Although Catholics have a broad presence on the Internet, the most popular Catholic websites and services are highly orthodox, often with a conservative political slant, writes Jeffrey J. Guhin in America magazine (June 20-27).
The top five Catholic sites are Catholic Exchange, EWTN, Catholic Answers, Catholic Online and New Advent, according to a December, 2004 report from www.catholicrankings.com. Catholic Exchange’s goal is to be a “Yahoo for Catholics,” providing everything from e-mail to stock quotes. But much of the site is both “catechetical and conservative,” markedly so in doctrine, but also in politics.
Both the EWTN, launched by the Eternal Word Television Network, and Catholic Answers sites are also staunchly conservative. The latter group received a good deal of media coverage for its “Voting Guide for Serious Catholics,” which listed five “non-negotiable” issues Catholics must consider in the 2004 elections. Like Catholic Exchange, Catholic Online is a Web portal offering a variety of services, but it also has a political action arm, Your Catholic Voice, which espouses both conservative (anti-gay marriage) and liberal positions (the state’s role in social justice).
The fifth site, New Advent, functions as a Catholic encyclopedia, but its reliance on pre-Vatican II texts (such as on the non-validity of Judaism) has proven controversial. Guhin adds that the greater popularity of these conservative sites (and many more like them) as compared to more liberal sites runs against the general rule that Internet users are generally more liberal than the general population ( for instance, the Democratic National Committee’s Website does far better than the Republicans’).
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