Dear Catholic Exchange,
I would like to get information on teen apologetics. I have read many of the books and pamphlets available through my local Catholic bookstore, but I find most of these resources are written for adults. I teach sophomores in high school and would like something for their age group.
Thank you for your help,
Peace in Christ!
Currently there are not many Catholic books in publication on apologetics that are specifically geared for teens. The following is not an exhaustive list, but should be generally quite helpful. Most are not designed as textbooks but they can be adapted for classroom use.
**Best Things in Life, by Peter Kreeft (Intervarsity Press, 1984). This gets the young reader to ask the right questions.
**Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions, by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli (Intervarsity Press, 1994).
**The Case for Christianity, by C. S. Lewis (Broadman & Holman, 2000). A classic. It removes obstacles to faith for non-believers.
**Catholicism and Reason: Creed and Apologetics, by Edward J. Hayes, Paul J. Hayes, and James J. Drummey (C. R. Publications, 1996). Excellent material. The content is especially good, though the presentation is not flashy. It is part of their high school catechetical series.
• Did Adam & Eve Have Bellybuttons . . . And 199 other questions from Catholic Teenagers, by Matthew J. Pinto (Ascension Press, 1998). This is not set up specifically as an apologetics book, but it is a very good resource for questions that teens ask about the faith.
• By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition, by Mark P. Shea (Our Sunday Visitor, 1996).
• This Is My Body: An Evangelical Discovers the Real Presence, by Mark P. Shea (Christendom Press, 1993).
• Catholic for a Reason: Scripture and the Mystery of the Family of God, edited by Scott Hahn (Emmaus Road, 1998).
• Catholic for a Reason II: Scripture and the Mystery of the Mother of God, edited by Leon Suprenant, Jr. (Emmaus Road, 2000).
• Catholic Apologetics: God, Christianity and the Church, Vol. 4, by Fr. John Laux (Tan, 1994). Part of a religion series by Fr. Laux for teens.
• Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians,” by Karl Keating (Ignatius Press 1988).
• What Catholics Really Believe, by Karl Keating (Ignatius Press, 2000).
• Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, by David Currie (Ignatius Press, 1996).
**Beginning Apologetics, a series by Fr. Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham (San Juan Catholic Seminars). This is a series of affordable paperback booklets, most are 40 pages long. The volumes are: (1) “How to Explain and Defend the Catholic Faith” (2) “How to Answer Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons” (2.5) “Yes! You Should Believe in the Trinity” (3) “How do Explain and Defend the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist” (4) “How to Answer Atheists and New Agers” (5) “How to Answer the Tough Moral Questions.” (6) “How to Explain and Defend Marian Doctrines.” There is a study guide titled Study Guide for Beginning Apologetics 1 by Jim Burnham and Steve Wood. The following website for San Juan Catholic Seminars gives more information on this series: http://www.catholicapologetics.com/index01.htm.
You may wish to order books from Benedictus Books at 800-398-5470 (CUF members receive a 10% discount). Online, these titles can be found either at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The titles marked by ** are especially recommended as good places to start and are the resources most accessible to teens. The Beginning Apologetics series is very affordable and is clearly written with beginners in mind. With the study guide, Beginning Apologetics would be quite easily adaptable into a multiple-lesson arrangement for classroom use.
If you have further questions on this or would like more information about Catholics United for the Faith, please contact us at 1-800-MY-FAITH (693-2484). Please keep us in your prayers as we endeavor to “support, defend, and advance the efforts of the teaching Church.”
United in the Faith,
Catholics United for the Faith
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Steubenville, OH 43952
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