I’ve been reading Francis de Sales’ The Catholic Controversy for some time now. Actually, I found it so interesting that I immediately started re-reading it. What a cool book!
Francis de Sales was a young priest, who at the age of 27 – only about a year after his ordination – took on a daunting mission: to re-evangelize the Chablais region of France that had fully converted to Calvinism. He came to discover that the people there did not want to hear him preach, so he began writing pamphlets or tracts, which he posted on walls and slipped under doors. The technique worked. After four years, almost the entire region of 72,000 people had returned to the Catholic Church.
The tracts have been collected in a single volume and titled The Catholic Controversy. TAN Books has republished the 1886 translation. I highly recommend it, whether you are a Catholic wanting to learn more about your faith or a Protestant trying to understand why the Catholic Church didn’t go along with the so-called “reforms” of the 16th century.
I think that if I’d read this book years ago, I would have likely converted in my teens rather than in my late thirties.