Friday, January 12, 2007

Anti-Catholicism on the Internet

The Internet is a great place of collaboration, where people from all walks of life, social status, or country, can come together to speak on various issues. The Internet connects the world like never before, and a lot of information is available. But not all information is accurate, and may even be deceitful. One of the worse problems on the Internet is that of Anti-Catholicism. In this short essay, I will explore this issue, and ways to view the problem.

The Internet does not know who is using it. You could be a Gandhi or Mother Teresa, or you could be a full-blown member of the Ku Klux Klan. The thing about the internet though, is that you do not get a biography of the person who made the website you are visiting. And even if you do, the person himself made it, so it could very possibly be skewed. Do not take anyone's word for things on the Internet unless you completely trust that person.

Anti-Catholicism is rampant on the Internet, and there are even communities which revolve around spreading lies about the Catholic Faith. The problem is that when one person distorts the truth, especially if they do it in a very grevious way, others quickly use the information to spread propaganda. Some spread these lies unwittingly, because they actually believe them.

Some sites are set up to look like they are somehow helping Catholics... they claim they want to "rescue" Catholics, or show Catholics the "correct path". They like to use the Bible to show Catholics why what they believe is wrong. Do they not realize that the Bible is a book written by and for Catholics, preserved through the centuries by Catholics who believe it in its entirety? Even Martin Luther, the pre-eminent anti-Catholic admitted to this fact.

My advice for people who encounter anti-Catholic information is to do your homework. Do not accept these people's claims at face value, find out the real information yourself. All the doctrines, dogmas, and disciplines of the Catholic religion are freely available at the library or the Internet. Catholics are not shy about what they believe, nor do they ever try to hide it. It's out in the open for everyone to see. Like Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once said, not a hundred people disagree with the Catholic Church, but millions disagree with what they wrongly believe to be the Catholics Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which was promulgated by the Pope, is a sure way of knowing what Catholics believe. Think about if you were having a debate with someone on, say, being vegetarian. You were against being vegetarian, and the other was debating for being vegetarian. Would it make sense if your opponent who was debating for vegetarianism was a staunch anti-vegetarian? Or would it make more sense to debate an actual vegetarian? Obviously, it makes more sense to debate the actual vegetarian. This is the same as with Catholicism.

Another question is, who do you ask? I admit that you cannot necessarily ask any regular Catholic what they Catholic Church believes. They may or may not know, and if you ask in a confrontational way, they may not know how to respond to your questions. The best thing to do is to go straight to the source. Go to the website, or, or check out the Catechism. These are the best ways to get information.

Finally, be careful of people who seem like they could be Catholic, but in actually are not. I am speaking mostly of schismatics and heretics. Some like to say they are Catholic, but in actuality are not. The best way to know if someone is truly Catholic is to find out their relationship with Pope Benedict XVI. If they say they are in full union with the Bishop of Rome, and submit to his authority, then you have a safe bet that you can trust their information. But be careful. Some schismatic groups may claim they listen to the Pope, but find out the name of "their" Pope. There is only one. Some schismatic groups claim another man, besides Benedict XVI, as their Pope, but this man is a mockery to the real Papacy established by Christ.

As you use these tips, I pray that, with the grace of God, you can navigate away from lies and toward the Truth of the Catholic Faith.

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