Mother Lode of Links
A fan of communications theorist Marshall McLuhan predicted recently
that, just as the invention of the printing press resulted in divisions
among Christians, the presence of the Internet will encourage Christians
to reunite. I think he is right. The Bible, after all, was the first
book off the presses, and its spread caused people to raise all
manner of questions. The Catholic Church reacted by closing ranks,
insulating itself for centuries from the Protestant movement.
Vatican II struck a new note: "The Sacred Council exhorts all
the Catholic faithful to recognize the signs of the times and to
take an active and intelligent part in the work of ecumenism"
(Decree on Ecumenism, 4). Nearly 40 years later, the World
Wide Web is making this action all the more possible. In fact, more
and more of us are learning more about each other, becoming less
January is a month when Christian unity is on our minds. On Jan.
18 Catholics in the United States observed a day of prayer for Christian
Unity. Pope John Paul II's interfaith peace-prayer gathering in
Assisi was held on Jan. 24. What better way to continue that prayer
than to surf Christian Web sites for understanding?
A good starting point would be the "Resources
for Religious Educators" site. There you'll find links
to Vatican II documents on ecumenism and links to an extensive selection
of other Catholic documents and backgrounders on the subject.
A fine, concise overview of Christian denominations and their roots
can be found in our own Catholic Update, "The
Christian Family Tree," by Father Thomas Bokenkotter. Another
Catholic Update, "How
Catholics Understand Grace," provides a good backgrounder
on the historic agreement between Lutherans and Roman Catholics
in 2000. You can find other articles on ecumenism at AmericanCatholic.org
by using the site's "St. Anthony Search Engine."
During my years as a Catholic journalist, my favorite reference
for Protestant Churches has been the Yearbook of American and
Canadian Churches, published by the National Council of Churches
of Christ in the U.S.A. That reference book is now supplemented
You'll still need to buy the book for the excellent, concise backgrounders,
but the free
link page at that site contains perhaps the Web's best and most
up-to-date listing of Christian denominational links.
I encourage you to use that page as a launching point for learning
more about the life and ministries of the Christian denominations
that interest you most. If you find the great number of denominational
listings perplexing, that might be a starting point for your own
prayer for Christian unity.
What a refreshing find! This site is targeted at Catholic teens
by a group of professional youth catechists. It boasts clean,
contemporary design, regular chat sessions with interesting people,
and a growing content area chocked with reliable Catholic content.
The site, run by a nonprofit, is affiliated with the Archdiocese
It's all here on this site, from photos of parish events to directories,
bulletins, catechetics and outreach of returning Catholics. Especially
nice is the section on liturgy. The site features a search enginea
must for larger sites.
Ted Koppel's Nightline ran an important weeklong series
Jan. 21-25 on the alarming situation of poverty and war in the
Democratic Republic of Congo. "We thought you should know
about this," he said in his introduction. The story, including
the work of two brave Italian priests, is both heartbreaking and
alarming. The Web site provides supplemental information, links,
and video samples of the program. A link he missed is Catholic
The Continental Congress on Vocations, the pope's World Youth
Day 2002 and the tour of Therese of Lisieux's relics are all upcoming
in Canada this year. Learn about them from the Canadian Catholic
Bishops' fine site.
Welcome to our newly redesigned e-newsletter! I hope you like the
new look. This first issue, as promised, offers a column from my
colleague John Bookser Feister, "Web Catholic." The next
issue, in two weeks, will contain my musings (this time on terrorism
and evil), and then Web Catholic again two weeks after that, and
Although the look of our e-newsletter has changed, we will keep
telling you about the latest events at AmericanCatholic.org and
highlighting resources for you to use in your daily Catholic life.
We hope you continue to find information and inspiration here.
AmericanCatholic.org brings you an exclusive account of Pope John
Paul II's trip to Assisi to pray for peace. We bring you Franciscan
Jimmy Zammit's report from Assisi, where the pope led an interfaith
During the past year we've created a number of Web-exclusive features
on Catholic issues in the news. You can find these in the AmericanCatholic.org
archives, or just click on the links below:
Have you already abandoned your New Year's resolutions? The Church
offers you a second chance at renewal during Lent. In the latest
Catholic Update, "Praying
With Lenten Scriptures, Day by Day," author Christopher
M. Bellitto writes, "Let this Lent be a time of self-reflection,
courage, and resolve to get right with God."
Cast the "fresh eye" of poetry on the Gospel readings
for Lent and Holy Week in the new book, Praying
the Gospels Through Poetry: Lent to Easter, by Peggy Rosenthal.
Each chapter includes reflection on a poem pertaining to the Gospel
by a contemporary (with one exception) poet.