Francis Ripley was a frequent giver of parish retreats: a series of sermons and liturgies run by a visiting preacher to renew the spiritual life of the parish. This is his background; to modern ears, he can seem a touch brisk. We may think Letter to the Lapsed dismisses objections and problems a little too easily; but this, in its time, was the expected tone of the clergy to the laity.
Twelve Steps to the Catholic Church, despite its title, has nothing to do with the “twelve step” spirituality associated with Alcoholics Anonymous. Instead, it is a type of remarkably compressed shorthand apologetic that makes considerable demands of its readers. This technique was pioneered by another CTS author, the Jesuit CC Martindale, although it finds its ultimate source in seminary manuals.
Signposts to the Church, a more expansive text, is a fine example of the sort of back-of-a-fag-packet apologetics that was the stock-in-trade of Catholic evangelisation at this time.