…So when the New Catholic Encyclopedia was issued in
1967, rapidly evolving events made it out of date almost immediately. Supplementary
volumes tried to keep pace, but a complete overhaul was obviously necessary.
Now the second edition is finally available, in print and electronic-book formats.
A monumental achievement, it consists of 15 volumes, 12 million words and 12,000
articles from 4,000-plus scholars, some of whom worked for free. Its aim: authoritative
summaries for every important Catholic topic in theology, ethics, worship, history,
social trends and biography.
..The 1967 version was far less rigid than the defensive
Catholic Encyclopedia of 1907-14 (now accessible for free on the Internet).
The current edition takes even greater note of dissent from the church’s official
…The work states matter-of-factly that Pope Paul’s
1968 encyclical against artificial birth control methods "has not been
effectively received or widely practiced." It notes the "majority
professional view" is that homosexual inclinations are "inborn, immutable
and a normal variant of human sexuality," even though the church disagrees.
I suspect that the New Catholic Encyclopedia will be a mixed bag. The 1967
version was not as good as the 1907 version and this trend will most likely
continue. Hopefully I am totally mistaken, but from what I could glean of the
editor Rev. Berard Marthaler my suspicions might be confirmed. Rev. Berard Marthaler
has written some books published by Paulist Press (there we go again) and one
in particular has articles taking issue with the Catechism of the Catholic Church
(CCC) and the reviews that I saw say that it both contradicts and undermines