The Full Wiki

The Catholic Encyclopedia: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Catholic Encyclopedia article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia, also referred to today as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia on the Catholic Answers web site,[1] is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and it was completed in April 1914. It was designed "to give its readers full and authoritative information on the entire cycle of Catholic interests, action and doctrine."[2][3][4]

The Catholic Encyclopedia was published by Robert Appleton Company, a publishing company that had been incorporated at New York in February 1905 for the express purpose of publishing the encyclopedia. The five members of the encyclopedia's Editorial Board also served as the directors of the company. In 1912 the company's name was changed to The Encyclopedia Press. Publication of the encyclopedia's volumes was the sole business conducted by the company during the project's lifetime.[5]



The encyclopedia was designed to serve the Roman Catholic Church, excluding information which has no relation to the Church and explaining matters from the point of view of the official Catholic doctrine, as it stood during the pontificate of Pius X. It records the accomplishments of Catholics and some others in nearly all intellectual and professional pursuits, including artists, educators, poets and scientists. While more limited than other general encyclopedias, it was far broader in scope than previous efforts at comprehensive Catholic encyclopedias, which had studied only internal Church affairs.

It also offers in-depth portrayals of historical and philosophical ideas, persons and events, from the Roman Catholic point of view. On issues that divide Catholicism from other churches and Protestant ecclesiastic communities the text consistently presents matters from the Catholic point of view. Since the encyclopedia was first undertaken in 1913 and has never been updated, many of its entries are out of date either with respect to the wider culture or to the Catholic ecclesiastical world. In particular it predates the creation of the Vatican City State and the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which introduced many significant changes in Catholic practice.


The writing of the encyclopedia began on January 11, 1905 under the supervision of five editors:

The editors, all situated in the United States, had their first editorial meeting at the office of The Messenger, on West 16th Street, New York City. The text received a nihil obstat from an official censor, Remy Lafort, on November 1, 1908 and an imprimatur from John Cardinal Farley, who was Archbishop of New York at the time. This review process was presumably accelerated by the reuse of older authorized publications. In addition to frequent informal conferences and constant communication by letters, the editors subsequently held 134 formal meetings to consider the plan, scope and progress of the work, culminating in publication on April 19, 1913. A first supplement was published in 1922; a second supplement in nine loose-leaf sections was published by The Gilmary Society between 1950 and 1958.

There was controversy over the presence of the Catholic Encyclopedia in public libraries with nativist protests that this violated the separation of church and state, including a successful appeal in Belleville, New Jersey.[6]

The encyclopedia was later updated under the auspices of The Catholic University of America and a 17-volume New Catholic Encyclopedia was first published in 1967, and then in 2002.

Online versions

Under United States copyright law all works published in the United States before 1923 are in the public domain. In 1993 Kevin Knight, then a 26-year-old resident of Denver, Colorado, decided during the visit of Pope John Paul II to that city for World Youth Day to launch a project to publish the 1913 edition of the encyclopedia on the Internet. Knight founded the website New Advent to house the undertaking. Volunteers from the United States, Canada, France and Brazil helped in the transcription of the original material. The site went online in 1995 and transcription work ended in 1997.

In 2007 Catholic Answers published a version derived from page scans.

The 1922 supplement to the Encyclopedia is also in the public domain, but as of 2007 had not been placed online. The New Catholic Encyclopedia also is available online at some libraries.

The scanned copies of the 1913 Encyclopedia are available on Google Books, but are not accessible outside the United States. The Google Books scans are easier to read than the scans by Catholic Answers when the zoom feature is used. Volumes: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Supplement I, Vol 17 of the 1922 supplement Supplementary volume of 1918

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Preface to the Catholic Encyclopedia
  3. ^ "Original Preface," [2]
  4. ^ Scan of "Preface"[3]
  5. ^ "The Making of the Catholic Encyclopedia" (online reproduction). The Catholic Encyclopedia and its Makers. New York: The Encyclopedia Press. 1917. iii–viii. OCLC 748253. 
  6. ^ p. 412, Separation of Church and State, by Philip Hamburger, 2002, Harvard University Press

External links



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address