Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)

Catholic Encyclopaedia, The.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

A very pretentious work in fifteen large and sumptuous volumes (1907-12), which was financed by the wealthy Catholics of the United States. In the Introduction it promises "the whole truth without prejudice" and says that in ascertaining the truth "the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed." In reality it often employs the worst tricks and vices of Catholic propaganda, so that it can safely be consulted only for illustrations of these and for details of undisputed Catholic teaching, ritual, and administration. In Biblical matters - one need not read farther than "Adam" - it is almost always Fundamentalist; in biography (of saints, Popes, etc.) it is childishly credulous; in history, particularly the history of the Papacy and of the crimes and vices of the Middle Ages, it is monstrously untruthful; in quoting authorities it is gravely deceitful; and in scientific articles (evolution, etc.) it is little above the level of the American Baptists. An exposure of its historical methods will be found in McCabe's Popes and their Church (4th ed., 1904, pp. 97-109), but specimens occur in many articles of this work. Another feature of interest is that the writers are almost entirely priests or professional propagandists, which reveals the extraordinary poverty of the Church in distinguished lay scholars. Hilaire Belloc is entrusted with only one short article ("Land Tenure"), and that on a "safe" subject. The peculiarities of Catholic Truth exhibited in the work are so singular that, in order to confuse the non-Catholic who might compare the articles with those of ordinary encyclopaedias, the American and English Catholics went on to secure an important influence in the writing of the latest edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the new Encyclopaedia Americana. [See Encyclopaedias.]


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Scanning, HTML Rae West. First upload 98-02-08