07 May 2007

So, you wanna be a Catholic preacher. . .?

Well, OK, here are the basic texts you will need. . .

. . .several Bibles: the New Revised Standard is my personal favorite. You will need other translations though to be thorough. Try: NJB, SEV, NKJ, or (last resort) NIV. Avoid paraphrases like the The Living Bible.

. . .several biblical commentaries. The Oxford Bible Commentary is good, so is the Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible. Caution: relying too heavily on commentaries will likely result in distinctly "academic homilies," that is, didactic sermons that show off how much research you've done. Not good.

. . .a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The hardcover edition has a scripture index so that you can cross-reference your lectionary texts with the pertinent doctrinal teaching. Very useful!

. . .a small but selective library of the spiritual masters. Let me suggest something compact like Harvey Egan's book, Anthology of Christian Mysticism. Nicely indexed by name and subject.

. . .access to the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

. . .access to papal, curial, episcopal documents.

. . .a small but selective library of good literature, including fiction and poetry. You can also find excellent poetry on the sites linked on the sidebar. Check out these English languages prizes and these for excellent suggestions of what to read. The point of reading good literature is to develop better writing skills.

. . .you also need good listeners, positive critics, maybe a blogsite, and a few people who really hate your preaching.

OK. What am I forgetting. . .?

Fr. Philip

REVISION: how could I forget the basic texts of any writer--a good dictionary and thesaurus!


  1. I have found Edith Barnecut's *Journey with the Fathers* to be a useful companion to the eucharistic liturgy.

  2. Anonymous5:55 AM

    You are forgetting "prayer". You need to pray. Bishop Fulton Sheen spent one hour each and every day in Adoration. He would write his Talks in front of the Eucharist. If you don't have a regular prayer life, you aint practicin what you're preachin. And I ain't listening. :-p

  3. Fr. Kimel,

    Thanks for the suggestion! This title is new to me.


    Oh, I didn't "forget" prayer! My post is about essential texts. Though I do include critics, so maybe I need another section for "Essential Practices."

    Fr. Philip, OP

  4. What about the Navarre Bible Commentary on the Gospels? I mean the four individual volumes rather than the condensed collection.

  5. Anonymous12:23 AM

    I found some great fiction book reviews. You can also see those reviews in Christian fiction

  6. Dimbulb,

    I use this commentary from Larry's site over at Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (see link in my sidebar). I really like that commentary for its steady and sensible approach. I've never seen the whole set however.


    Thanks for the link. Religious fiction is coming into its own these days.

    Fr. Philip, OP