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Online Isn’t Out of Line for Apologists

You can “log on” to the Catholic Resource Network to enter a new world of Catholic information and services designed to serve the Church by serving its members around the world.

Catholic Answers is one of a score of major Catholic organizations which have joined together to form a new venture called the Catholic Resource Network (CRNET). Our purpose is to provide an unprecedented range of authentic Catholic information and services to users worldwide, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Do you have a question about Catholic doctrine or need spiritual advice? Would you like help in teaching the faith to your children? Do you need access to Catholic research materials? The Catholic Resource Network can help with all these things. Or perhaps you want regular updates on pro-life issues or you’d prefer to receive your religious news straight from the Vatican. CRNET can provide both. CRNET also lets you send messages to other Catholics virtually anywhere in the world, and much more besides.

CRNET began operations in September 1993 on the CompuServe Information Service and moved to its own completely independent Catholic system three months later. Using advanced telecommunications technology, CRNET makes an entire Catholic world available at any hour of the day or night, anywhere in the world, to anyone with access to a personal computer and a telephone line.

Readers who are not comfortable with this kind of technology or who know little about computers need not hesitate. CRNET makes it simple.

What’s available

The Catholic Resource Network is divided into forums, each of which specializes in a particular.aspect of Catholicism or a particular Catholic service. Catholic Answers is responsible for the apologetics forum and will provide a wide range of information and services there. Its staffers will go online to assist users in getting what they need, answering any questions they may have.

You will be able to download to your own computer the entire text of Catholic Answers’ tracts or the text of specially-selected booklets and books. Each month staffers of This Rock will upload to the forum articles from the magazine.

The Catholic Answers message section allows you to write to other CRNET members and to engage in ongoing discussions. You’ll be able to participate in lively exchanges on a wide variety of topics–a great way to expand your knowledge of the faith and of apologetic techniques and to test your logic against other Catholics (Catholic Answers staffers included) and even against non-Catholic members of CRNET. Of course, you never are required to participate actively. If you prefer, you can just read what others have been saying.

Maybe you want “live action”? Join one of the specially-scheduled conferences. You’ll be able to “speak” with Catholic Answers staffers such as Karl Keating, James Akin, and Patrick Madrid. On your screen you’ll see other members’ comments as they’re typed, and they’ll see yours. It’s like a massive conference call! If you wish, use your communications program to capture the entire discussion and to save it on your computer. Then go back to examine it at your leisure.

Participating groups

But Catholic Answers is just one part of the Catholic Resource Network. Some of the most important forums, services, and their hosts are:

Canon Law with the St. Joseph Foundation

Divine Revelation with Fr. William Most

Doctrine and Catechetics with Fr. Robert Levis, Msgr. Michael Wrenn, and Gerard Gaskin

Academic Research and College Forum with Christendom College

Marriage and Family with Women for Faith and Family

Home Education with the National Association of Catholic Home Educators, Seton Home Study, and Seton Junior-Senior High School

Natural Family Planning Services with the Couple to Couple League

Prayer and Spiritual Life with Fr. John Hardon, S.J.

Priests, Deacons, Religious, and Vocations with the Institute on Religious Life

Pro-life Issues with the American Life League

Sacraments, Liturgy, and Sacred Music with Fr. Robert Skeris and Msgr. Richard Schuler

Spiritual Counseling with Frs. Peter Pilsner and John Trigilio

Media and Entertainment with the Eternal Word Television Network

Christ, Mary, and Church library

Church Documents library

Youth and Single Life Center

Computer Forum with Michael Hains

Ignatius Press Market Place

Our Sunday Visitor Market Place

DiCarlo Book Sellers for Small Publishers

Current Issues Section featuring the Vatican Information Service

Worldwide Electronic Mail, including an Internet connection

Authentically Catholic

When you use a computer to connect over a phone line to the Catholic Resource Network, a world of information, communication, and services opens onto your computer screen. While online with CRNET, you can do research in the file libraries, join in discussions on important Catholic issues, transfer books and documents to your own computer for later use, or transfer materials of your own to CRNET for use by others.

You can communicate with leading apostolates and participate in special events such as a live question- and-answer session with a Catholic leader. You can browse the listings of your favorite publisher and make purchases of Catholic materials online. You can also send electronic mail instantly to any other user anywhere in the world and receive mail just as quickly in return.

CRNET is useful to just about anybody; it’s a godsend for Catholics who feel isolated, for non-Catholics who want to learn more about the Church, and even for parishes and dioceses in poor areas that can’t afford good libraries and research materials for their students.

In addition to the broad range of information and services it provides, CRNET takes pride in the quality of its Catholic services, including its complete fidelity to Catholic teaching as defined by the magisterium of the Church. CRNET is a source of information you can trust.

Easy to get started

The Catholic Resource Network is an international operation sponsored by Trinity Communications and assisted by a similar organization run by Australians Gerard Gaskin and Michael Hains. In addition to the work of the various participating apostolates online, Trinity Communications maintains a full-time staff devoted to improving CRNET, adding materials, monitoring the system to assist users, answering questions either online or by telephone, and personally managing a number of CRNET’s sections. Trinity will provide all the help you need to get started using the Catholic Resource Network.

Even if you don’t yet own a computer, you can purchase everything you need for the price of a color television set. If you already own a computer, you can make it commun- ications ready for under $50. You can connect with CRNET from any type of computer running any communications software that follows industry standards. (Set your modem for 2400 or 9600 bps, 8 data bits, 1 stop bit, and no parity).

CRNET is user-supported. The initial lifetime membership fee is only $25, and connect charges start as low as $5 per hour. You actual costs are low because you can download electronic mail and messages to your computer in a just few seconds and can read and compose your replies offline. This saves connect charges, which means your actual cost per month is just a few dollars.

To join CRNET, make your first computer call to (703) 791-4336 (modem only). You can browse around online or join immediately, following simple on-screen instructions. Once you become a member, you will be given a local SprintNet number so you can avoid long-distance charges. For further information, write to Trinity Communications at P.O. Box 3610, Manassas, VA 22110 or call (703) 791- 2576 (voice only). 

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