Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
A Catholic living near Lourdes in France has created a website intended to help other Catholics search the Internet without stumbling inadvertently into objectionable content.
Currently named Catholic Google — it might need to be renamed if Google objects to the use of its name — the website bills itself as “The best way for good Catholics to surf the web.”
That’s a debatable claim, according to a pair of recent posts here and here on the Reuters FaithWorld blog about Catholic Google by Tom Heneghan. Heneghan noted that the search website fails to filter a substantial amount of content that faithful Catholics would find objectionable.
In a phone call yesterday with Heneghan, Catholic Google webmaster Paul Mulhern acknowledged that some immoral content is slipping through, in the advertisements that are automatically generated by Google websites when a search is initiated (these ads are how Google websites make money).
Said Mulhern, “We’re in the process of trying to eliminate as much of the unsavory adverts as possible, but they have to be blocked by domain name, which is why it is taking some time.”
In any event, no search website is going to be enough by itself to secure a computer from all bad Internet content. Consequently, the Catholic Google website shouldn’t be viewed as a sufficient replacement for more comprehensive Internet filtering services, or for proper supervision of children when they are using computers.
In this article we published last month, Register Senior Writer Tim Drake delivered a state-of-the-art report on some of the means by which parents can work to ensure their families access the Internet in a moral manner.
And as the goal of safe surfing is obviously an important one, it’s to be hoped that Mulhern’s website will serve as another useful tool in helping Catholic families to achieve that goal.
— Tom McFeely