Last change 1/19/2004
Links and Resources.
The links below should help someone who is looking for information on the Christian Catholic religion, its faith, tradition, customs, worship, history, and doctrine.
1. Don't take your understanding of what the churches say, or how ministers, rabbis and priests act, from the television or movies. The people who write, produce and direct these shows are interested in entertainment, not theology. They often seem to have only a limited understanding of the sacred.
2. Realize that even when you are reading material that is theological, it often has a bias. There are liberals and conservatives in religion too. In addition, old theological material that is not "classic", that has not been useful to people for centuries, may no longer reflect what the church teaches. Remember that tremendous change came in the Roman Catholic Church since the 1950's and 1960's with Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council.
3. The best, most reliable source for current official Catholic teaching is the Catechism of the Catholic Church . You should buy your own copy and look there first for information. Some people will find parts that make them uncomfortable, parts they will want to further research. Go first to scripture. (Recall, however, that we are bound by the New Testament. If the New Testament should conflict with something in the Old Testament, as in the case of Jewish dietary law, then for a Christian the New Testament teaching is the one we follow.) After that look at the Patristics, Documents of Vatican II, church documents. Many of these documents are linked to the net. See also the Council of Trent. A good theologian would have done all of this, analyzed it, and written up his understanding and explanation. If you do much of the same research, you will be better able to evaluate the theologian's work and opinion. (Also ask yourself whether this theologian is respected and by whom. The "by whom" is more revealing than just about anything when it comes to discovering his bias. If you find that the theologian is respected and praised by people across the spectrum, by traditionalists and progressives, then he or she is probably respected for the quality of his output, for facts and truth without bias.)
4. Finally, remember that you don't have to
justify yourself to me, your mother, or the Pope. However, you will
have to answer for yourself to God. Romans
14:9-10; 1 Peter 4:5; Heb 4:12 NIV. Can
the position you take, the opinion of your conscience, be defended by
you before God? Will He, who is all knowing, realize that you reached
an opinion, and based your actions on that opinion, for essentially
selfish reasons, rather than an authentic search for truth? How do
you think he would react? Don't forget: the God who is love is also
Catholics and almost all Christians accept the early credal statements of faith (see Creeds in the Catholic Catechism). If you are not familiar with them read the The Text of the Apostle's and Nicene Creeds, or the Nicene Creed with references to Scripture and the catechism. Another ancient creed that carefully articulates the doctrines of the Trinity and the dual nature of Christ is The Athanasian Creed. For a brief statement on the creed from the Anglican Communion with cross references to the Catholic Catechism look at The Creed. A more comprehensive contemporary Catholic credal statement would be Pope Paul VI's Credo of the People of God. A less authoritative, but useful source would be Knox's Creed in Slow Motion published before the Second Vatican Council.
For information on ethical teaching you can look at An Examination of Conscience and Some Elements of Basic Belief. (These have been drawn from older out of copyright sources, and so are somewhat "traditional" in tone.) There is an extensive list of Official Documents on Catholic Social Justice teaching along with links to give access to Catholic social teaching. If you have problems with ethical teaching, read What the New Testament actually says. Finally, you can consider the Moral Teaching from the Twelve Apostles, taken from the Didache, which was written in the period 65 to 80 AD, the same time as the synoptic gospels. Also, Scripture on Almsgiving.
See the Franciscans and St. Anthony Messenger Press for articles on the Sacraments, the resources for educators and the Copendium of the Catholic faith.
For more on each sacrament check the links to each sacrament in the Catechism's table of contents.
Also look at the list of official Documents of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Internet Theology Resources at the Clemens and Alcuin Libraries. ("This guide is intended to assist searchers of theological and religious information on the Internet, and is arranged according to major areas of concentration in St. John's School of Theology Seminary.") Also, be sure to look at the Vatican.
For Catholic Scripture texts you can read the New American Bible (best choice), the Douay-Rheims Version at New Advent or at Bible Gateway, and the Latin Vulgate. Among other texts, the Revised Standard is often thought to be very good, you can search it here., and see the Bible Gateway for other versions and languages, or to search for a passage.. An extensive list of materials on the bible can be found at Bible Resources for Student and Public Use by Felix Just, SJ an assistant professor of New Testament Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Look at his page on the Lectionary for tables on lectionary readings and links to useful websites on the readings.. Vine's Dictionary of New Testament words is online (a valuable Protestant source). For help with Latin see Notre Dame's Latin Dictionary and Grammer Aid. Finally, any text by Rev. Raymond Brown, S.S. would be valuable reading.
For links to all things Catholic look at The Theological Library which has very extensive directory of catholic pages, and the Catholic Resources for Educators, where they have 5000 links to internet Catholic subjects. Another resource of links is Internet Theology Resources.. Also, Christus Rex is a must see for art and various interesting links.
A large amount of primary research material also exists online. Look at the list of official church documents at the Theological Library. There is the Two Thousand Years of Catholic Writings site, EWTN, and New Advent, which has a link to the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas. This site also has the Douay-Rheims bible (published originally around 1610) and extensive material on the Church Fathers (early writers who shaped the church and its teaching. At New Advent, they have online a Catholic Encyclopedia. [It was originally published in 1913, so some caution is warrented, because this is a pre-Vatican II source] The Ecole Initiative is an effort to create an encyclopedia of church history up to the reformation. Be sure to check their Glossary of early Church names and terms. Look at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Weaton, and their 38 volume collection of the Early Church Fathers. For material on the Middle Ages start with the Labyrinth, and look at the Medieval Sourcebook. There is a site for the Dead Sea Scrolls.
On the existence of God, go to St. Thomas Aquinas's explanation in the Summa. See also the Ways Coming to Know God in the Catholic Catechism and Pascal's Wager.
If you are troubled with fundamentalist objections to Catholic teaching, there are places to look but they are often very conservative. Your first source of correct information should always be the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Compendium of the catechism. After that you might look at Catholic Apologetics and Catholic Answers at EWTN. another source may be 40 Questions Frequently asked about the Church by Rev. A. W. Terminiello (1956).
Some caution is warrented . Always check older teaching with the Catholic Catechism to avoid misunderstanding. See, Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth. and the Nazareth Resource Library.
The Catholic Doctrinal Concordance may be helpful. Enchiridion of Indulgences 1968 and Indulgences of the Roman Catholic Church. There is a history of the Catholic Church from the Renaissance to the French Revolution. EWTN has a library of electronic texts which includes A History of the Church To the Eve of the Reformation by Philip Hughes.
Pope John Paul II
Those interested in Pope John Paul II could look at the unofficial page for Pope JohnPaul. A number of Pope John Paul's writings can be found at the Catholic Information Network Files for Pope John Paul II. The lastest material on the Pope is at the Vatican itself.
Pope Benedict XVI
For Catholic news, in addition to the Publications above, you can look at the National Conference of Catholic Bishops site, and the Catholic News Service. Don't forget the official web site of the Vatican, The Holy See.
You can view news at Catholic World News and subscribe to email delivery, and to the Indepenent Catholic News based in London and run by volunteer Catholic Journalists. (It is a new site, under development, and designed for those with older equipment in mind, such as those in developing countries.)
Among the publications on the net, you could look at the National Catholic Reporter Online and the San Francisco Bay Catholic (both somewhat progressive). For additional publications look at Catholic Media Online look at the Catholic Northwest Progress from the Archdiocese of Seattle.
The Baltimore Catechism is on line. Recall that this was the standard catechism text in the United States until the Second Vatican Council. However, the "Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism" has an imprimatur dated 1891. Although it is still liked by many people, its theology is not always in line with contemporary thinking. The current Catholic Catechism will be the most valuable. It was promulgated by Pope John Paul II by the Apostolic Constitution dated Oct. 11, 1992. In this Constitution he says: " I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith..."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church becomes a good starting point. It can give you a basic initial explanation of belief on an issue. From there you can continue to research the issue using resources on-line. However, realize that the best contemporary theology will probably not be on-line because of copyright problems.
To look at historic catechisms, go to the Nazareth Master Catechism with has Aquinas, Trent, Pius X, Baltimore, and the current Catechism. There also is our Short Catechism on Prayer.
The East Lewis County Catholic Community, or view the Index of all parish web pags.
I especially suggest our page on prayer.
The material in this web site was designed and authored by the pastor, Very Rev. Roger J. Smith. Links are encouraged, but permission is requested for all other uses.
If you have comments or questions, contact the
pastor by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.