Confused about catholic encyclopedia/sins?

I find it difficult to go to the local priest with my questions, since he’s very liberal and often says things I’m not sure about, so I’ve been turning to the Catechism and the Catholic Encyclopedia for help in my answers, as well as seeking advice from other competent Catholics.

My question though is…I feel really stupid reading the CE! SO many articles are so wordy and scholarly and I don’t understand SO MUCH of it! Then I hear people say the one online is old and a bit out of date? in what places? If I am trying to learn about a topic, how am I to know if it is one of the “out of date” articles or not?

I’ve been relying most heavily on the catechism, but I become very distressed when the matching article in the CE is very long and very complicated. I fear I’m going to misunderstand, ESPECIALLY when an article is describing different “schools of thought” about a certain topic; how am I to know which we’re suppose to follow? is the CE even MEANT to be used this way?

Well you can always ask an apologist on this site :slight_smile: if you need help, I believe Fr Zerpa answers questions there maybe it is possible to ask the question so that you receive the answer from a priest.

Any way I wish you luck on your search for the truth following Jesus.

Peace :thumbsup:

BOY I can identify with the OP here…I too am overwhelmed by the articles in the CE…The Catechism is much more useful in this area.

As to your questions…I don’t know how to say what is or is not out of date…but I also know that Jesus did not fulfill the law just to replace it with great gobs of additional stuff.
I’m not saying the articles are bad…just that for many / most of us…such lengthy and involved information is more than is truly necessary in our daily lives.

Jesus gave us the Law of Love in His command that we Love one another as He has loved us. It is by this that the world will know that we are His disciples…by our Love (John 13:34-35).
Earlier in Matthew He tells the Jews that just two great commands (Love God and Love neighbor as yourself) sums up the whole of the law and the prophets (Mt 22:36-40).

Between these two things it should be readily seen that it is Love that must be our guiding principle in all matters pertaining to our faith.
This is the principle upon which I work…and I try to make my decisions based upon this very simple fact - received directly from Christ through His Church.

That said…reading the Catechism and other documents can be useful - but it can also be useless. Discussing the matters with others - like we do here at CAF can often times be much more useful - at least to me.

I don’t know if I have answered your questions very well…but I hope that I have been of some small help…


The CE at was written under the 1917 code of canon law. So, the things that would be “out of date” deal primarily with disciplinary matters such as the rules of fast and abstinence, marriage law, etc, and of course liturgy since we have much newer missals and rubrics. And, it is also “out of date” in the sense that many newer issues/topics and history that happened since the early 1900s would also not be covered-- so geo-political realities such as monarchies that existed at the time the encyclopedia was written have changed.

But, as far as doctrine, historical explanations, theology, and exegis, it is a very good source.

So what about the articles that discuss at length this school of thought, this theory, that theory, what this group of theologians say, what that group says…how are we to know which group is considered “right” today?

FOr exacmple, whie looking up and trying to understand relativism, I found a long article on something called Probablilism, and got so confused; it had so many different definitions, requirements, schools of thought, schools of thought opposed to it, for it…how am I to know whats right?

Through Church documents.

If the Church as not issued a doctrinal definition, or condemned a proposition, then it is still open for discussion and debate.

If one wants to go that deep into various theological positions, one should probably take a theology course at a Catholic university so that one can study theology in a systematic way.

Oh! Forigve me, I’m a somewhat new Catholic, and I’m afraid I still cling a bit to the sterotype that the church has an answer and a hardcore stance on everything, with little room for growth (I know, I’m trying to remember that’s not the case!)

I think for now I will consult the catechism as my first resource when I wonder about something. I can generally understand that very well!

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