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CATHOLICS PLEASE READ THIS FIRST

While we have not applied for permission for this website to be called "Catholic", as far as possible, everything we publish on this site will be in accordance with our understanding of correct Catholic teaching on the particular subjects.

We therefore request that if any Catholic priest, theologian or educator thinks we have got something wrong, or that maybe there is a better way of expressing what we say, we will be pleased to hear from you. Preferably e-mail us, write or ring (all addresses are on the link "How to Contact us").

Part of the reason for our not applying to be recognised as a Catholic site is the extra work it would entail for whichever priest/priests or committee to whom it would be submitted. We know and recognise that priests are in short supply, and already overworked. As we intend to be continually updating and adding to this site, it would be a demanding job for continual approval to be given.

Let me quote from Tim DeRyan's book "The Catholic Internet"

"After a meeting with Archbishop Foley at the Vatican in March 1996, Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles wrote "Many sites claim 'faithfulness to the Magisterium'..."Whose version of the Magisterium?" (Origins,May 1996, p.23). In February 1997 he pointed out that "the Catholic Internet is not necessarily Catholic". It's an issue which needs to be addressed very soon.

"How does one separate the gold from the dross among the thousands of Catholic Internet sites? One solution suggested has been to create an "imprimatur" of sorts, bringing together episcopally-approved theologians to rate the content of various "Catholic" Web sites. The process would be a logistical and political nightmare, however. There are more than 195772 web sites on the Internet which contain the words "Catholic" or "Catholicism" (July 1997) Trying to keep tabs on even 1% of these would be like trying to herd a swarm of rabbits. The staff, objective criteria, and resources cannot exist to do a creditable job.

"A second solution involved the creation of "safe" sites for Catholic information on the Internet. Several catholic organisations in the United States have attempted to do exactly this, with very interesting results. Site sponsors want their input, clerical experts sometimes aren't, and gathering endorsement from one or two favourite bishops can be a quagmire. One bishop's "experts" may be another bishop's "dissenters".

"The Internet is a spiritual smorgasbord, but only for the canny diner. There will be no spoon-feeding of dogma and doctrine, pre-sifted and taste-tested for the online consumer. For better or worse, Catholics surfing the Internet are going to be facing the challenge of thinking critically and consulting their local educators.

"Some helpful hints along the way: There are several places on the Internet where authentic Papal and Episcopal encyclicals, as well as Catholic texts ranging for the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or the documentary sources of Catholic teaching can be found. The first place to look, of course, is the Vatican website, at http://www.vatican.va. There is plenty enough fare here to keep the most voracious reader busy for months. Diocesan sites are also reliable sources, as dioceses tend to be very careful about what they post and which links they will allow on their sites. Other excellent sources are general archives directories, including those at American Universtity: http://www.american.edu, the Catholic information Network: http://cin.org/ and Catholic Online: http://www.catholic.org.

"Final Note: In the end, the weighing of facts and opinions, of becoming critically and responsibly informed, falls to you, the reader. That may be one of the hidden blessings of the Catholic Internet: The "information revolution" in the Catholic Church may not be felt so much in our ability to acquire enormous amounts of information, as in our ability to evaluate what we acquire.

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