Rorate Caeli

Open thread: Book suggestions for Advent and Christmas

When he had finished reading the provisions of the law to the assembled people, Moses took blood, the blood of calves and goats, took water, and scarlet-dyed wool, and hyssop, sprinkled the book itself, and all the people ... . The tabernacle, too, and all the requisites of worship he sprinkled in the same way with blood; and the law enjoins that blood shall be used in almost every act of purification; unless blood is shed, there can be no remission of sins.

Hebrews, chapter ix (Knox Bible)


As it is now well-known, Baronius Press recently published a new edition of one of the most beloved Catholic translations of Holy Writ, that made by Msgr. Ronald Knox based on the Clementine Vulgate in light of the Hebrew and Greek original texts and whose complete text was first published in the mid-20th century.

We are already in the second half of November, so well in the time to buy gifts for the upcoming season: for Christmas - or for Saint Nicholas (Dec. 6), or Epiphany (Jan. 6), traditional days for giving presents to family and friends (particularly children) in different Christian nations. Please, use this thread to present all your suggestions of good publications in the upcoming season


  1. Deo gratias9:19 PM

    For children, I heartily recommend "An Alphabet of Saints" by Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson. Superbly written and very clever -- it is one of our family's favourites. I believe Newmann Press publishes it.

  2. Simplicius10:37 PM

    I recommend Pope Benedict's recently-released book: Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives.

  3. latin mass guy11:24 PM

    I would recommend any book by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre or Michael Davies, but especially " A Bishop Speaks", " Open Letters to Confused Catholics", " They Have Uncrowned Him", " Apologia Pro Marcel Lefebvre three part series", and the " Liturgical Revolution Series", to anyone Who wants to learn about Traditional Catholicism or Society of Saint Pius X/ Archbishop Lefebvre. For little children, I would recommend to go to Angelus Press and see what you can find!
    Merry Christmas!

  4. Stabat Mater12:56 AM

    Mother Love- a fabulous reprint just made available from Angelus Press. I have treasured this little prayer book for mothers for years, but this reprint of the original is so much richer! The women in your life with thank you for such an edifying gift.

  5. Anonymous1:20 AM

    Mrs. Adfero received Mother Love a couple of weeks ago and can't put it down!

  6. Anonymous2:13 AM

    Just a reminder, we do not publish anonymous comments. Thanks.

  7. Don M3:35 AM




    One of the best books I have read on English Catholic life during the penal days

    also The life of Gemma Galgani

  8. Just ordered Mother Love for Christmas gifts! Thanks for the idea.

    Divine Intimacy is a wonderful gift and excellent for daily reflection!

    Need some stocking stuffers (i.e. rosaries, scapulars)?

    Spanish Material (i.e. novenas, devotions):

  9. Why catholics are right by Michael Coren is a very good book.

  10. Don M4:40 AM

    I should have added that I think Preserving Christian Publications will be reprinting the Life Of Gemma Galgani in Hardback

  11. The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, best Advent and Christmas book out there!

  12. Adventio5:31 AM

    The sermons of St. Francis de Sales for Advent/Christmas. TAN Books.

  13. Anonymous6:59 AM

    A beautiful book (in 3 tomes) I recently discovered in the guests library in the abbaye of Fontgombault is 'on life and christian virtues' by Msr Charles Gay. Written in the 1870s, this book is really a treasure to learn to shape life into Christ. When coming back I located it and downloaded free from copyright at, there are both french and english versions

  14. Crusading Medievalist2:21 PM

    Robert Hugh Benson, "Lord of the World."

  15. Benedicta2:34 PM

    Union with God: Letters of Spiritual Direction of Dom Marmion is one of my favorite books

  16. "The Reed of God" by Caryll Houselander

  17. For the itinerant traditionalist - The Liber Usualis (1953 Belgium) from St Bonaventure Publications or from neri Publications (1952 Intro' Solesmes)
    Fits beautifully in the handluggage. Sounds glorious when opened and chanted, solo or in choir.

  18. Ferraiuolo12:04 AM

    I second Carl Vdw on The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori. Truly anything by this marvelous doctor of the Church is worthy of being read. But for this season approaching perhaps this.

  19. Steve1:25 AM

    Pere Lamy by Comte Paul Biver.

  20. "Christ in His Mysteries", Bl. Columba Marmion, OSB

  21. Anonymous5:55 AM

    "Bethlehem" by Fr. Fredrick William Faber (TAN Books) is one of my all-time favorite Advent Books

  22. I highly recommend the new publication/subscription "Laudamus Te". I purchased some for my parish, and regret I didn't order more. Splendid work in fostering a spirituality based on the ancient Mass.

  23. Anonymous1:33 PM

    Perdonate l'OT

    per darvi notizie quasi in diretta sulla Santa Messa di Gesù e Maria a Roma.

    Deo Gratias! Speriamo fino in fondo, alla conclusione definitiva...

  24. James I. McAuley3:21 PM

    If you can find this book, God In Me, A Popular Explanation of Sanctifying Grace by Matthew M. Swizdor, O.F.M. Conv. from 1959. It is very well illustrated and the best book on explaining the effects of mortal and venial sin. It was designed for teenagers, but is easy and good for adults to read. I highly recommend it,and wish one of our traditional publishers would republish it.

  25. I just got reminded that I don't have any Catholic family or relations to give any presents too.

    Gee, thanks a lot, New Catholic. Merry Christmas to you too.

    (Just kidding, about the bitterness that is.)

  26. Anonymous9:20 PM

    The Cradle of Reddemin gLove, by John Saward

  27. Anonymous9:22 PM

    Oops: bad spelling:

    "The Cradle of Redeeming Love" by John Saward


  28. Truth Seeker10:52 PM

    THE WINTER PASCHA by V. Rev. Thomas Hopko, which covers Advent through 2 February.

  29. Since I run a bookstore which is connected to a FSSP apostolate I know which books have been very helpful to people at this time of Advent. Divine Intimacy is really wonderful - any time of year, Reed of God is an incredible meditation/read, and I am looking forward to our Holy Father's new book on Our Lord's Infancy. There are also several books which are particular meditation books for Advent - St. Francis de Sales; Bossuet, Fulton Sheen etc. There are so many wonderful books - I only wish I had more time to read!

  30. RecoveringNovusOrdo2:30 AM

    This is a repeat, but well worth the second mention: Bishop Fulton Sheen's masterpiece: The Life of Christ,

  31. At present I'm reading "Liberalism is a sin" by Dr. Don Felix Sarda Y Salvany in detail. It is a must-read book. It would be suitable for Advent because it is conducive to serious self-examination and to "staightening" one's paths, hence penitential.

    It is also useful for understanding why the ideology of Vatican II was so successful, and why seemingly strong orthodox structures were so easily demolished in the wake of the council. Written in Spanish in 1886 and translated into English a few years later, the book contains a very clear exposition of Modernism and modernists in the Church in the late 19th century. Although a strong movement even then, it was successfully resisted, particularly by Pope Pius IX and his "Syllabus of Errors", written in 1864.

    The tables were turned less than a hundred years later when the modernists gained the upper hand and the rest, as we know only too well, is history.

  32. For those who are able to read in portuguese, Robert de Mattei's "O Concílio Vaticano II - Uma História Nunca Escrita" is a fascinating book, essential to understand how the enemy penetrated and acted inside the walls of the Church. The author reports all the facts with great objectivity, almost as if he was writing a police report. A reading sometimes painful, but always very interesting.

  33. juliano3:39 PM

    Thomas Merton's Ascent to Truth.

  34. Michael8:51 PM

    very. good book is the autobiography. of a haunted priest by john Gerard

  35. Michael9:07 PM

    I would highly. recommend a book called. the autobiography. of. a haunted. priest. by john Gerard

  36. Bishop Fulton Sheen's masterpiece: The Life of Christ

    Dear recovering..

    Amen. I read that book a long time ago and I still remember a prepositional phrase from it Like some fragrant trees which bathe in perfume the very axe which gashes them...

    If is a profound work, beautifully written.

  37. I would avoid anything by Thomas Merton. He was more Zen-catholic than Traditional.

  38. Gratias6:01 AM

    I learned about this book here at Rorate, and enjoyed it:
    The Cypresses believe in God: Spain in the even of Civil War. By José María Gironella, published by Ignatius Press. It is part of a trilogy that includes One Million Dead and Peace after War. wonderful reading if you have the time.

    Should you want a concise version of how the socialists tried to destroy the Catholic Church read The Last Crusade: Spain 1936 by Warren H. Carroll.

  39. Anonymous9:42 PM


    Read the book and judge for yourself. I dislike in general Thomas Merton, but this book is not tainted with orientalism. It is a sound explanation of the doctrine of S. John of the Cross.


  40. Anonymous9:43 PM


    Read the book and judge for yourself. I dislike Thomas Merton in general, but this book is not tainted with orientalism. It is a sound explanation of the doctrine of S. John of the Cross.


  41. Anthony Esolen's brilliant translation of 'Inferno', 'Purgatory', and 'Paradise'; Dante's 'Divine Comedy'. You still have to get in in three pieces, maybe someday they'll put them in one - but finally a Faithful Catholic has translated the masterpiece into English so that, at last, the translator isn't fighting with the author.

    Includes Dore's engravings. Esolen's English translation gives the reader who a rich poetic enjoyment and the notes are extensive with a great scriptural and traditional expertise.

  42. Romano Guardini's "The Lord." Praised by a rather diverse group of people, including the Pope. A beautiful translation job too.

    CC Martindale's "Faith of the Roman Church," out of print but makes you realize how 'not dry' and contemporarily relevant some neoscholasticism actually in fact was. Martindale was a chaplian in WWII I believe.

    Maisie Ward's "Splendor of the Rosary." Reportedly the book she put more heart in than any other. It shows.

  43. Maeana8:44 PM

    Not exactly a book, but if you'd like some beautiful Advent music to read by, "Advent at Ephesus" by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles is truly beautiful. You can get it at their site or at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Ignatius Press, etc.

  44. Anonymous1:42 AM

    Avancini and Challonger meditations on the life the the Lord, with original illustrations (engravings)
    Lost my copies and still miss them

  45. cyrillist5:32 PM

    Three excellent books were published in 2012:

    Black Legends and the Light of the World, by John Rao

    Liberty, the God That Failed, by Christopher Ferrara

    The Tragedy of King Lewis the Sixteenth, by David Lane


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