There has been an explosion of Catholic content on line since recent popes began calling for a “new evangelization”. Here are some suggestions for reading, viewing, listening and, of course, downloading. There are many more; if you would like to add to this page, please get in touch.
Bishop Robert Barron, S.T.D., is the founder of Word On Fire Catholic ministries, a former rector of Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, theologian, author of several books, creator of the Catholicism and Pivotal Players series as well as other videos, and currently serves as an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles. He also hosts a weekly podcast called the Word On Fire Show.
Fr. Mike Schmitz has many videos on YouTube. He may also be found at BulldogCatholic.org, the Newman Society blog for the University of Minnesota Duluth (where he serves as chaplain) and on Ascension Presents which provides a wealth of video and podcast links. Fr. Schmitz’ videos are grounded in everyday experience.
Fr. Leo Patalinghug is a member of a community of consecrated life called Voluntas Dei. He is also a famous speaker and author, and appears often on TV. He also break dances, does martial arts, and is a terrific cook. Many videos of his speaking appearances, particularly to youth groups, are available on YouTube.
Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., is a former president of Gonzaga University and currently president of the Magis Center. He is a prolific author and appears in many YouTube videos, as well as on EWTN.
Fr. James Mallon is pastor of St. Benedict Parish in Halifax, founder and chair of the board of the JP II Media Institute, author of Divine Renovation: From A Maintenance To A Missional Parish, and creator of two DVD series. Many of his videos may be enjoyed on YouTube.
Dr. Peter Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King’s College. He is also a noted speaker and author of several books of Christian philosophy, theology and apologetics. Watch a video about his conversion to Catholicism on YouTube.
Dr. Scott Hahn is a prolific author and speaker, and holds the Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He has spoken often of his conversion to Catholicism and offers a weekly podcast.
Dr. Tim Gray holds a PhD in Biblical Studies from Catholic University of America. He is President of the Augustine Institute, an MA program in Sacred Scripture and Evangelization and Catechesis in Denver, as well as professor of Sacred Scripture at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker and has filmed numerous series for EWTN.
Dr. Edward Sri is a theologian, author and speaker who appears regularly on EWTN. He is also the host of the film series Symbolon: The Catholic Faith Explained (Augustine Institute) and the presenter of several faith formation film series. He is a founding leader with Curtis Martin of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) and serves as a professor of theology and Vice-President of Mission and Outreach at the Augustine Institute in Denver.
Matthew Kelly is a speaker, author, and “founder of The Dynamic Catholic Institute, a Cincinnati-based non-profit organization whose mission is to re-energize the Catholic Church in America by developing world-class resources that inspire people to rediscover the genius of Catholicism”. One of his books, Rediscover Catholicism, has been studied at St. Emile Parish. Look for Matthew Kelly on YouTube.
All of the evangelists listed above are present on YouTube; just search for their names. Many are also found on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and some host podcasts.
Other suggestions on YouTube include G.K. Chesterton audio books and very early BBC Radio transmissions of Chesterton speaking. Bishop Fulton Sheen is available in both audio and video formats. A number of lectures by Dr. Ralph McInerny, professor of philosophy at Notre Dame University, are also available.
Look, too, for Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Charles Chaput, Fr. George Coyne, Fr. Matt Hartley (RCIA), and Fr. Ronald Rolheiser.
Check out Theology on Tap (Orange County), netnewyork, Alpha, Napa Institute, Magis Center, FOCUS, Companions of the Cross, Steubenville Conference, Christ the King Productions, Redeemed on Line, St. Paul Center, Institute of Catholic Culture, Salesians, Busted Halo, xt3dotcom, Salt and Light, EWTN, and Word on Fire.
Search for any of these on YouTube, then look at suggested videos off to the side to find even more. YouTube is also a great place to listen to Christian, and specifically Catholic, music; look at the music page on this site for suggestions.
If you particularly like someone’s videos, click “subscribe”. Then, when you open YouTube, you will find recent videos from your subscriptions lined up for viewing.
One cautionary note: you will trip over lots of anti-Catholic rhetoric. Just say a prayer for them and move on.
Word on Fire Digital provides unlimited access to all videos and study packages (not including printed materials) from Word on Fire Catholic ministries, including the Catholicism, Mass, Conversion, and Pivotal Players series. New video series from Bishop Robert Barron are released here first. Bishop Barron’s free YouTube videos are not included. Note that the cost is in U.S. dollars, so figure on banking fees and currency conversion.
Pureflix offers entertainment — television shows and movies — which are explicitly and generically Christian or simply inoffensive to Christian sensibilities — hence Pureflix. You will never have to cover the kids’ eyes. Check out their “featured” page for an idea of what’s on offer. Note that the cost is in U.S. dollars, so figure on banking fees and currency conversion.
Chastity Project “exists to promote the virtue of chastity so that individuals can see God, and be free to love”. The site tackles such issues as dating, sexuality, and friendship. There are seminars and blogs whose contributors include a large number of young Catholics.
Life Teen “is a movement within the Roman Catholic Church” the purpose of which is to lead “teenagers and their families into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church”. Life Teen offers blogs on life as a Catholic teen or college student.
NET Ministries of Canada is about mission, about “spreading the love of God to youth around the country”.
NET Ministries “challenges young Catholics to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church”. Don’t miss the site’s blog!
Ascension is loaded with videos, articles, and podcasts on just about every aspect of living the Catholic life.
Catholic School of Evangelization (CSE) is “a lay ministry focused on living the Gospel in community and proclaiming it through the ministry of evangelization”. Check out their site for information on camps and retreats.
Vatican. Don’t go to strangers for information about Pope Francis and his predecessors. Don’t believe what others say about what the popes have said or written; read it for yourself instead on the Vatican web site. The Catechism is there, as are all the papal encyclicals. If you don’t like to read on your computer, but own a digital reader like Kindle or Kobo, download Calibre for free and create your own e-books from Vatican or Gutenberg documents. Why pay when you can create a perfect copy for free?
Word On Fire. Word on Fire Catholic Ministries was started by Fr. Robert Barron over a decade ago in Chicago to spread the Word of God using new technology. The site contains a large and growing collection of videos, articles, and homilies.
Salt and Light Catholic Media runs many of its television shows on its web site. It is a great place to keep up with Church news, as well.
Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), like Salt and Light, runs many of its shows on its web site, and has its own news show. It also has a text and audio library well worth a visit.
Coming Home Network. The Coming Homing Network is dedicated to bringing back Catholics who have left and speaking to Protestants about the Catholic faith. The site is replete with conversion stories. Some of its content is available only to members and, while it is free to register, you will receive lots of e-mail asking you to join for a yearly fee. If you don’t join, your membership continues anyway, and eventually the e-mails asking you to join stop. The content makes this site worth the trouble of joining. Their guide to reading the Catechism and entire Bible in one year is worth downloading; fill out the form to download it for free.
Catholic Answers exists “to explain and defend the Faith.” It offers a wide range of resources both for believers and for those beginning to investigate Catholicism. The user can read, watch video, or even listen to radio. Topics covered include the sacraments, the Bible, apologetics, the liturgy, and much, much more.
Decent Films is a film review site from Steven D. Greydanus, a professional film critic and permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Newark. In addition to providing commentary on popular contemporary films, Deacon Steven rates movies according to “artistic/entertainment value”, “moral/spiritual value”, and “age appropriateness”. The section “caveat spectator” (spectator beware) is of particular use to parents.
Faith and Reason at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio offers “numerous videos from the world’s top Catholic scholars, thinkers, and leaders, plus articles, blog posts, and more”. Contributors include faculty members such as Dr. Scott Hahn. Content is theologically rich, thoughtful and thought-provoking.
Podcasts are available in both audio and video formats. Try these out:
Pray As You Go provides a daily, 12-minute Lectio Divina meditation on one of the daily readings.
Catholic Stuff You Should Know is hosted by four priests from the Archdiocese of Denver.
St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology is a “non-profit research and educational institute that promotes life-transforming Scripture study in the Catholic tradition.”
Busted Halo is dedicated to answering questions, especially the ones we’re hesitant to ask and particularly for the young. Fr. Dave Dwyer does the podcasts.
Search the internet for “Catholic podcasts”. You will be amazed at the results.
There are a large number of Catholic apps designed to provide easy access to documents and prayers and even to assist in preparing for Confession. Some work on Apple products such as iPhone and iPad, while others are created for Android (non-Apple phones or tablets) or for PCs (personal computers using Microsoft software). Many are distributed in formats suitable for all devices; you just need to select the correct download link. Catholic Apptitude (a site published by Jennifer Kane, a secular Carmelite) provides a number of suggestions, many of which are free (though not all).
Laudate has been recommended by one of our parishioners. If you can recommend any others, please share the information here.
Calibre is the essential tool to create your own e-books from web pages or text files. There is a bit of a learning curve, but it’s not too steep. Just install Calibre on your PC, create your books, and place the resultant file in the correct folder on your reader. (For instance, when creating books for Kindle, the newly-created .mobi file must be copied to the documents directory on the Kindle using file explorer.)
Christian writers in the public domain whose books are now available in electronic format on sites like Gutenberg (.org, .ca, .au, etc) or EWTN include G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson, Cardinal Henry Newman, Thomas à Kempis, and Hilaire Belloc.
A note about Gutenberg. The Gutenberg sites tend not to duplicate effort, so you may have to check more than one site to find what you’re looking for. The American site, Gutenberg.org, is easiest to navigate and provides most books in several formats. The Canadian site, Gutenberg.ca, is much more difficult to use because the index is actually all on one page (try ctrl-F), but Canadian copyright laws are more lax, providing access to books not yet in the public domain in other jurisdictions. (Some of those books will disappear, however, should Canada become part of a Trans-Pacific Partnership.)
Note that it may be disconcerting to find that many Church doctors are not freely available on line, but remember that we are usually looking for recent translations of their works rather than the originals. However, if you don’t mind dated English, Aquinas, Anselm, Augustine, and many more are available.
Check out the library page on this web site for more suggestions and links.
AppleTV works well for YouTube and podcasts. The links appear on the main screen and they are easy to use. Note that you must be logged in to the iTunes Store to save your own podcasts, but if it is a free podcast like the Word On Fire Show or Bishop Barron’s homilies, you really won’t be charged.
Roku streaming stick is less expensive and provides absolutely free and total access to both Salt and Light and EWTN — no cable account required.
You must have a more recent TV (think flat screen) with an hdmi connection for Roku or AppleTV. You do not, however, need a “smart TV”.
And finally a word about free content and content for sale. While on-line evangelists are engaged in spreading the Gospel, they do need to eat and pay for plane tickets. Also, new content can be very expensive to create; current projects often fund subsequent projects, so many sites combine both free and paid content. Nevertheless, the free content can provide some helpful previews to assist you in deciding where best to spend your money.