100 Catholic Novels Concept Document

An admittedly subjective trek through 100+ works of Catholic fiction endeavoring to discover what makes it awesome, contribute to the conversation about fictional literature and the Church, and empower others to think and talk about these things.

I. Mission

I (Dan) intend to gather a small-to-medium group of people, and together we will discuss and dissect, in admittedly subjective fashion, the awesomeness and room-for-improvement of 100 Catholic Novels, in order to:

1. Discover Catholic fiction that is new or new to us

Part of the point here is discovery of new and awesome literature! We are hoping for new and exciting things. We are attempting to get a representative sample of novels since approximately 1800, and of countries represented, especially outside of the USA and UK.

We restrict our search primarily to Catholic novels. Novel here means a work of narrative prose fiction 50,000 words or longer. Catholic here means Church-touched or Church-tinged, whether or not such theming is "on the nose." "Genre" vs "literary" fiction distinctions have no bearing on our list.

While we acknowledge a number of beautiful ideas and writings in several Protestant-written novels, we focus on fiction tinged by experiences of Christ in the Catholic Church, or concerned with the same, not on Christian fiction more generally.

2. Contribute to the discussion of art and literature in the Roman Catholic Church

We want to dissect each novel in such a way as to discuss what makes it "good art", and how its beauty reveals and interacts with truth and goodness. We want to find out what works, what doesn't, and why, without necessarily expecting that all involved will agree.

3. Examine and contemplate the relationship between Catholic faith, reason, and story

Furthermore, we want to understand what the work says about God and our relationship with Him, and how our faith generally interacts with fictional narratives. On this point we would of course draw more connections between individual authors, their relationship to the faith, etc.

It may go without saying, but in service of a holistic critique, points (2) and (3) remain, although distinct, much more directly related than any others on this list.

4. Empower and encourage others both inside and outside the Church to do the same

Lastly, we want to do all of this in such a way that the material can be accessible. We want people who are within the Church to be empowered to think about these things along with us. What we want is that others will be empowered to join and continue our conversation.

We believe that if Catholic imaginative literature is in fact dead or dying as certain scholarly types assert, we would like a revival, and that if it is, on the other hand, still alive, we'd like it to stay that way.

II. Method

III. Novels

The planned 100+ Novels, listed first in order of author's first name, then in order of year or publication.

Almost certainly, I'm missing some books! Please fill me in if I am.

IV. Contact

If this sounds like something you want to be involved in, please feel free to hit me up at kkairos@gmail.com. You can also find me on reddit. No subreddit or Discord server exists for this as of yet, but I've posted this preliminary list on r/CatholicBookClub.