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The Catholic Encyclopedia

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The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an encyclopedia written by and for Roman Catholics in the early 20th century.

The Catholic Encyclopedia was published in the United States from 1907 to 1914 by the Robert Appleton Company, a publishing company incorporated at New York in February 1905 for the express purpose of publishing the encyclopedia.

The encyclopedia was designed to serve the Roman Catholic Church, concentrating on information related to the Church and explaining matters from the Catholic point of view. It records the accomplishments of Catholics and others in nearly all intellectual and professional pursuits, including artists, educators, poets and scientists, and offers in-depth portrayals of historical and philosophical ideas, persons and events, from a Catholic perspective.

It has never been updated, so many of its entries may be out of date either with respect to the wider culture or to the Catholic ecclesiastical world.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 (1929) and the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), which introduced many significant changes in Catholic practice.

The text of the Catholic Encyclopedia is now in the public domain, as its copyright has expired. Its entire contents are reprinted here as part of the ReligionFacts Library of Online Texts.