Question about the reliability of websites

I hope this is the correct forum to post this in; I just took my best guess.

I will be starting RCIA classes in September, and have been learning about Catholicism over the last year and a half. I keep running into a problem, though, specifically when researching things online. I have a very difficult time discerning which websites are reliable, and which are not. I often find sites with conflicting view points or messages, and when searching to try to figure out which is correct, I often find conflicting thoughts on that!! :confused:

Any and all input on this would be greatly appreciated. :slight_smile: I just want to make sure what I’m learning is correct.

Thanks!

I’m also beginning RCIA in September and use the power of Google to lead me to information.

Generally, my process is to examine conflicting points of view and then reach out to reliable sources. Does the Bible say anything about this? How about the Catechism? Does a search here point in a direction? What are the opinions of trusted church leaders?

What are MY thoughts? Have I prayed about it?

What I have been finding is that reliable sources of information tend to reveal themselves. As you search, what websites are in the first page of results over and over?

Finally, I find that truth resounds as clearly as hearing a bell rung. Long before I have done any secondary research at all, I am pretty certain what it will tell me.

Like you, I fear “getting it wrong.” When I see strong contradiction in information, I look to the author. If the author has strong bias in one direction or another, I can often find the reason for the contradiction.

(((hugs)))

One good site to use is the reviews by Jeff Mirus and others on catholicculture.org. Not only do they assess reliability, but also quality of resources and usability. One caveat, check the dates of the reviews.

Congrats on starting RCIA this fall. I will pray for you on your spiritual journey.

I think what you are experiencing is not uncommon. There are so many Catholic websites. And of course, anyone and their brother can post whatever they want online. This can make it difficult for the newcomer to sort through it all.

As per the previous poster’s recommendation, I have also often made use of Catholic Culture’s website reviews, which I find very helpful. But of course, the site is run by a Catholic layman so the reviews do not carry any sort of ecclesiastical weight to them. I appreciate that he includes reasons for why he gives the rating he does, along with examples. That helps me to decide whether or not I agree with him. :slight_smile: I have no doubt that Dr. Mirius is doing his best to conduct his ministry and offer reviews in conformity with the mind and heart of the Church. However, I’m sure he’d be the first to say that he has not been granted the charsim of infallibility toward that end.

The Vatican website and the USCCB website are going to be trustworthy. So that’s a good place to start. There are certain topics and issues where Catholics can legitimately disagree. So simply because two websites offer conflicting opinions does not necessarily mean that one is wrong and the other right (though it could mean that).

I think familiarizing yourself with the Catechism is a very helpful first step, too. With the CCC as your reference point, you’ll grow in your ability to sort the good from the bad.

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