ROMA, ITALIA - 5 November 2002

Publication of the 2002 New Catholic Encyclopedia


A reception was held on the campus of The Catholic University of America on October 25, 2002 to mark the publication of 2002 edition of The New Catholic Encyclopedia, by CUA Press and The Gale Group. Berard Marthaler, OFM Conv. (OLC), served as executive editor of the NCE. The 2002 NCE replaces the familiar 1967 edition of the same name. The 2002 NCE has fifteen volumes (one of which is an index volume) and over 12,000 articles. A number of Conventuals made important contributions to the project, not the least of whom was Wayne Hellman (OLC) who volunteered to serve as the area editor for Francescana. Among entries written by Wayne himself were “Franciscan Spirituality,” “Franciscan Theology,” and the bios of a number of Franciscan saints. Jobe Abbas (IC) did a major piece on Canon Law of the Oriental Churches. Basil Heiser (OLC) and Donald Kos (SA) collaborated on a new article s,v, “Penitentiary.” Giles Carrie, (OLC) wrote several pieces dealing with canon law and Texas. Bernard Przewozny (SA) contributed a new and improved entry on “Christocentrism” and James McCurry (SA), a new entry on St. Maximilian Kolbe. Jeffery Keefe (IC) did a long essay on “Homosexuality,” and Phil Kelly (IC) wrote the article “Alcoholics Anonymous.” Bob Roddy (OLC) updated the entries on “Franciscan Sisters,” and “Dominican Sisters.” Several articles by Conventual friars from the 1967 were also retained.

Berard Marthaler had the overall responsibility of judging what to recycle from the 1967 edition and decide on new entries. To make room for new entries meant, in concrete terms, cutting 3.5 million words from the previous edition. Berard said that it "had to be done with a meat cleaver, not a scalpel." In other words, the editors did not make deletions line by line, but instead took out complete sections to make room for additions. Sections that did not make it into the second edition included entries on literature of different countries and scientific information, unless it had an impact on the church.
Along with the challenge of making room for new information in a short period of time -- a three-year project -- the editors also faced a challenge that their predecessors did not face. The Code of Canon Law of 1983 no longer requires that Catholic encyclopedias and reference materials carry an imprimatur. Therefore, the editors of the second edition knew it was "up to them to present official church teaching," Berard said. “I instructed the staff to avoid the use of the words liberal and conservative, and reactionary and progressive," and to report events honestly while "trying to keep a balanced perspective throughout.”

The revised version, with bigger type and whiter pages than the first edition, will most likely come out with additional supplements which may be in electronic format, according to associate editor, Gregory LaNave. He also said that the publisher is considering an abridged version of the second edition in Spanish.

The 15 volume set is available from The Gale Group via mail, phone, fax or e-mail: Gale, P.O. Box 9187, Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187. Phone: 1-800-877-GALE (Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST) Fax: 1-800-414-5043 E-mail: ISBN: 0-7876-4004-2