the Prerogatives of St. Peter and of his Successors the Roman Pontiffs, by the Most Rev. Cyril Benham Benni, Syriac Archbishop of Mossul (Nineveh), translated under the direction of the author by Joseph Gagliardi  (London: Burns, Oates, & Co., 1871). Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library, with a second copy at Internet Archive and Open Library.


IV.  The Organs of the Church: The Hierarchy: The Episcopal College

A. The Bishops

  1. Against Heresies [Or, Refutation and Overthrow of Knowledge falsely so-called], by St. Irenaeus of Lyons (c.180 AD), trans. Alexander Roberts and William Rambaut; from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, eds. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885). Available on New Advent (rev. and ed. Kevin Knight), with active links to relevant Catholic Encyclopedia articles and Scripture passages; and on The Augustine Club. On Apologetics, Salvation, Heresy, Cosmology, Gnosticism, Divine Revelation, Bishops, Roman Primacy, Tradition, Sacraments, etc. [NB, A defense of Christianity against Gnosticism, which also shows that the early Church had a Catholic view of sacramental grace, the Roman primacy, the bishops as successors of the apostles, etc. Books I and II are somewhat difficult, so it may be better to start with Book III, which begins the summary of Christian teaching.]
  2. Catholic Teaching on Apostolic Succession, by the International Theological Commission (1973). Reprinted from the Tablet, 27 July, 3 August, and 10 August 1974. May be read online at the Holy See.
  3. Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops “Apostolorum Successores”, by the Congregation for Bishops, February 22, 2004. May be read online at the Holy See.
  4. The Pastoral Office, Henry Edward Manning (London: Printed for private use only, 1883). Available at Open Library and Internet Archive.
  5. “Primacy and Collegiality in the Works of Joseph Ratzinger”, by Richard G. DeClue, Communio: International Catholic Review, Vol. 35.4 (Winter 2008): pp. 642-670. Available in pdf format (through this page) at Communio: International Catholic Review.

B. The Bishop of Rome

  1. Catena Aurea or, A golden Chain of Evidences Demonstrating from “Analytical Treatment of History,” that Papal Infallibility is no Novelty; a Memorial of the Papal Jubilee, June 16, 1871 to honor the “Annos Petri Completos” of Our Holy Father, Pope Pius the Great, by an Old Catholic (Perry County, Ohio: St. Joseph’s College, 1871).  Available in various formats at Open Library and Internet Archive. [N.B., While author refers to himself as an “Old Catholic”, this appears to be an ironic use of the term, since the work sets out to refute the thesis of Dollinger and the “Old Catholic” sect. The work is therefore orthodox. However, please exercise caution in view of certain statements tending to anti-Semitism.]
  2. Cathedra Petri: or, The Titles and Prerogatives of St. Peter, and of His See and Successors; as described by the early fathers, ecclesiastical writers, and councils of the church, by C.F.B. Allnatt (London: Burns and Oates, 1883). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library. The 1879 edition is available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  3. On the Apostolical and Infallible Authority of the Pope: When Teaching the Faithful, and on His Relation to a General Council, Francis Xavier Weninger (New York : D.& J. Sadlier ; Cincinnati, OH : J.P. Walsh, 1868). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library. [N.B., It has no Imprimatur, but the author is stated to be a missionary of the Society of Jesus {when the members of that order were still reliably orthodox}, and the content appears to be a faithfully Catholic demonstration from faith, history and reason of papal infallibility.]
  4. The Chair of Peter or the Papacy: Considered in Its Institution, Development, and Organization, and in the Benefits which, for Over Eighteen Centuries, It has Conferred on Mankind, by, John Nicholas Murphy (London : Burns & Oates, 1888). Available at Internet Archive.
  5. A Commentary by Writers of the First Five Centuries on the Place of St. Peter in the New Testament: and that of St. Peter’s successors in the Church, by James Waterworth (London: Thomas Baker, 1871). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  6. Decrees and Canons of the [First] Vatican Council (1875). Available at Internet Archive.
  7. The Evidence for the Papacy: as Derived from the Holy Scriptures and from Primitive Antiquity, with an Introductory Epistle, by Colin Lindsay (London: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1870). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  8. [Letter to William Palmer, 4th] Fourth letter to the Rev. William Palmer, M.A., of Worcester College, Oxford: on the way to find the true church of Christ on earth, on satisfaction, on indulgences, on the supremacy of the See of Rome, infallibility, Eucharist, etc., etc., by Verax, a Catholic layman (London: T. Jones, 1842). Internet Archive and Open Library.
  9. Peter’s Rock in Mohammed’s flood: from St. Gregory the Great to St. Leo III, being the Seventh Volume of The Formation of Christendom, by Thomas William Allies (London: Burns & Oates; New York: Catholic Publications Society, 1890). Available at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto). History, Islam.
  10. Peter’s Name; or, A Divine Credential in a Name, by Smyth-Vaudry, Telesphor (Techny, Ill.: Printed by the Society of the Divine Word, 1909). Available at Internet Archive.
  11. Petri Privilegium: Three Pastoral Letters to the Clergy of the diocese, by Henry Edward Manning (London: Longmans, Green, 1871). In English, The Privilege of Peter. The Pastoral Letters discuss the doctrine and historical basis of Papal infallibility. Available at Internet Archive.
  12. “Primacy and Collegiality in the Works of Joseph Ratzinger”, by Richard G. DeClue, Communio: International Catholic Review, Vol. 35.4 (Winter 2008): pp. 642-670. Available in pdf format (through this page) at Communio: International Catholic Review.
  13. The Primacy of the Apostolic See Vindicated, by Francis Patrick Kenrick (Baltimore: J. Murphy, 1875). At Internet Archive and Open Library  (Digitizing sponsor: National Institute for Newman Studies, Book contributor: Saint Mary’s College of California)
  14. The Primacy of the Successor of Peter in the Mystery of the Church: Reflections of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , (from L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 18 November 1998, page 5-6). May be read online at EWTN Library and Catholic Information Network.
  15. The Purpose of the Papacy, by Bishop John S. Vaughan (London: Sands & Co.; St. Louis, Mo., U.S.A.: B. Herder, 1910). Available at Project Gutenberg.
  16. The See of St. Peter, the Rock of the Church, the Source of Jurisdiction, and the Centre of Unity, by Thomas William Allies (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1896) Apologetics. Available at Internet Archive.
  17. Peter at Rome: Being an Historical Dissertation; With an Appendix, Containing Reference to the Discussion Held in Rome, February 9th and 10th, 1872, in the Hall of the Pontificia Academia Tiberina, between Three Catholic Priests and Three Evangelical Ministers, Concerning the Coming of St. Peter to Rome, by John Stewart M’Corry (London: Burns and Oates,1874). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  18. Peter, His Name and His Office: As Set Forth in Holy Scripture, by T. W. Allies (1852). Available at Internet Archive.
  19. The Tradition of the Syriac Church of Antioch, Concerning the Primacy and the Prerogatives of St. Peter and of his Successors the Roman Pontiffs, by the Most Rev. Cyril Benham Benni, Syriac Archbishop of Mossul (Nineveh), translated under the direction of the author by Joseph Gagliardi  (London: Burns, Oates, & Co., 1871). Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library, with a second copy at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  20. The Vicar of Christ, by Humphrey, William, 1839-1910 (Londo : Art and Book Co.; New York : Benziger, 1892). Available at Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto).


V. The Organs of the Church: The Hierarchy: Presbyters, Deacons, Minor Orders

A. The Presbyterate

  1. The Ambassador of Christ, by James Cardinal Gibbons (Baltimore, New York, London: John Murphy & Company, 1896). May be read online and available in pdf, epub, kindle/mobi, Daisy, djvu, and text formats at Internet Archive and Open Library, with a 2nd copy at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  2. Apostolic Exhortation to the Catholic Clergy “Haerent Animo” on Priestly Sanctity, by Pope St. Pius X (August 4, 1908). May read online on this page of Catholic Cultureon this page of EWTN, and at Papal Encyclicals Online.
  3. Directives for Vocational Awareness in the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, by the Patriarchal Commission for Priestly Formation (2012). Available in PDF format (here) at the Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Seminary.
  4. “Dominus Iesus and the Christian Priesthood”,by Romanus Cessario, O.P., The Catholic Answer 14.6 (2001): 38-43. Available in PDF format through this page of the Nederlands Thomas-Genootschap.
  5. The Eternal Priesthood, by Henry Edward Manning, 1808-1892 (London: Burns and Oates; New York: Catholic Publication Society, 1844). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Cornell University Library).
  6. Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Priests and Spiritual Maternity, by the Congregation for the Clergy (Rome: Congregation for the Clergy, 2007). Available in PDF format on this page of the Congregation for the Clergy (accessed through the Apostolate of Spiritual Motherhood for the Sanctification of Priests in the Archdiocese of St. Louis); on this page of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; through this page of the EWTN Library; and on this page of Spiritual Motherhood Sodality.
  7. The Judicial Penal Procedure for the Dismissal of a Diocesan Priest from the Clerical State According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, by Fr. John Diraviam (©John Diraviam, Ottawa, Canada, 2008). Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Canon Law, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada. Available in PDF format (on this page) at the University of Ottawa Repository. [The text states: “The author has granted a nonexclusive license allowing Library and Archives Canada to… communicate to the public… The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author’s permission.”]
  8. The New Parish Priest’s Practical Manual: A Work Useful Also for Other Ecclesiastics, Especially for Confessors and for Preachers, by Joseph [Giuseppe] Frassinetti, translated by William Hutch (London: Burns and Oates; New York: Catholuc Piblication Society, 1883). With Imprimatur. Available in pdf format at Saints’ Books. May be read online, and available in mobi, epub, pdf, and other formats, at Internet Archive.
  9. The Priest, Minister of Divine Mercy: An Aid for Confessors and Spiritual Directors, by the Congregation for the Clergy (Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011). Available in pdf document on this page (linked from this page of Rorate Coeli) at the Congregation for the Clergy; and may be read online at Yumpu.
  10. The Religious State: Together with a Short Treatise on the Vocation to the Priesthood, 2nd edition, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus De Liguori, edited by Rev. Eugene Grimm, C.Ss.R. (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1889). Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Forgotten Books; and may be read online (on this page) at Hathi Trust.
  11. To be a Priest!, by Rev. Dr. Rumble, M.S.C. With 1944 Imprimatur. Available in PDF format (on this page) of Catholic Pamphlets.net.
  12. Vocations Explained: Matrimony, Virginity, the Religious State, and the Priesthood, by a Vincentian Father. (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benzinger Brothers, 1897). Published with the permission of the Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission. With Imprimatur. May be read online, and available in PDF format and in RTF format at the Saints’ Books. [N.B., The front page states that ‘”Vocations Explained” is a compendium of “Questions on Vocations,” a catechism approved by His Eminence Cardinal Gibbons; His Eminence Cardinal Satolli; by five Archbishops and twenty-two Bishops; also by numerous priests and religious Brothers and Sisters.’]

B. The Diaconate

  1. Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons, by the Congregation for Catholic Education, Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons, by the Congregation for the Clergy. May be read online (on this page) of the Holy See.]
  2. Directory of Policies and Procedures for Deacons, Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix [“with Change Pages thru September 2010, revised & approved by Bishop Olmsted Sept 2010”]. Available in PDF format at the Diocese of Phoenix.
  3. Directory on the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Lancaster, by Bishop Michael Campbell, OSA (CathCom, 2010). Available in PDF format (on this page) of CathCom.
  4. Grace Overflowing: A Consideration of Diaconal Spirituality in the Contexts of Marriage and Ordained Ministry [Dissertation], by Richard Douglas Shewman (Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology, May 2005). Available in PDF format on this page of the Diocese of Erie.
  5. Guidelines for the Permanent Diaconate in the Catholic Church in Australia. Available in PDF format at the National Association of Deacons. [Par. 55 states that “These Guidelines were approved by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at their meeting of November 2005, and will be reviewed after a period of five years.”]

C. Minor Orders

  1. Minor Orders, by Rev. Louis Bacuez, S.S. (St. Louis, Mo.; London: B. Herder, 1912). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats (pdf, kindle/mobu, epub, etc.) at Internet Archive and Open Library. [N.B., In the Latin church, the minor orders are of mainly historical interest, in view of the promulgation of the Motu Proprio “Ministeria Quaedam” by Blessed Pope Paul VI. However, the spiritual counsels in the text may, mutatis mutandis, be of profit to those exercising their successor-ministries.]


VI. The Organs of the Church: Particular Churches and Local Units

A. Particular Churches Sui Iuris

See also the pages Eastern Catholicism and Liturgy.

  1. Aspects of Maronite History, by Chorbishop Seely Beggiani. May be read online through this page of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, in 12 parts: Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenPart EightPart NinePart TenPart Eleven, and Part Twelve.
  2. “Malankara Catholic Church sui iuris: Juridical Status and Power of Governance”, (Article) by Fr. Thomas Kuzhinapurath”.  Available at com, which states “This article was originally published in www.malankara.net and Christian Orient XXI/I, pp. 41-48 in 1998, prior to the elevation of the Malankara Catholic Church as a Major Archiepiscopal Church (10th Feb. 2005).”
  3. The Maronite Church, by Msgr. Ronald Beshara (Eparchy of Saint Maron, 2002). With Imprimatur. May be read online at Maronite Vocations, which states that the book was “written for the purpose of informing and enriching Maronites and other Catholics about the rich Maronite tradition, a living and vibrant branch of the Catholic Church. This Church of Jesus Christ is united by one faith, one Lord and one baptism, yet expresses that one faith in twenty-two unique and distinct Eastern and Western traditions of theology, spirituality, liturgy and cultures.”
  4. The Maronite Liturgy, the Liturgy of the Living Treasure, Encyclical Letter of Bechara Bouros Cardinal Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, 25 March 2014. Available in pdf format on this page of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, and on this page at Saint Ann Maronite Church; and may be read online on this page of Saint Joseph Maronite Catholic Church, and on this page at Maronite Heritage.
  5. The Maronites: The Origins of an Antiochene Church: A Historical and Geographical Study of the Fifth to Seventh Centuries, by Abbot Paul Naaman, translated by the Department of Interpretation and Translation (DIT), Holy Spirit University, Kaslik, Lebanon (Trappist, Kentucky: Cistercian Publications; Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2009). Available in PDF format on this page of the Liturgical Press.
  6. The Melkite Greek Church at the Council: Discourses and Memoranda of Patriarch Maximos IV and of the Hierarchs of His Church at the Second Vatican Council, with Introduction by Fr. [Archimandrite] Robert S. Taft, S.J., Pontifical Oriental Institute, and Preface by Maximos IV [Cardinal Sayegh], Patriarch of Antioch and of All-the-East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem. May be read at the Melkite Eparchy of Newton. [First published as L’Eglise Grecque Melkite au Councile: discours et notes du Patriarche Maximos IV et des prélats de son Eglise au Concile oecuménique Vatican II (Beyrouth: Dar Al-Kalima, 1967).]
  7. Milestones in the History of the Lebanese Maronite Order, by Father Karam Rizk, Director of the Institute of History, University of the Holy Spirit, Kaslik. Available in PDF format at Lebanese Maronite Order.

B. Dioceses/Eparchies, Ordinariates, Prelatures

C. Parishes

  1. The New Parish Priest’s Practical Manual: A Work Useful Also for Other Ecclesiastics, Especially for Confessors and for Preachers, by Joseph [Giuseppe] Frassinetti, translated by William Hutch (London: Burns and Oates; New York: Catholuc Piblication Society, 1883). With Imprimatur. Available in pdf format at Saints’ Books. May be read online, and available in mobi, epub, pdf, and other formats, at Internet Archive.
  2. The Parish Priest on Duty: a Practical Manual for Pastors, Curates, and Theological Students Preparing for the Mission, Being a Brief Summary of the Prescribed Manner of Administering the Sacraments, the Service of the Dead, and Sundry Other Pastoral Functions in Accordance with the Roman Ritual (The Sacraments), by H.J. Heuser (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1904). With Imprimatur. Available at Open Library and Internet Archive, with a second copy at Internet Archive and Open Library, linked from Boston University Digital Common.
  3. The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community, by the Congregation for the Clergy (4 August 2002). May be read online at the Holy See.


VII. The Organs of the Church: The Religious and Laity

A. Religious and Secular Institutes

See the page Religious Orders and Religious Life.

B. The Laity

  1. Discerning Your Lay Catholic Vocation, by Betty Gravlin (2012). 29 pages. May be read online or downloaded in PDF, LRF, Kindle, PDB formats at Smashwords.
  2. “Guiding Principles of the Lay Apostolate: Address to the Second World Congress of the Lay Apostolate”, by Pope Pius XII, October 5, 1957. May be.read online (on this page) at the EWTN Library and at Papal Encyclicals Online.
  3. “The Place of Eucharistic Adoration in the Apostolate of the Laity in Light of Magisterial Teaching”, by Jessica Leach (2014). Thesis for the degree of Master of Philosophy (School of Philosophy and Theology), University of Notre Dame Australia. Available in pdf format at University of Notre Dame Australia.
  4. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Christifideles Laici” on the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World, by Pope John Paul II, December 30, 1988. May be read online ar the Holy See and at IntraText.
  5. “Reflections on John Paul II’s Theology of the Laity: 20th Anniversary of Christifideles Laici (1989)”, by Peter N.V. Hai. Available in pdf format at Australian Catholic University.
  6. “The Role of the Laity: An Examination of Vatican II and Christifideles Laici”, by Carl E. Olson. May be read online at Ignatius Insight: may be Part I and Part II. According to the text, “A slightly different version of this article appeared in the September/October 2000 issue of The Catholic Faith magazine.”
  7. The Theology of the Laity, by Fr. John Saward. Part 1 may be read online on this page, and Part 2 may be read on this page, at Christendom Awake. [Other works by Fr. Saward may be found on this page of Christendom Awake.]
  8. “The Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Light of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christifideles Laici”, by Bishop Josef Clemens. Available in pdf format at the Pontifical Council for the Laity.


VIII. The Church and Society

See also the page Society and Social Teaching.

A. In General

  1. Gaudium et spes and the Importance of Political Philosophy”, by John Hittinger, Josephinum Journal of Theology, Volume 20, Issue 2 (Summer/Fall 2013): p. 279-306. Available in pdf format on this page of the Pontifical College Josephinum.
  2. “A Renewed Church in Asia: A Mission of Love and Service to Migrant Workers and Refugees in the Third Millennium”, by Jigger S. Latoza. Available in PDF format (on this page) at the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences.
  3. The Social Mission of Charity: A Study of Points of View in Catholic Charities, by William Joseph Kerby (New York: Macmillan, 1921). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Internet Archive.

B. Church and State (1)

  1. Catholic Church and Christian State: a Series of Essays on the Relation of the Church to the Civil PowerVolume 1, translated, with the permission of the author, from the German of Dr. Joseph Hergenröther (London: Burns and Oates, 1876). May be read online, and available in pdf, djvu, epub, kindle/mobi, Daisy, and txt formats, at Internet Archive, with a 2nd copy on this page and a 3rd copy of this page, and at Open Library. Volume I contains the following essays: I. The Holy See and Civil Allegiance; II. Doctrine of Infallibility; III. The Vatican Council; IV. The Pope and the Bishops; V. The Syllabus and Modern States; VI. Fundamental Principles of the Middle Ages;VII. Civil Rulers and the Holy See; and VIII. Pope Gregory VII.
  2. Catholic Church and Christian State: a Series of Essays on the Relation of the Church to the Civil PowerVolume 2, translated, with the permission of the author, from the German of Dr. Joseph Hergenröther (London: Burns and Oates, 1876). May be read online, and available in pdf, djvu, epub, kindle/mobi, Daisy, and txt formats, at Internet ArchiveVolume 2 contains the following essays: IX. The Pope and the Holy Roman Empire; X. The Popes and Their Vassal Kingdoms; XI. Boniface VIII, and Philip the Fair; XII. Gifts of Lands Made by the Pope and the Donation of Constantine; XIII. The Doctrine of the Superiority of the Church and of Her Authority in Matters Temporal; XIV. Origin of the Civil Power and the Right of Resisting It;XV. Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction; XVI. The Punishment of Heresy and the Inquisition; XVII. The Church and Liberty of Conscience; and XVIII. Claims of the Pope since the Sixteenth Century.
  3. Encyclical “Immortale Dei” on the Christian Constitution of States, by Pope Leo  XIII (1 November 1885). The ebook may be read online, and available in mobi format and epub format, at Papal Encyclicals Online; and it is available in .doc format through this page of Documenta Catholic Omnia. It may also be read online on this page of Catholic Cultureon this page of the EWTN Library; at Wikisource; and at the Holy See. The LibriVox audiobook, read by Maria Therese, is available at Internet Archive linked through LibriVox. A different audio recording is provided in this video (45:23) on the Youtube channel of Danilo Zugic.
  4. Encyclical of Our Holy Father by Divine Providence Leo XIII on the Christian Constitution of States: Latin Text and Authorised Translation (London, 1886). Available in pdf, mobi, epub, and other formats at Internet Archive.
  5. “The Freedom of the Church and the Taming of Leviathan: The Christian Revolution, Dignitatis Humanae, and Western Liberty”, by Kenneth L. Grasso, The Catholic Social Science Review, Vol. 17 (2012): 221–240. Available in PDF format on this page of the Philosophy Documentation Center.
  6. “Holding These Truths Today”, by Michael Novak, The Catholic Social Science Review 16 (2011): 105-111. Available in PDF format on this page of the Catholic Social Science Review. [N.B., A brief summary and analysis of the ideas of John Courtney Murray. While I disagree with the general orientation of the essay, the one true Church is not bound to any system but regards all that is good in them (Gaudium et Spes, 42).]
  7. “The Internal Order of States and People: Christmas Message of 1942”, by the Venerable Pope Pius XII. May be read online (on this page) at the EWTN Library. Another translation, entitled “The Rights of Man: The Feast of Christmas and Suffering Humanity”, may be read online at Catholic Tradition. Brief comments on the Christmas message may be found at Locus Theologicus and Paul on Pius.
  8. The State and the Church, written and edited by John A. Ryan, D.D., LL.D and Moorhouse F. X. Millar, S.J. (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1930). With Imprimatur. May be read online at the Jacques Maritain Center, and available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library. [Note: It was written for the Department of Social Action of the National Catholic Welfare Council (predecessor of today’s United States Conference of Catholic Bishops).]
  9. We Hold These Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition, by John Courtney Murray, S.J. (Kansas City, MO: Sheed and Ward, 1960). May be read online at Woodstock Theological Library at Georgetown University. [N.B., We have assumed that this work was lawfully made available online by Georgetown University and that links to it may be lawfully made. Kindly advise us if this is incorrect.]

C. Church and State (2): The Temporal Domains of the Church 

  1. The Independence of the Holy See: with an Appendix containing the Papal Allocution of March, 1877, and an English translation, by Henry Edward Manning (London: Henry S. King and Co., 1877). Available at Internet Archiveand Open Library. With a second copy at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  2. The Temporal Sovereignty of the Pope, with Relation to the State of Italy: a Lecture Delivered in St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, Ottawa: with Additional facts and Observations, by Aeneas McDonell Dawson (London, Ottawa : Catholic Pub. and Book-Selling Co., 1860). From microfilm. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library, with a second copy at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  3. The Temporal Power of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, by Manning, Henry Edward, 1808-1892 (London : Burns and Oates, 1880). Available at Internet Archive.
  4. The Temporal Power of the Pope in its Political Aspect, by Henry Edward Manning (London: Longmans, Green, & Co.,; Burns, Lambert, and Oates, 1866). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.


IX. Contemporary Initiatives of the Church

A. Social Mission

  1. Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation, by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, March 22, 1986. May be read online at the Catholic Information Network and the EWTN Library.
  2. Justitia in Mundo, by the World Synod of Catholic Bishops, 1971. Available at Catholic Social Services Australia.

B. Ecumenical Dialogue

  1. Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (March 25, 1993). May be read online at the Holy See.

C. Inter-Religious Dialogue

  1. “Islam, Interreligious Dialogue and Evangelization: The Catholic Response”, by Professor André Villeneuve, Ph.D. (May 2015, revised January 10, 2016). Available in pdf format through this page of Catholics for Israel; and also available at ResearchGate and Academia.edu. [N.B., Dr. Villeneuve is Assistant Professor of Theology and Sacred Scripture at Saint John Vianney Seminary, Denver, Colorado. He is also affiliated with the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.]


X. Contemporary Problems in the Church

A. Error and Immorality in Secular Society

  1. The Catholic Church and the Counter-Faith: A Study of the Roots of Modern Secularism, Relativism, and De-Christianity, by Philip Trower (Family Publications, 2006; Philip Trower, 2014). It may be read online (version 7 January 2014) on this page though the page of Philip Trower at Christendom Awake.

B. Modernism and Laxism among Catholic Christians

See also the posts “Online texts: Documents of the Second Vatican Council; and on its Interpretation and Application” and “Online texts: Commentaries on “Amoris Laetitia”..

  1. “Does Pure Logic Threaten to Destroy the Entire Moral Doctrine of the Catholic Church?”, by Josef Seifert, Aemaet: Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie, vol. 6, no. 2 (2017): pp. 2-9. Available in pdf format (here) through this page at Aemaet; and may be read online (on this page) at Rorate Coeli.
  2. Encyclical LetterVeritatis Splendor“, by Pope Blessed John Paul II (6 August 1993). Available at the Holy See. [According to Wikipedia: “The encyclical is one of the most comprehensive and philosophical teachings of moral theology in the Catholic tradition”]
  3. Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the Twentieth Century, 2nd edition, by Romano Amerio, translated by John P. Parsons (Angelus Press, 1996). Selected chapters (1-7, 15-16) available at Society of Saint Pius X District of Asia. [N.B., Please approach other texts on the website with caution. While it contains much that is extremely valuable, its views must be corrected in light of Pope Benedict XVI’s hermeneutics of continuity.]
  4. Mysterium Ecclesiae: Declaration in Defense of the Catholic Doctrine on the Church Against Certain Errors of the Present Day, by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 24, 1973. May be read online at St. Michael’s Cyberspace Scriptorium and Library and the Holy See.
  5. The Power of Truth: The Challenges of Catholic Doctrine and Morals Today, by Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2019). The paperback is available on this page of Ignatius Press and on this page of Leaflet Missals. The Nook book and paperback is available at Barnes & Noble. The Kindle ebook and paperback are available at Amazon.
  6. [Reflections on Questions of Present Importance in the Life of the Church], by Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller. Available at First Things: “What Does It Mean to Say ‘I Absolve You’?” (December 15, 2017); “By What Authority? On the Teaching Office of the Pope” (January 16, 2018); “Development, or Corruption?” (February 20, 2018); “Is There a Saving Truth? The Salvific Relevance of the Rule of Faith” (March 13, 2018); “Who May Receive Communion?” (April. 20, 2018).
  7. Turmoil & Truth: The Historical Roots of the Modern Crisis in the Catholic Church, by Phillip Trower (San Francisco: Ignatius; Oxford: Family Publications, 2003). May be read online at Christendom Awake (The webpage states: “Family Publications has now ceased trading. The copyright has reverted to the author Philip Trower who has given permission for the book to be placed on this website.”)

C. Defections from the Church

D. Shortage of Vocations

  1. The Shortage of Roman Catholic Priests in the United States Navy Chaplain Corps: Addressing the Problem (Masteral Thesis), by LCdr Christopher S. Fronk, CHC, USNR (2009). Available in PDF format at the Defense Technical Information Center.

E. Sexual Immorality in the Clergy

  1. “The Church and the Scandal of Sexual Abuse”, by Pope Benedict XVI, translated by Anian Christoph Wimmer. Published on 11 April 2019 at Catholic News Agency and Catholic Herald.
  2. “The Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Roman Catholic Church: What Psychologists and Counselors Should Know”, by Thomas G. Plante and Courtney Daniels, Pastoral Psychology, Vol. 52, No. 5, May 2004 (2004), pp. 381-393. Available in PDF format at Psychology Today,  at Santa Clara University, and if these webpages are down, on this page of Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine (which is the 30 April 2013 snapshot of the aforementioned Psychology Today page).

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