Not Sure About this Website

I have seen several links provided (by non-Catholics) to the following website:

Usually “facts” are taken from this website and used to “prove” various non-Catholic and anti-Catholic views. The following quote is from the website:

"The Encyclopedia bears the imprimatur of the Most Reverend Archbishop under whose jurisdiction it is published. In constituting the Editors the ecclesiastical censors, he has given them a singular proof of his confidence and of his desire to facilitate the publication of the work which he has promoted most effectively by his influence and kindly co-operation. "

I checked the website out and discovered that it is maintained by a (self-identified) Catholic layman. I also noticed that on one page Asians are referred to as “Orientals.” I know this is not a mistake in theology; however, I also know that it is considered an insult to most Asians to be called “Orientals.”

This small error makes me doubt the veracity of everything that is presented on this website.
One more thing bothers me - the “information” on this website is available for anyone willing to cough up $29.99 (it’s on sale and shipping is free).

Does anyone know anything about this website? Does it contain an accurate, comprehensive, and unbiased view of Catholic theology? Is it appropriate to use as a reference?

You have a problem with the website because of one term that is not “politically correct” and because they sell something to support the site??

I have used articles from this site and have no problem with it. Others here have also.


It is an excellent resource and highly reocmmend it. I don’t always agree with every single tiny bit of info on it, but it is a wonderful resource, and thank God we have it!

When I first got on the internet that was on of the first things i noticed. 20 years previously in America it was banged into my head that oriental referred to things while the people are Asian. Yet here were all these British and European English speakers posting Oriental to refer to Asians and asking if I was crazy when I stepped in to correct.

Look at it this way when I was born and as a child I was a “negro”, if anyone calls me a negro today it is normally meant as an insult. The English and American English languages are ever changing. Perhaps your problems with a website should stand on some other foundation?

I have used this site for many many things and happen to find it to be a valuable resource. :slight_smile:

However, I agree that when terms such as this are used, it’s hard to take a religious, esp CHRISTIAN religious site seriously.:frowning:

Since so far, all the post have been endorsing the NewAdvent website, I would suggest that you contact the Web Administrator and let them know of the ‘oversight’ on their page. :rolleyes:

Maybe it was copied from an old site and no one caught it… let’s assume the person who is doing this site would never intentionally use such an objectionable term about another human being! :shrug:

At the time the 1911 (or so) Catholic Encyclopedia was pubished, “Oriental” was the common term in English.

Nobody at that time found it insulting.

To go through the 1911 CE and change “Oriental” to “Asian” throughout would mean that what is being put on line is no longer the 1911 CE.

I like the Newadvent website. It is a rich source of material.:slight_smile:

Exactly. Anyone who reads any amount of reference material that was published more than 50 years ago is bound to run into instances where language has changed. Back when these thing were written, it was not meant to be insulting or demeaning; just the opposite, in fact, as that was the proper way of speaking and writing then.

The mature and educated response to these types of changes in language is to recognize the above reality. To disparage a writer or a body of work or even a particlar word by taking it out of the context of the time it was written would be illiterate and a form of chronological snobbery.

Some Protestants do this when they have a problem with the old Catholic use of the word “worship” when it came to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In it’s old usage (up until the early 20th century), it simply meant “to honor” or “venerate.” As it is used in our time, it refers to that honor given to God alone. But when Protestants see old Catholic writing which talks about “worshipping” Mary, they get their shorts in a bunch and start accusing Catholics of ascribing deity to Mary, which we do not. This is simply illiteracy and ignorance on their part. Don’t fall into the same trap.

Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with a “layman” being the editor of a religious work. Many layman are quite learned and educated in Catholic theology and Church history and as long as they are being faithful to the Church and her teachings, their work should not be disparaged. Note that the Catholic Encyclopedia has an imprimatur. These days that doesn’t count for as much as it used to, but back then it really meant something.

The Catholic Encyclopedia at New Advent is from 1913. It uses language from that time period. It also reflects the Church at that time. The form of the sacraments, for example has changed since Vatican II and that’s not reflected. You won’t find saints canonized in more recent years. You won’t find the documents and understanding the Church has since Vatican II. And you won’t find references to the Catechism because it was developed long after 1913.

The encyclopedia is useful in some ways but significantly limited in others.

(sigh) It’s a great, and famous, website. The fact that ‘oriental’ was used is essentially meaningless. And they have every right to sell a CD with the online books on it. Catholic Answers sells stuff all the time. Catholic Answers has posted stuff that has offended me at times. It’s still got a great website.

Uh, no. I have a problem with not knowing if a particular website is officially sanctioned by the Catholic Church or if it accurately portrays Church teaching. I need to know because I need to defend my faith and I decided that the best way to find out would be to simply ask.

I did find what I thought was an error; however, I accept what one poster has said - that the encyclopedia was written towards the beginning of the 20th century and that language usage has changed over the years. That goes a long way to explaining why things are written the way they are on that website.

That had never occurred to me. Now that I know I feel much more comfortable with using the website.

Peace to you too and thank you,

Thank you very much. I have been very confused about it. I appreciate your response. It seems that everyone (so far) has agreed with you.

Yours in Christ,

You are correct. I had never thought of that even though I knew the encyclopedia part of the website was written almost 100 years ago. It never entered my mind.

Thanks for pointing that out to me! I was just confused about this website (there are so many) and I want to be sure that when I use a reference in order to defend my faith that I don’t make a mistake by using a questionable source. I am new to apologetics and don’t exactly know what I’m doing.

Thank you again!!
Yours in Christ,

Thank you! I will contact the administrator. That’s a good idea. I really need to know which websites are accurate because I don’t want to misrepresent the Church. I’m new at apologetics (usually I debate on the abortion threads).

Yours in Christ,

Thank you. I don’t think I worded the OP properly. I have been wondering about the website for a few months now but I didn’t ask anyone if it accurately reflected Church teaching. When I saw that error I really wondered.

So I thought I would ask and now it appears that my question has been answered.

Thank you so much for your help,

Yours in Christ,

Thank you. I was just unsure. Everyone seems to like it - it certainly is large enough to cover a lot of territory.

Yours in Christ,

I noticed the imprimatur also but that just confused me more. Actually, I looked for it because I remember looking in books for a nihil obstat and imprimatur and then feeling comfortable with the source. Of course that was a long time before computers and CAF.

Thank you very much for your explanation of “worship.” I saw that used by a non-Catholic who then used the website as “proof” that Catholics lie about worshiping Mary. It really threw me because I had never run across that before. So I checked out the website and it looked legitimate but then I just wasn’t sure. So I decided to ask.

Yours in Christ,

Thank you. This verifies what I’ve learned so far - I think it is probably an extremely useful reference but perhaps what it states should be checked out on other sources. I don’t want to make mistakes when defending my faith.

Yours in Christ,

Now I know. Thank you. Yes, they have every right to sell whatever they want, but when I see that I just wonder a bit - is it OK? And the same applies to the use of the word “Oriental” - it just makes me wonder if the website is legit. I never ran across the website until a few months ago and then I started to see it used as “proof” by some non-Catholics.

I was just asking because I didn’t know. Honestly. Apologetics is a new field for me. I want to do the best I can.

Thanks for clarifying!!

Yours in Christ,

To Everyone,

Thank you so much for the information you provided. I didn’t want to make it appear that I was attacking the website or anything like that. What I saw were like little red flags - little warnings that perhaps the website wasn’t what it appeared to be on the surface. It’s a huge website and I got lost in it while trying to determine if it provided an accurate portrayal of Catholic teaching.

Apologetics is new to me. I want to do a good job of defending my faith. I hope you would all agree that you wouldn’t want me running amok posting references without checking them out and just assuming that because it’s on the Internet it’s legitimate.

So I asked my question and I appreciate all the answers.

I’m not used to the website and I was concerned. You have all helped me a great deal. I feel much more comfortable with it and will use it in the future (although carefully). I’m reading the threads on apologetics and learning more each day.

Thank you all again - you have helped me more than you could ever know.

May God bring you peace and joy,

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