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By John Bookser Feister

Finding the Right Stuff on the Web

Q U I C K S C A N

Getting to the Source
Web Pick
Check Out


Magisterium. The word, sometimes in contention these days, refers to the teaching office of the Church. As Internet publishing grows, many are turning to the Web to find out what the Church teaches. How is a surfer to judge what’s authentic?

The office of teaching is entrusted to bishops. Yet bishops don’t act alone. Often they turn to theologians for help in conveying truth as times change. Teachers, writers, publishers and others, too, help teach the faith widely, increasingly on the Web.

Today’s searcher confronts a confusing array of options, with some sites claiming to be more authentically Catholic than others. Internet aside, it’s a problem as old as the Church itself!


Getting to the Source

Here’s a cautious—and not the only—approach for finding trustworthy Catholic content. A good starting point is your parish site. Next would be the Web site of your diocese. There is an up-to-date list of diocesan sites (almost all have one) at the site of the newly renamed U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, usccb.org.

From your diocesan Web site you may find links to sites deemed reliable by your bishop’s staff. Don’t be surprised if the list is short; most dioceses are just beginning to develop linking policies. The best diocesan sites provide outlets for the bishop to teach widely. A good example is Chicago Cardinal Francis George’s Dwell in My Love: A Pastoral Letter on Racism at archdiocese-chgo.org.

The U.S. bishops’ conference site, usccb.org, has a searchable version of the Catechism and the New American Bible. You can also find updates on the work of the bishops in areas of liturgy, social policy and more. The most popular spot on the site is the daily readings from the U.S. Lectionary.

The Canadian Catholic Conference has a fine site at cccb.ca, with links to other conferences.

At Vatican.va, site of the Holy See, you can search through all of the documents of Vatican II, most of the writings of recent popes, news from Vatican Information Service and Vatican Radio. There’s also archival material from the Vatican collection, as well as statements on various issues from the Roman curia.



Web Pick

www.catholic-extension.org
The Catholic Extension Society supports Catholic mission work in America. This newly redesigned site blends well the quality of Extension magazine with Web opportunities for weekly meditations, online giving, Web “retro vintage” prayer cards and archive searching.

Check Out

PARISH
www.stmonicaparishindy.org
Maintained by parish “webdisciples,” this site focuses on catechetics and interaction. Streaming audio of the weekly Gospel and homily gives Mass participants a second chance to pay attention! St. Monica’s is a parish of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

MEDIA
www.everythingcatholic.org
Here’s a newcomer, partnering with the Florida Catholic diocesan newspaper to present bona fide Catholic information. Their stated goal: “Presenting authentic Roman Catholic sites and resources will offset the confusion and misinformation now available.”

INSPIRATION
www.thirdway.com
This sophisticated, beautiful and extensive site from the Mennonites emphasizes ways to make peace at home and in society. Mennonites, like their Amish cousins, find pacifism, St. Francis’ “third way,” as the truest expression of gospel values.

 


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