I'd like to read and understand Catholic theology, philosophy and Tradition as best as I can.
I'm a biologist and not a philosopher/theologian -- and as such, I cannot (and thus far have not) dedicated massive amounts of time to reading/understanding explicitly the texts and concepts of specific philosophers/theologians in their entirety. I'm not opposed to reading the many influential authors, but given my lack of time to dedicate fully to this endeavor, I'd like to go about reading these authors in the most efficient way, if you will.
My question then: which major texts/authors should I prioritize reading (and in what order) to better grasp the current theology/philosophy of the Catholic faith?
My impression is, that I would benefit greatly reading the following (with supposed additions added in parentheses) in the presented order (first to last):
(Plato) > Aristotle > Irenaeus > Augustine > Aquinas > Ratzinger
Does this seem sensible? Are each of these authors necessary (as I suppose) to truly understand the other? Or can I read Aquinas or Ratzinger (for example) and get a good enough grasp of prior thought/philosophers? Are there other authors that are hugely important that I skipped (e.g., Descartes?)?
Is there a textbook perhaps that anyone can recommend that introduces me to a sensible and necessary reading list or conceptual walkthrough?
(I guess I'm ultimately looking for an "official" list (perhaps from a well-respected textbook, theologian, or the Church itself) vs anecdotal commentary. )