Saturday, June 21, 2008

Most Essential Catholic News Web Pages

Time Magazine has come out with its list of the ten most essential web pages for its readers: Sites we can't live without:

They include
Wikipedia (Online Encyclopedia), Yahoo Finance (Haven for armchair investors and money junkies), Craig's List (Essential site for want ads), ESPN (Megasite for scores, schedules and sports analysis), Yelp (User submitted evaluations), Facebook (Classier and cleaner in design than MySpace), Digg (Barometer of the issues most web surfers are interested in), Google (Much more than a search engine), TMZ (Chock-full of juicy celebrity tidbits, photos and videos); and Flickr (Digital Photo Sharing).

Some of those I have never heard of. Some I use daily. So, without knowing the answer, I'm going to scour my bookmarks and see what are the most essential web pages that I use for covering news of Catholic Events in the Upper Midwest. Some of these will be duplicates of Time Magazine's list. They will be in the order in which I think of them.

1. Google, especially Google Alert -- Google Alert allows me to place a permanent search request on Google's search engine for subjects in which I am interested. I can receive reports daily or as they are found. I receive them daily. This saves me the effort to regularly search for news information coming from different dioceses and communities about Catholics in our area. It is automatically sent to me.

Needless to say, I use Google for most of my search engine work, although my brother in California informs me that Yahoo often comes up with information that Google doesn't provide. And, Clusty ( provides not as many hits, but it clusters them in groups. This is especially valuable when you regularly search for information on the same subjects. After a while you become familiar with the results and you know that you don't have to look at the results about a German football (soccer) player.

2. I love Wikipedia, the volunteer encyclopedia -- You have to know a bit about the subject because sometimes on rare subjects there might be errors or gaps, but you can generally find concise information on what you are looking for quickly.

3. Conversion of numerical units -- Occasionally I need to convert Fahrenheit temperatures to Centigrade or miles to kilometers. This is slick. This is where I convert dollars to pounds or Euros or vice-versa:

4. AbeBooks - used books for sale -- A consortium of most of the major used book dealers in the world.

5, The Catholic Spirit -- Semi official news from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, weekly (bi-weekly in the Summer). The Archdiocese puts news releases on its home page:

6. Father John Zuhlsdorf ("Father Z") -- News from Rome, especially news on the liturgy wars

7. Whispers in the Loggia (Rocco) -- Hierarchical news involving U.S. Bishops and Cardinals

8. The Curt Jester - National Catholic News (and humor)

9. -- A Toronto site, specializes in Pro-Life News

10. Catholic News Service -- Official site of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

11, Catholic -- Statistical information on all bishops, living and dead (and retirement dates)

12. National Catholic Register -- with our Tim Drake as lead writer, an excellent source of news of the American Church.

13. John Allen, National Catholic Reporter -- the number one expert on the doings of the American Church. The other "Reporter" columnists and writers are "suspect." Allen's weekly column is available by internet subscription.

14. New -- Home of the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, the Douay Rhiems Bible, the Summa Theologica, writings of the early Church Fathers, and a very good headline news service.

15. Sandro Magister -- Italian professor and columnist, expert on the inside goings on in the Vatican; his weekly column available by free internet subscription.

16. One News -- Current U.S. Catholic News Headlines

17. Catholic World News -- Excellent Catholic News and Commentary from Diogenes

18. Holy Smoke/U.K. Telegraph -- My nominee for the greatest Catholic blog name. All the news you don't want to read from once Catholic England.

19. Fabulous Fern's -- (disguise needed)

I haven't included sites like the Vatican and other theological and liturgical sites that I also consult regularly. But if you have suggestions that I or others might benefit from visiting, please let us know in the comment box.

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