While Catholic books are difficult to define and market, they all have a similar theme, which focuses on a general faith in God, human frailty, and the redemption of the character. Not all books in this group have themes based solely on the Catholic Church and religion, but all reveal some aspect of the teachings of the Church. There are almost as many genres of Catholic fiction as genres appearing in other forms of literature. One can find suggested reading lists in a number of places including websites, Catholic newspapers, and through this or her parish priest. Catholic books may include categories from science fiction to horror and romance to mysteries.
The main focus of Catholic mystery and crime novels is to infuse the ideas of hope with the aid of faith in solving a problem. Non-Catholic fiction mysteries exclude these elements, and the characters attempt to resolve the situation based solely on their own talents. Some novels present a member of the clergy as the main character while others do not. In any case, the main characters possess virtuous qualities that are in direct contrast to the sins committed by the perpetrators.
One would consider science fiction a questionable category for Catholic readers due to the themes presented. The contrary is true, and the Catholic Church encourages the faithful to explore themes such as the apocalypse, prophecies, and mythology. These can include novels about situations in the future or some mythological place. A common theme suggests the struggles of the human race in confronting the problems of science versus morality. One of this category’s most prolific authors is Gene Wolfe, who wrote the series “The Litany of the Long Sun.”
The horror category of Catholic fiction centers on supernatural beings such as vampires, persons afflicted with some super natural power, or possession. Like other categories, themes revolve around the character’s struggle between his or her evil nature and the inherent goodness of those who may be harmed. The situations are usually resolved through the character’s faith in Christ and God. Some authors in this category include Dean Koontz, Phil Rickman, and Krisi Keley.
Catholic fiction romance novels present themes about family, marriage, morality and lust. Some novels focus solely on the traditional ideas of marriage and the roles husbands and wives play within that relationship. Characters answer questions about choosing the proper mate or controlling inappropriate desires. The main theme in this category is that all characters possess a high level of faith in solving problems pertaining to sin.