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Choosing Catholic Publishers and Books

Following up on yesterday's post about the anti-holiness kids book published by Paulist Press, I thought it might be helpful to go through the various publishers we deal with to help you make decisions as individual readers and also as Catholic store owners when you are trying to choose titles to carry.

This is very important to us because of our Good Faith Guarantee.

Basically, we divide our publishers into five groups:

  1. Pope Benedict's Library. These publishers make a point of carrying books that promote and defend the Faith. You can pretty much order any book from them without worry that the content is questionably Catholic. These books are also distinguished by their substantial content – no fluff here.
  2. The University of Steubenville Library – Very good books for the most part with a few fluffy titles and possible a stray questionable title in the mix. Ninety-five percent of the time you can buy from them without a worry.
  3. The Parish Library – You can find some very good stuff here, you can find some very bad stuff here. It all depends on who the librarian was.
  4. The Matthew Fox Circle of Energy Reading Room – Don't buy anything from this publisher unless you find it on our site. They don't have any problem publishing heresy with a few stray orthodox titles that somehow got mixed in.
  5. The Marcus Aurelius Library – These are books from publishers that aren't Catholic and the books may not necessarily be specifically Catholic but have a Catholic world view.

Before I actually provide the list, please be aware that we aren't the arbiters of orthodoxy, we just go by what the Church teaches and make our own judgments based on that. If you happen to be a publisher and think you are being unfairly categorized please contact us so we can update our list. This list isn't meant to be a blanket condemnation of any publishers either. There are always a few good books available from any of these companies and by buying those books you will encourage them to produce more good titles.

I have moved the list over to our bookstore so it can be kept current there.
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  1. Very good information, thank you.

  2. Thank you for this very helpful list.
    I can tell you that ALBA is connected with the Daughters of Saint Paul,
    some good titles but some questionable too. AVE MARIA Press, same thing,a
    a mix of quite a bit of questionable with some very good.

  3. You might want to look at and review Regina Press as well.


  4. Here are two publishers and Loome’s Theological Books for used rare and out of priint books.

    Bethlehem Books, Bathgate, ND, Wholesome, Character Building Literature

    Loome Theological Booksellers – Stillwater – Largest in the U.S.A. Used, Rare and Out of Prinit

    St Mary’s Press, Winona – Publications and Services for Catholic Youth

  5. I think that you mean the Franciscan University bookstore, not the library. The good folks at the bookstore try very hard to choose orthodox books for their customers. On the other hand, the library has to provide books from many viewpoints, including those authors who are not orthodox, so that the students can learn to evaluate materials.

  6. I lost my teaching position over this stuff! Sadly my former parish chose Loyola Press for their catechetical series called Christ Our Life. Talk about dissident, many references and suggested readings from the teachers manual are from none other than the great Karl Rahner, Peter Phan, and last but not least, AL GORE! If that’s their “references” then who’s writing the text? I have a pretty good idea. Only a few “token” orthodox theologians are included to keep (most of) the wolves at bay.

    Ever talk to a wall? That’s the kind of response received when they were challenged. I liked Ignatius Press’ Image of God. They didn’t. Too much Fr. Joe Fessio, I guess.

    As such, it’s no SMALL thing to pick not just a doctrinally correct text (i.e. USCCB list of approved texts) but one that teaches orthodoxy BOLDLY! Without wimping away from the uniquely “Cathollic” teaching on morality.

    Arrgghh….to live in a liberal diocese….

  7. This posting was helpful to me today in more ways than you could know. Thanks for putting this resource together.

  8. Wonderful stuff.

    There is a typo. Family Life Center is run by Steve Wood, not Steve Ray.

    Christmas blessings.

  9. I recently heard about a protestant publisher of old, out-of-print children’s fiction with good moral messages: http://www.lamplighterpublishing.com. I’ve been looking for a Catholic alternative – with little luck. I’ll try some of the sites you mention here, but I’d also like to know if the Lamplighter books pose any significant doctrinal problems.

    Thanks for this list. It is most helpful.

  10. “Olivia and the Little Way,” is a wonderful work of Catholic fiction, written by a friend of mine, Nancy Carabio Belanger, for pre-teen/teen audience.
    My wife was honored to illustrate the book.
    It recently received a Catholic Press Association Award in the Best Children’s Book category.
    It is worth a read, a wonderful gift, and I recommend it highly for if you are a book store owner/operator.

  11. Harvey House Publishing, the publisher of Olivia and the Little Way, could be included in the list under Pope Benedict’s Library. The children’s fiction book for preteens is faithful to the Magisterium.

  12. Hi,
    I was wondering if you might want to add to your assessment of Paulist Press. For many of the other presses that you put in the same category as Paulist you mention some of their books/authors that you approve of. For Paulist you do no such thing, but a click on the link shows that you carry almost 100 of their books. Surely you could say something more about a publisher that provides you with this many reliable titles. I myself am publishing two books with Paulist and have been assured that an imprimatur will be sought. One of those books, How Far Can We Go? A Catholic Guide to Sex and Dating, already published by Novalis in Canada, received a very positive review in the National Catholic Register by Dr. Donald DeMarco.
    Also, I wonder if you might include an assessment of Eerdman’s. Though they are largely Protestant, they include many Catholic books and even some of their Protestant stuff might be of interest to Catholics as they are interested in orthodoxy. Furthermore they may just be too huge to ignore.
    Thanks for considering these two suggestions,

  13. Brett,

    Paulist Press does indeed do some good work – the Ancient Christian Writers series is a good example. Many of the Classics of Western Spirituality are quite good too. Most of the 100 Paulist titles we carry fall into those groups. Thanks.

  14. I’m looking for a US agent with a view to publishing the fascinating story of St Josemaria Escriva and the founding of Opus Dei. Any suggestions?

  15. I’m only 3 1/2 years late in reading this blog post! Another small publisher to look into is Ecce Homo Press (Behold Publications).

    Some other small timers:
    Chesterton Press (Regina Doman’s fairy tale novels)
    Arx Publishing (Catholic action & adventure & high fantasy)
    Mary’s Books / Dujarie Press (reprints)
    St. Augustine Academy Press (reprints)

    Thank you for your list!

    ISI is now Christendom College Press / ISI

  16. Good grief – I find Paulist Press to actually be one of the best publishers out there. Their Classics of Western Spirituality series is absolutely fascinating and very well done, and has greatly enriched my spiritual life. Just because it has authors from other traditions does not mean we should hit the alarm. If we only ever read things we agree with, our libraries would be very, very, very small.
    It’s time to be adults people – be strong in your convictions and stand firm in your faith, but be open to learning as well, even if it means hearing the opinion or thoughts of someone who does not think exactly like you. Think it’s heretical for Paulist Press to publish protestant theology? Read the books, and learn why you disagree with them, and learn how to reach out to others of that tradition if it bothers you so much. Need I remind you that Aquinas studied Averroes intensely?
    I would also like to add, given that my thoughts have been already taken wrongly, that it is good to know, especially in our very New Age age, which publishers are actually faithful to the Church. I just would hardly count the CoWS series in the new age list myself…this just seems far too reactionary to me.

  17. +
    Dear Friends in Christ,

    Could you provide any information on Orbis books? I know they publish things on Liberation Theology which have been denounced by our current Holy father Pope Benedict XVI and by his predecessor, John Paul II. We have been asked to start carrying more books on black Catholics at our store and we have added some to our selection but some of the books (by James Cone, one edited by M. Shawn Copeland) come from Orbis which is making me highly uncomfortable. Any help or references you can give will be much appreciated! God bless you.

  18. Consider adding Lepanto Press of Our Lady of Victory School, particularly since so many Catholic homeschoolers love their stuff. It is mostly reprints of wonderful old Catholic textbooks or children’s literature, as well as a few of their own school books. They also sell other publishers’ books as part of the OLV curriculum. Nearly everything is high quality and hard cover. Their only “crime” is that they recommend Mass in the Extraordinary form, hardly outside the Church, though many still characterize that as extreme, despite Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II writing to the contrary. See http://www.olvs.org/index.asp?

    Another is Arx Publishing, who also make the circuit at the Catholic homeschool conferences. Copied from their website at http://www.arxpub.com

    Arx is a Latin word meaning ‘fortress’ or ‘citadel’. Arx Publishing is a small press seeking to give a voice to authors whose books uphold traditional Catholic values and promote the Culture of Life. Titles published under the Arx imprint represent a mix of genres including historical fiction, high fantasy, and poetry. While some of our books do not contain obvious Catholic content, they all explore some aspect of spiritual and moral conflict in a way that is not hostile to Church teaching.

    Our scholarly imprint, Evolution Publishing, furthers the study of American history and language by republishing and distributing long out-of-print primary source material. Focusing on Native American-related and early colonial era works, Evolution strives to consolidate and preserve this wealth of history for generations to come.

    Evolution also republishes out-of-print works on ancient and medieval European languages and history, including The Languages of Classical Antiquity series, The Languages of the Middle Ages series, and The Christian Roman Empire series.

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