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Some Decent (and free) Theology Sources for People on the Go


No time to read Summa Theologica? Having a tough time refreshing your spiritual life with new material? Bored, Catholic, and in front of a computer? Tired of this election season and looking for a way to help yourself escape for a while? Starving for some good thought-provoking material that also revitalizes the soul? Well, it is a good thing you found this post because I have got some ideas for you! Audiobooks, podcasts, articles, etc about all things good and Catholic? You name it, I've found a free (and legal) way of getting them!

I'll start with my favorite New Evangelization heavy-hitter...


I cannot say enough great things about Bishop Barron. I have an intellectual crush on him and when I was fortunate enough to meet him last year, I could not contain myself. I fangirled to the point of embarrassment as I heaped on the praise for his work, which was incredibly useful in terms of lunchroom apologetics and enabling me to make sense of the tough theological questions I've encountered over the years. Bishop Barron explains everything eloquently from a Catholic as well as secular perspective manner. He gives you the history, the science, the biography, word origins, etc. whenever he explains scripture and can pack a lot of information into a 15-minute Word on Fire podcast. His homilies are definitely worth more investigation if you haven't yet become a Barronite Catholic. There's also videos, lectures, podcasts, and a lot of other good stuff. 
One of my favorite theologians of all time.

The New York Public Library (or your own public library)

I love the library and consider libraries to be one of the pillars of a good society. An informed and educated population is a good population and one that is less likely to be taken advantage of and less likely to be swayed by yellow journalism parading as fact (*cough* aka most of mainstream media during election years *cough*). I am a huge proponent of audiobooks and have downloaded many over the years and they have been instrumental in refreshing my brain when it was drowning in monotonous tasks and endless scientific journal articles over the years. Libraries also have digital books that you can easily transfer to an e-reader or phone. In my experience, the selection of Catholic books tends to be limited. However, I have managed to read/listen to the books of the Bible as well as works by Pope Francis, Scott Hahn, C.S. Lewis, G.K.Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and quite a few others over the years. And one great thing about libraries is that they save you a small fortune if you, like me, love audiobooks. Holy moly, audiobooks can be expensive!

Librivox is a great resource for free public domain audiobooks. This site is a labor of love, where volunteers record and upload public domain books that you can then download and listen to at your leisure.What kinds of books can you find here? Well, one that comes to mind is George MacDonald's Phantastes. I don't think George MacDonald can ever get enough credit for influencing greats such as C.S.Lewis or Tolkien...and his writing is wonderful. You can also find G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown series among many, many others. Seriously, if you ever get bored, just start searching for classics. The two caveats I have with this particular source is that available works are limited to older material with expired copyrights (alas, very little to no works by Tolkien or C.S. Lewis) and that some audiobook narrators aren't that great (all respect to them for their pro bono work, but some voices/breathing patterns/etc. just make it difficult for me to listen to some files). There are some duplicate recordings up if you don't like the way a particular audiobook rendition sounds, but I wouldn't bank on it for every work you may want to read.

Facebook

If you haven't already started following me on Facebook, here's your chance to like. Shameless plug aside, Facebook has been a great source for me in my efforts to stay up to date on all things good and Catholic. I follow a number of Catholic writers, blogs, missions, orders, religious figures, etc. on Facebook and it is refreshing to see their posts among the countless tirades for or against *enter candidate/party/cause here*. I also get to stay up to date on events going on elsewhere in the world. More importantly, if you follow the right people and groups, you can sometimes get your Catholic news before the networks get to it. That being said, you can actually read transcripts of Pope Francis's in-flight interviews before the networks put a spin on them. I can't really list all my favorites, but can give you a few good wild cards to follow such as Catholic Engineers, The American Chesterton Society, and The Catholic Gentleman

I know you've probably found some of these sources yourself before, but consider taking a look at anything I've mentioned that you haven't yet explored in depth. With a bit of time and effort, you can find something for your brain (and soul) to nibble on as you wait in traffic, enjoy some quiet time, walk you dog, jog at the gym...and keep yourself from drowning in what has to be one of the worst election seasons I've ever experience. Oy Vey. November 8th cannot come and go soon enough. 

Pax Vobiscum

2 comments:

  1. Hey! If you're looking for more good podcasts, there are a ton of really good ones out there right now! I've got a list I try to share with everyone who expresses an interest:

    Catholic Stuff you should know: Two dudes, not always the same two dudes, but you get their personalities etc. They're all priests, they drink scotch, they talk about some topic (in the title of each post). It can be kinda bullshitty at times, but theres almost always something good

    Lanky Guys (THIS IS YOUR BIBLE STUDY PODCAST): A priest and a (lay) theologian talk about the sunday readings in DEPTH, and I mean in DEPTH, but they keep it light. They make connections I can't even dream of, really good if you want to ponder the sunday readings (or if you want to sound smart at bible study!)

    Three Dogs North: Conversation podcast between a group of priests/deacons/seminarians. Not often topical. Their tagline is "come for the banter, stay for the nugs", nugs being their "nuggets of wisdom".

    Fr. Mike Schmitz: Sunday sermons (posted the tues/wed after he gives them. He's super good at making it sorta age-appropriate. He's also very good at "awe", where most of the previous ones are more academic/conversational. He's also got a youtube channel.

    Word on Fire (sermons): Other sunday sermons, always 15 mins, always have to listen to them twice. They're PACKED. Bishop barron is my spirit animal. He's a genius. If you want to get a flavor for him, you should listen to the Three dogs north podcasts that he's in ("the one with Fr. Barron")

    Word on Fire (Show): Topics-based show with Bishop Barron, one of the recent ones about "The five things we can learn from the woman at the well" is INSANELY good, maybe the best spiritual podcast episode I've ever listened to.

    Interfaith voices: Sister Maureen Fiedler takes you through some interfaith topic each week. More like an NPR show, sometimes very revealing, excellent for conversations etc. I will point out that she doesn't often deeply challenge her guests, she's more of a classic moderator most of the time.

    Catholic Answers Live: A radio show that's turned into a podcast for easier consumption. You can choose to listen to them more or less based on the topics in the title. I find the whole program to be very well produced, well researched, and orthodox.

    Helluva Catholic Podcast: It's ok, sometimes funny, and always topics based. The priest is excellent and has good insights, but I find his pedagogical method a little trying. Good content though, if you stick around.

    If I had to pick favorites, like one I couldn't live without, it would be "Catholic Stuff you should know". It's relaxing, and they answer questions about things that everyone has questions about. They're not afraid to go to the mystical occasionally, and they're definitely "my kind of people"

    That being said, if I'm looking for like a tight 15 min podcast it's Bishop. Barron, and if I'm looking for inspiration its Fr. Schmidz, and if I'm looking for academia it's Lanky Guys, and if I'm looking for life advice between catholic dudes it's Three Dogs North etc.

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    Replies
    1. WHOAH! Lots of good ones here! Thanks for sharing! Now I feel ashamed for not having mentioned Fr. Mike Schmidz! You are awesome!

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