Exploring Catholic Education: The Go-To Books and Digital Resources

Education plays a vital role in nurturing an individual's spiritual, intellectual, and moral development. A Catholic education or faith-based education encompasses the principles, values, and teachings of the Catholic Church while remaining academically challenging. To truly understand and appreciate the depth of religious education based on the values of the Catholic church, it's important to understand not only the main principles of Catholicism, including its virtue-based approach but also the wide range of literature and digital resources that can provide guidance and valuable insights.

Here is a curated collection of books, digital resources, and main catholic values to enrich and deepen your understanding of the Catholic church and Catholic education.

How Puzzle and Games Can Enrich Religious Education

When exploring Catholic education, it is essential to consider a wide range of resources that engage students and promote their intellectual growth. In addition to the books and digital platforms, we'll cover on this list; another overlooked yet stimulating resource is the humble crossword puzzle. Teachers can use crosswords to encourage students to delve into various aspects of Catholic Education, like biblical stories, moral values, sacraments, or saints, or for a bit of lighthearted fun, where faith, popular culture, and history meet practicing Catholics could try out the Florida Catholic's Catholic Crosswords. Games and puzzles, in general, are a great resource to actively engage students in learning about Catholic principles, all while having fun.

5 Main Principles of Catholic Education & Faith

The Catholic church has a long history of social teaching and sharing through principles rooted in scripture, which have evolved over time in response to modern challenges and changes. Here are some of the foundational pillars at the heart of catholic education and faith.


Catholics believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, which Scripture upholds. Catholic education emphasizes the pursuit and understanding of truth, encouraging individuals to seek truth in all aspects of their life, following the idea that Jesus Christ is the ultimate source of truth.


Social responsibility is a hugely important pillar of the catholic faith. Individuals are taught to recognize the dignity and worth of every person created in the image of God. Catholic social teachings, in particular, promote justice, equality, and solidarity. Calling individuals to actively engage in community and social issues. Justice goes away beyond legal fairness, focusing on building a just and compassionate society for all parts of divine filiation.


Love for one another is another important principle taught freely, especially the commandment to love God and one's neighbor. Love is seen as the ultimate expression of God's nature and the basis for Christian values, which include commitments to actively serving and caring for others with love.


The Catholic faith believes that human life is sacred and that everything should be done to uphold, support, and nurture human life; every life is precious.

Family & Community

Family and our communities are the cornerstone of our lives and, therefore, should be celebrated and nurtured. Catholic education believes in helping individuals grow in the community. This is done by giving every member the space to exercise their right and duty to actively participate in society for the common good.

The Best Catholic Education Books

With the main Catholic principles in mind, here are some books to deepen your knowledge of Catholic education.

To Teach as Jesus Did: A Pastoral Message on Catholic Education

A Foundational text laid out at the 1972 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provides a comprehensive overview of Catholic education's goals and principles.


The Case for Catholic Education by Ryan. N.S

This a great book for leaders and teachers to begin reclaiming the principles of Catholic pedagogy, explaining the purposes of Catholic education. The importance of virtue over self-esteem and the true elements of a common core curriculum that nurtures learning.


Handbook for Catholic Moms by Lisa M. Hendey.

There are tons of fantastic resources for parents committed to faith. Lisa M. Hendey's beautiful book teaches Catholic moms how to look after themselves first, making it easier for them to love and care for their families, communities, and Churches through personal stories and Scripture references.


The Holy See's Teaching On Catholic Schools edited by ARCHBISHOP J. MICHAEL MILLER, C.S.B

A compilation of lecture notes providing an in-depth exploration of official documents, speeches, and teachings from the Vatican regarding Catholic schools. This resource aims to outline the roles of the Church in assisting Catholic families in education and essential tips for helping young people be good citizens of the world through God's vision.


Educating in Christ by Gerard O’Shea

Educating in Christ for parents, catechists, teachers, and Catholic school administrators covers the essential practical and theoretical elements of a successful religious education. You can find age-appropriate activities and an outline of each religious developmental stage.


Fantastic Digital Resources for Catholic Education

Digital resources for Catholic education can provide a valuable and innovative way to enhance students' learning and spiritual development within the Catholic faith. Explore this list of resources to foster a deeper connection to the Church.

USCCB Catholic Education

The official website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provides resources, articles, and guidelines for Catholic educators, administrators, and parents.


Catholic Education Resource Center (CERC)

CERC is an online platform offering a vast collection of articles, essays, and resources covering various Catholic education and faith topics.


Loyola Press

Loyola Press provides an array of educational resources, including lesson plans, videos, interactive activities, and books, to support Catholic educators in their mission to guide others.


Sophia Institute for Teachers

Created by teachers, for teachers, the Sophia Institute offers online courses, articles, and other resources to help Catholic educators deepen their understanding of the faith and integrate it into their teaching.


Sadlier Religion

If you need tested resources, Sadlier Religion catechetical and Catholic schools' programs include seasonal textbooks, digital content, and online resources for teachers and students in English and Spanish.


Exploring Controversies and Conversations In Catholic Education

While the Catholic church has a rich tradition of established teachings, some topics can generate sensitive debates and differing viewpoints within the community. With that in mind, here are some topics that have recently generated controversies and conversations within Catholic education.

Banning of Harry Potter Books

Removing the Harry Potter series books from a Catholic School in Nashville rocked the ministry, with some labeling the move as ridiculous. Nevertheless, Rev. Dan Reehil, a pastor at the Roman Catholic parish school, wrote in an email that they were removed from the school library because of their content of curses and spells that could potentially conjure evil spirits in the wrong hands. The Catholic Church doesn't have an official position on these particular books, and it's up to the school's pastor and parents to decide what content is appropriate.

Conscience Rights

Conscience rights protect an individual's deeply held moral or religious beliefs from being compromised or violated by laws, regulations, or policies. These rights recognize that individuals should be able to act by their own conscience, free from coercion or infringement by the state or other entities. As controversies happen within Catholic education, many discussions around conscience rights have happened, discussing the rhetoric of whether the Catholic theology of conciseness that says it is the opposite of disobedience is upheld in the private sector.

Culture Shifts

As culture shifts to become more welcoming of trans rights, gender theory, and embracing cancel culture, the Catholic church sometimes struggles to keep up, and in fact, many question whether "wokeism" causes harm to Christ's mission. In Worcester, Masacchettus, one school was barred from identifying as Catholic after flying a gay pride and BLM flag on school grounds. While many Catholics support these missions, others believe they are anti-catholic and deflect against the church's true messages.


The abundance of literature and digital resources available for Catholic education is a treasure trove for educators, administrators, parents, and anyone curious about the subject. It offers a chance to explore and profoundly understand Catholic education's principles, values, and teachings. Whether through books or digital platforms, these resources allow us to deepen our knowledge and appreciation and ultimately enhance practice. Engaging with these materials is a rewarding endeavor supporting individuals' spiritual and intellectual growth in faithful ministry regardless of your thoughts on controversial topics.


About the Author

Sarah Perowne

Sarah Perowne is a language and education specialist with over 10 years of experience in teaching and content creation. She has worked with students of all ages in various teaching methods, including those with disabilities and ASD. She sports an acute knowledge and skillset in teaching English as a second/foreign language (ESL) English Language Arts and creating content for online teaching resources, articles, and podcasts.

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