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This section is devoted to your spiritual nourishment through various media that we have found helpful on our spiritual journey. Please browse and hopefully you will find something that may further you on your journey.

Reading Recommendations | Book Reviews | Bible Software Reviews | Web Links

Bible CD-ROM Software
Reviews by Steve Egge

In 1998, I wanted to get a Bible on CD-ROM after having a difficult time finding a passage I was looking for in the print version of the "Good News Bible-catholic study edition". How was I to know they moved the "canticles of Daniel" (Daniel 3:24-91) to a separate book in the "deuterocanonicals" called "The song of the three young men"? So I started investigating. I figured if I typed in the verse or words and did a search, I could find the passage no matter what "heading" it was under in the bible. This review is not comprehensive, and I have only had "hands on" with two software packages (logos/libronix and Welcome to the Catholic Church). Also remember prices change. Many of the packages I bought then are no longer available ... but there have been significant advances!

Back in 1998 I considered 3 software packages under $100, there are many more expensive and expansive programs available above this price line. I was steered towards the "Welcome to the Catholic Church 2.0" after talking to Peter Williamson at:
Bible and Theology Discount Software

2037 Hunters Creek
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Peter was extremely helpful in finding out what I wanted out of a bible CD. He sells many of them and has looked at some of them personally. His prices seem less than others I found on the net. Moreover, he seemed to be a sincere, and helpful individual. If you are considering purchasing a Bible CD-ROM, I suggest you look at the packages mentioned here, check out the links and look at the Bible and Theology site. Currently Bible and Theology Discount Software will match anyone's advertised price (taking shipping into account), and will give you an additional 3% discount. What Bible software package you want largely depends upon what you want the software to do for you. In May 2008 Steve Ray, a fellow parishioner of Peters, took over the business. They still offer the same great service and if you need help over the phone, just e-mail them your phone number and Cindy will call to answer any questions.

Unfortunately on checking in March 2011 the Bible and Theology website is down and I am not sure if they are in buisness any longer.

Update 2011 - of the packages I looked at then ... this is what is left:

Logos Collections

Logos Software - The Catholic Collection I purchased in 1998 no longer exists .... Now there is Libronix. The logos engine has been upgraded to the Libronix engine. It is able to use any of the old "logos" format books as well as use the new Libronix format books, so the upgrade hasn't hurt in terms of loosing prior books. You can click on the graphic on the left to get some information on the new collections offered by Logos. Think of Libronix as an electronic library. The real strength in the Libronix system is being able to search across multiple books of multiple types if you want (Bibles, Commentaries, Dictionaries, Spiritual readings, etc). It also does a good job of getting back to the meaning of the original Greek or Hebrew language in which the scriptures were written, especially with the new version 4.0 (Version 3 came out in May 2006 and now they are up to version 4.0 in November 2009). It is difficult to describe how easy and informative the new version 4.0 is, and since a picture is worth a thousand words or so, I would ask that you visit the Logos web site video library and see 4.0 in action. New with 4.0 is a Macintosh version!

All of your books from Libronix 3.0 will work in 4.0 and the new versions will be downloaded to your library. There are some interesting upgrades if you own Libronix 3.0 to 4.0 with adding in some books ... but the basic 4.0 engine itself is free so there is no cost to go to 4.0 from 3.0 ... both can even run simutaneously on your windows system.

In the summer of 2007 Bible and Theology Software struck a deal with logos in offering a new version of the Catholic Collection. They are exclusive purveyors of this collection. Check it out at their web site.. In May 2009 Logos begain offering many more Catholic titles as well as a free Catholic Lectionary add in to those who have the Lectionary feature. See more Below ....

 

The Liturgical Press offers The Collegeville Catholic Reference Library: CD-ROM Edition (PC) Version 3.0 (New Version - September 2008) in the Libronix format which includes the following:

 
  • (Revised) New American Bible.
  • The Collegeville Bible Commentary—provides reference to all of the books of the Bible.
  • The New Dictionary of Sacramental Worship—covers a wide range of liturgical activities that constitute our sacramental Church.
  • The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality—for those concerned with their own spirituality and the role of spirituality in the life of the Church.
  • The New Dictionary of Catholic Social Thought—includes social issues as well as historical movements that have shaped our current views.
  • The New Dictionary of Theology—an up-to-date, reliable, clear, and informative theological dictionary.
  • Consecrated Phrases: A Latin Theological Dictionary—gives readers a simple but accurate definition of Latin expressions commonly used as "short-hand" in theological writing.
  • Modern Catholic Encyclopedia — (New in Version 3) This authoritative encyclopedia combines a wealth of information with an attractive, easy-to-read format.
  • Worship Music: A Concise Dictionary — (New in Version 3) Designed not just for pastoral musicians but all musicians—amateurs, students and professionals—as well as liturgists, Worship Music is an indispensable guide to the musical aspects of worship.

The Collegeville Catholic Collection is my current recommendation as a starter collection for the Libronix Library system. Certainly you can get a more powerful collection of books in the new Logos 4.0 series of collections with the Scholars Library offerings. But what is nice about starting with the Catholic Reference collection V 3.0 from Collegeville is that it is reasonably priced. There is also a scaled down version of the Collegeville Catholic Collection which just includes the NAV, NRSB, and the Collegeville Bible Commentary for only $29.95 which is a great deal by itself. It is a wonderful add on to you libronix collection to get Catholic resources if you have one or a good minimalist start. Liturgical Press publishes this collection. Here is a list of the different versions of their Collegeville Catholic Reference Library. All these collections use the powerful Libronix software, you will find it has a great search engine, and if you like the software you can upgrade by adding one of the many Libronix Collections, The Anchor Bible Library, Early Church Fathers or whatever you wish. Going this way you will NOT be buying duplicate books...as none of the books offered through the Collegeville series are contained in any of the other Libronix works (other than the Catholic Edition). Upgrading to a 3.0 collection not only includes more books but more "addin tools" ... be sure to look carefully at not only the books but the tools offered if you want to do some greek and hebrew language study. Things can get a bit expensive, especially if you go for the Scholar's Library Gold, but the value is there if you use the books offered. I enjoy looking at different translations of scripture passages and can view them out side by side with Libronix engine and get a better sense how what the author was trying to say from viewing the different translations into the English language. Then I can delve into the Greek or Hebrew (assuming you have the books necessary in your library for original language study) and get to the heart of it. I also enjoy the ease of looking at one or two commentaries side by side scrolling along with the bible text I am studying. The software is very customizable in terms of layout. Another plus is that the Libronix engine is constantly being upgraded (now at version 3.0), adding new features and speed. I understand that Bibleworks is one of the better software options for original language study, although Libronix has made great leaps in this area with version 3.0 (and Bibleworks doesn't have nearly the depth of commentaries and other works that can be found with the books that Libronix offers).

I would urge you to do a google search for the best price on the The Collegeville Catholic Reference Library: CD-ROM Edition (PC) Version 3.0 or click on the above link to buy on Amazon.com. Then you can splurge if you want and get the Logos 3.0 Scholars library or Original language library and complement the Collegeville collection nicely.

In addition to what I've mentioned about Libronix. You can often pick up a book or two at discount prices if you are willing to wait for their yearly and sometimes twice yearly discount sales usually in December and June. Subscribe to their newsletter "Newswire" to keep informed.

Below is an example of what you can do with Libronix and the proper books and addons:

My wanting to get at the root meaning of the word began with a comment I'd heard about how the word "meek" in the beatitudes (Matt 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.) didn't mean the same as the word we use today. A friend and I browsed through a Catholic Bookstore and got nowhere with Strong's Concordance. You must realize we were both novices at using this book. Then I began a bible study class, and although I used a bible online to search and find passages, I really became curious about the bible's translation. I know no Greek or Hebrew (although I did take two years of latin in high school). I looked again at the competing software in this price range and they were perhaps better at getting to the greek and Hebrew than Logos might be, they lacked the "add on" ability that Logos has. I really liked getting the insight of the bible commentary we were using for the book in bible class. The Scholars pack seemed to fit the bill best. I haven't been disappointed. I can read the bible in one window and (at least in the NAB bible) highlight the footnotes and jump to references as I read and return easily. But also as I read I have a window open with 3 bible commentaries that scroll through as you read and show the relevant comments (by linking with the text). To get at the Greek and Hebrew you have to use the KJV of the bible as Strong's numbers were based on it. There is a free download of a Hebrew Lexicon which gives you the meaning of a Hebrew word (I didn't know that Hebrew read from right to left.). The CD comes with a Greek Lexicon. Vines Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament Words gives a good understanding of the meaning of the "root" word that is contained in the Greek or Hebrew text. Bibles can easily be switched by an arrow key which will cycle them through.

The answer I found (and rather quickly I might add) to the meaning of "meek" (Strong's 4239) is that the greek word means the "opposite of self-interest" or open to the working of God in your life. I have also heard it said that the ones who are the "meek" are the ones who in the Our Father when they say "thy will be done", they mean it!

I'll leave you with an example of the software search on Meek from Vines (this is just one of the books queried):

Meek, Meekness MEEK, MEEKNESS
A. Adjective.
PRAUèS or PRAOS (prauŸ" , (4239)) denotes gentle, mild, meek; for its significance see the corresponding noun, below, B. Christ uses it of His own disposition, Matt. 11:29; He gives it in the third of His Beatitudes, 5:5; it is said of Him as the King Messiah, 21:5, from Zech. 9:9; it is an adornment of the Christian profession, 1 Pet. 3:4.{indicates that all the N.T. occurrences of the Greek work under consideration are mentioned under the heading or sub–heading.} cp.{cp. compare, see also} eµpios, gentle, of a soothing disposition, 1 Thess. 2:7; 2 Tim. 2:24.{indicates that all the N.T. occurrences of the Greek work under consideration are mentioned under the heading or sub–heading.}
B. Nouns.
1. PRAUèTE÷S, or PRAOTES, an earlier form, (prauŸth", (4240)) denotes meekness. In its use in Scripture, in which it has a fuller, deeper significance than in non–scriptural Greek writings, it consists not in a person’s “outward behavior only; nor yet in his relations to his fellow–men; as little in his mere natural disposition. Rather it is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting; it is closely linked with the word tapeinophrosuneµ [humility], and follows directly upon it, Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:12; cp.{cp. compare, see also} the adjectives in the Sept.{Sept. Septuagint} of Zeph. 3:12, “meek and lowly;” … it is only the humble heart which is also the meek, and which, as such, does not fight against God and more or less struggle and contend with Him. This meekness, however, being first of all a meekness before God, is also such in the face of men, even of evil men, out of a sense that these, with the insults and injuries which they may inflict, are permitted and employed by Him for the chastening and purifying of His elect” (Trench, Syn.{Syn. Synonyms} § xlii). In Gal. 5:23 it is associated with enkrateia, self–control.
The meaning of prau¬teµs “is not readily expressed in English, for the terms meekness, mildness, commonly used, suggest weakness and pusillanimity to a greater or less extent, whereas prau¬teµs does nothing of the kind. Nevertheless, it is difficult to find a rendering less open to objection than ‘meekness;’ ‘gentleness’ has been suggested, but as prau¬teµs describes a condition of mind and heart, and as ‘gentleness’ is appropriate rather to actions, this word is no better than that used in both English Versions. It must be clearly understood, therefore, that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was ‘meek’ because he had the infinite resources of God at His command. Described negatively, meekness is the opposite to self–assertiveness and self–interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.
In 2 Cor. 10:1 the Apostle appeals to the ‘meekness … of Christ.’ Christians are charged to show ‘all meekness toward all men,’ Tit. 3:2, for meekness becomes ‘God’s elect,’ Col. 3:12. To this virtue the ‘man of God’ is urged; he is to ‘follow after meekness’ for his own sake, 1 Tim. 6:11 (the best texts have No.{No. number} 2 here, however), and in his service, and more especially in his dealings with the ‘ignorant and erring,’ he is to exhibit ‘a spirit of meekness,’ 1 Cor. 4:21 and Gal. 6:1; even ‘they that oppose themselves’ are to be corrected in meekness, 2 Tim. 2:25. James exhorts his ‘beloved brethren’ to ‘receive with meekness the implanted word,’ 1:21. Peter enjoins ‘meekness’ in setting forth the grounds of the Christian hope, 3:15.”*{* * From Notes on Galatians by Hogg and Vine, pp. 294, 295.}¶{¶ ¶ indicates that all the N.T. occurrences of the Greek work under consideration are mentioned under the heading or sub–heading.}
2. PRAUèPATHIA (prauŸpaqiva ), a meek disposition, meekness (praus, meek, paschoµ, to suffer), is found in the best texts in 1 Tim. 6:11.¶{¶ ¶ indicates that all the N.T. occurrences of the Greek work under consideration are mentioned under the heading or sub–heading.}

Vine, W. E., Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell) 1981.


- May 2009 ... More Catholic Logos Titles!!!

Logos had just launced a plethora of catholic titles for adding on to your collection. They have even developed a "Catholic Resources" page! This is VERY good news.

They also are exploring more catholic options with their "Pre - Publication" discount (which will change as the titles come to print) so if you see any titles you would like to have in your library ... act quickley to secure a good price and encourage the development of these and other Catholic titles. Since this is an everchanging landscape refer to the prepub page on catholic titles.

 


BibleWorks 8 review - New 2009 BibleWorks 8

Note - BibleWorks 8 was released in January 2009

In March of 2007, I was given the opportunity to look at and now review BibleWorks 7.   As a member of the SacraMentors community I have been on a renewed spiritual journey though my Catholic faith over the last 10 years.  As I became interested in the scripture and with my natural bent towards computers, I looked into bible software programs and became familiar with Logos software version 2.1.  This software has matured over the years and is now Libronix DLS 3.0c.  After posting a review of the software, I was invited to look at and give my thoughts on BibleWorks 7. Please understand, I am a Catholic lay believer, a physician, and I am not fluent in any foreign languages ( I took 2 years of Latin and 1 year of French in high school and I am trying to learn Spanish).  Greek and Hebrew are not anywhere on my radar screen in terms of knowing much about the language and what I know has been gained from using bible software.  Given that background, I do find it interesting to try to get to the real meaning of the Word via the bible software available. 

BibleWorks 7 is exceptional in providing tutorials, written and in video, on how to use their software and this cut down the time on the learning curve quite a bit. These tutorials come on the program discs and do not have to be viewed over the internet which is a welcome feature.  This review is based on less than a month of familiarity with the program. I was pleased that it offered the New American Bible as one of the 37 English bibles as it is the official Catholic version. The speed with which BibleWorks 7 performs the tasks you give it is phenomenal. It is truly the “Ferrari” of bible software.  Things happen almost instantaneously and seem transparent.  The program is well set up with a 3 vertical pane system.  The left pane is the Search window, the middle is the browse window and the right pane is the Analysis window.  The right Analysis window is where the action takes place as far as I’m concerned.  The window is tabbed giving you the option of looking at the simple word analysis or the more robust word summary tabs as well as the option of recording your notes on a full featured note module which is tagged to the verse you are studying.  The system is very efficient.  I spent some time looking up the 5th Sunday of Lent Gospel, John 8: 1 – 11.  Of Particular interest was John 8: 6 where Jesus was writing or drawing on the ground.

NAB version - John 8:6 - They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.

You can display many versions of the text in the middle “Browse” window including both Greek and English texts and in using the Greek texts you can see the variation in the word used for “to write”.  The BGT uses the word kate,grafen and the BYZ uses the word e;grafen...... With BibleWorks 7 by holding your mouse over the word you wish to study you get an immediate translation of the word in a “tooltip” type window that also includes morphological information and by pressing the shift key you can maintain that selection as you move your mouse over to the right pane get further information on a word such as that contained in the Louw-Nidia Lexicon:

  1. In the Louw-Nidia Lexicon: 33.61  gra,fw - 'to write. ' o]n e;grayen Mwu?sh/j evn tw|/ no,mw| ' the one of whom Moses wrote in the Law' Jn 1.45. Since the knowledge of writing is almost universal, there is usually no difficulty in obtaining a satisfactory term for writing. In some instances in which languages are only now being reduced to writing, a phrase is often employed, for example, 'to make marks on paper' or 'to talk with lines' or 'to speak with paper.'
  2. In the Louw-Nidia Lexicon: 33.63  katagra,fw: to write something down - 'to write down, to record.' tw|/ daktu,lw| kate,grafen eivj th.n gh/n ' he wrote on the ground with his finger' Jn 8.6. It is possible to interpret katagra,fw in Jn 8.6 as implying only the position of Jesus writing something down on the ground, but in view of the total context, one can also interpret it in the sense of writing down an accusation.

So you can see that the words have slightly different meanings, one being to simply write down/scratch/record or form letters, the other meaning implies Jesus was writing an accusation on the ground.  Was Jesus just scribbling on the ground to buy time before he responded or divert attention away from himself, or was he echoing back to the accusers an accusation of them and their judgments from a place of sin within them?  Is Jesus in this instance being portrayed as someone brought into a tricky argument and working his way out of it, or is he decisive and clear and providing feedback to those who are accusing the woman and showing them that their judgments only lead to death and not new life?  Both texts are written and recorded.  They lend themselves to two different views, the subtleties of which are not conveyed in the English text.  Which version do you choose, which do you take as true? Both open up a more “human” Jesus as by reflecting upon the possibilities you are drawn closer to his humanity and possible emotions.  In the end the reader who engages in this exercise is brought closer to Jesus by going to the Greek texts and discerning the word than simply reading the English texts (even reading every version of the English texts does not bring to light these possibilities).

With the offering in January 2009 of Bibleworks 8, I upgraded to this version. It is well worth the upgrade. The "mechanics" of the software have been improved. A new "analysis tab" has been added which expands on the information on the verse you are studying. Also a new "Phrase Matching Tool/Related Verses Tool" which will help you find verses with similar words or phrases to the verse you are studying and a "cross reference window" was added which instantly allows you to view related verses. All of this is GOOD. The blazing speed that Bibleworks is knows for has not been compromised with theses new additions. Not only that but many new resources were added. For me I really appreciate the Early Church Fathers resources being added. Also there is a whole new section where you can link external web pages that you frequently explore on your journey of the Word. I have placed many of the links from our "Web Links" page in this customizable module. Although a small thing, I enjoy the new Daily Light devotional which can be forced to "pop up" when you start Bibleworks. For me it helps me slow down and spend some time getting in the proper frame of mind before I set down to study and read, much like centering prayer. There are also more Greek and Hebrew resources included. For further information on what is new, visit the "what's new in version 8" page.

As a comparison and a longtime Libronix user I tried to do the same exercise discribed above in Libronix 3.0c.  In Libronix, as it is a Digital Library System, I work differently.  One of the features I like in Libronix is that it has a Lectionary feature, and as of May 2009 Libronix now contains a Catholic Lectionary for the Sunday reedings (just do a "libronix update" to receive the file if you have the lectionary feature).. I use the  lectionary feature to guide me to the text to study for the upcoming week.  Then I open it up in the New American Bible and read the scripture.  My work pane is divided in half with the Bible scripture on the top and a linked Commentary on the bottom.  As you scroll through the reading, the commentary scrolls also. I have purchased the Collegeville Bible Commentary and usually use this Catholic commentary for further information.  For this particular reading, it was relatively uninformative, so I switched to Barclay’s Daily Study Bible Series.  It is actually here where I first became aware of the possible interpretations of the scripture based on the two different Greek words for Jesus writing in John 8:6 (the only place in the bible that describes Jesus writing). Using the “study passage box” on the Logos Home page and selecting the Exegetical guide feature for John 8:6 which used the NA27 as the default, then moving the vertical window over and creating another Exegetical guide and switching to the Byzantine Majority Textform New Greek Testament I now had both versions of the “to write” Greek word “translated”. Then clicking on each word I wanted to study and then clicking open the references for the words: BDAG, ANLEX, Louw-Nida, I obtained the same information that was available in BibleWorks 8.  The difference was in the amount of steps necessary and the 60 seconds it took to generate the proper lexicon entries for each word and open up the available resources for more information. 

For those who wish to primarily study, read, and analyze bible texts, discerning what the texts have to say to them, then BibleWorks 8 will perform what you want more cheaply and quickly with no distractions. It stays true to its mission statement to "rightly divide the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). BibleWorks does offer some commentaries (Matthew Henry) but is largely focused on the bible texts and the linguistics involved in interpretation. BibleWorks 7 is the speed king and excels at what you would expect to find in a bible language program. You can read versions of the bible side by side, compare parallel passages in the four gospels, and perform lightning quick simple word and complex grammatical searches with BibleWorks.  There are also many bonus features in the contents of the BibleWorks offerings such as bibles in other languages.  There are 7 Spanish, 7 French, 9 German, and 1 Vietnamese versions of the bible just to highlight a few of the 25 non Greek and Hebrew languages offered.  What a blessing for the multilingual culture in which we currently live.  I would think the more Greek and Hebrew language skills you had in understanding the different tenses and language structure, the more BibleWorks would help you understand the scripture from its original language, but even I, with no formal training such as you would receive in a seminary can easily and quickly use the software for further growth in understanding the scripture.  The basic set offered is wonderful right out of the box for $349 (Same price for Version 8).  They do offer an add-on module of BDAG/HALOT for an additional $212.  I have always thought of BibleWorks as a well respected and premier level bible software program and after using it, I must say it is absolutely wonderful at breaking open the Word and allowing it to speak to you in new ways.

Libronix is largely a Digital Library System and as such can be very resource rich in commentaries and various other readings, depending upon which package you purchase.  It can accomplish much of what BibleWorks 7 can but not quite as directly or quickly.  For those who wish to not only study, read, and analyze bible texts but also wish to have access to multiple resources to enhance their understanding of the Bible, ministry, different religions, church structures, history, and as well as some contemporary issues and are willing to tolerate the speed, then Libronix will work quite well for you.  You will have to work differently with Libronix as you can not simply place the mouse over the Greek or Hebrew word and get its interpretation (although doing so will give you the words morphology).  You must open an “information window” and the word meaning will come up in the default lexicon and is not nearly as easy to read the text and discern the “translation of the word” in this manner.  You can use an interlinear version of the bible which contains the translation with the original language or better yet perform an exegetical study on the scripture passage.  This certainly is a slower process but works best for me.  Having a library comes at a greater cost and you can shape your library by adding books of your choosing.  The books are generally cheaper than that available in print but costs for add-on commentaries can be substantial (the 58 volume Word Biblical Commentary sells for $499). Any collection purchase will get you the most for your investment as opposed to buying books individually so plan what your needs are and buy accordingly.  The “Libronix library engine” that runs the library is constantly being upgraded with more features, often without further cost. The original Language version (which would allow you to do the Greek and Hebrew text Exegetical studies), lists for $415.95 and adding the BDAG/HALOT bundle to that is $249.95.  To be fair, the version I am using includes the current Scholar’s Library Gold with many add on purchases over the years giving me over 1800 resources in my library.  No matter which version you have, you can always upgrade and modify.  For Catholics you can add the NAB version of the bible with the Collegeville commentary best by purchasing The Collegeville Catholic Reference Library: CD-ROM Edition (PC) Version 3.0.

For me, I am glad to have both programs as they are different at what they do best.  I am sure as I continue to delve into the original meaning of the scriptures more and more, I will find myself using BibleWorks 8 regularly for more efficient study of the Word.

Please note that all prices are the regular prices offered by the companies involved. You may qualify for special discounts if in Semanary or pastoral care. Often a cheaper price can be found through a retail outlet.

New in 2011 is the Bibleworks ability to utilize certain titles published in WORDsearch format

For more information see the Bibleworks website


WTCC4

Now let's discuss another piece of software: Welcome to the Catholic Church 4.0. This is a recent (2006) upgrade from version 3.0

NOTE: (2012) Harmony media is no longer supporting WTCC and if purchased, please make sure you get an unlock code from the vendor. Note that is does not run well on Windows versions above XP.

Contents: (New additions and updated content for version 4.0 are in bold)

Divine Revelation

  • New American Bible
  • RSV Bible: Catholic Edition
  • Encyclopedic Dictionary of Biblical Terms
  • Theology of the Body
  • Maps, Music, and 1500 Illustrations
  • Catena Aurea

Church Teaching

  • All Vatican II Documents
  • Hundreds of modern church documents
  • All John Paul II documents (1978-2005)
  • Sources of Catholic Dogma (Denzinger)
  • Church Documents: Nicea - Vatican 1
  • Code of Canon Law
  • Cycle of Readings 1997-2006
  • The Way of the Lord Jesus
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd Edition)
  • The Roman Catechism
  • Teaching your Children (Catechesis)
  • The Catholic Catechism (Hardon)
  • General Catechetical Directory (updated)
  • Summa Theologica (by St. Thomas Aquinas)

 


 

Church Organization

  • Ecclesiology: The Church of God (Bouyer)
  • Chart of Church Organization
  • Listings for all United States Dioceses

Mass and Sacraments

  • The Sacraments
  • Liturgical Documents
  • Homilies of Pope John Paul I I (1978-2005)
  • Cycle of Readings (updated to new Lectionary)
  • Sacraments and their Celebration

Prayers and Spirituality

  • Introduction to Spirituality (Bouyer)
  • Catholic Prayers
  • Catholic Household Spirituality
  • My Daily Bread (Paone)

Saints and History

  • Lives of the Saints (3 Volumes) (NOT Butlers)
  • Recently canonized Saints
  • Blessed Virgin Mary (Mersch S.J.)
  • Church History (2 Volumes)
  • Some Early Christian Fathers
  • Church Timeline

It has a very "churchy" interface with some nice background music, (one would almost expect incense to come out of the computer, however in the preferences it can be turned off). The interface in version 4.0 has been updated with a double pane navigation system giving you a choice of browsing in the right pain or expanding topics and drilling down to the desired document in the left pane. The right handed pane interface invites you to browse the contents, by doing so I have been pleasantly rewarded. The strong point of the program is in the amount of material of the church they offer: Stations of the cross, the Life of Christ, Mysteries of the rosary, prayers, and Catechism of the Catholic Church, and lots of church documents.. There is a wealth of Catholic information. The main addition to version 4.0 is the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas.

The bible has lots of * asterisks that you can move your mouse to and get a pop up box with more information and reference ... like the footnotes at the bottom of the page in many bibles. I enjoy these unobtrusive comments. In a recent bible study class, I found it easier to read the bible on the computer screen and click on the comments as they occurred - jumping to the referred passages and back than to read the bible on paper and search for the proper footnote. With version 4.0 there is a new "Related" that can be opened and appears on the right side of the interface. While reading the bible, it allows you to switch between NAB and RSV version and also get dictionary definitions to words, commentary through the Catena Aurea (which was written by the early church fathers compiled by Thomas Aquinas), as well as links to the Catechism. WTCC doesn't have the power of Libronix in that you can't purchase additions from an extensive library of offerings and it doesn't allow delving into the original Greek and Hebrew texts to get at the nuances of words used in a different time and place. It is, however, a very substantial collection of Catholic Bibles and information that will help you on your journey through not only the bible but church doctrine and teachings. Libronix does not, as of this time, does not offer any of the "books" (other than the two bibles) that are contained in WTCC 4.0 making it complementary to any Libronix offering. In a recent e-mail from Bill VanSmoorenburg at Harmony Media he says "WTCC 4.0 is a library system. You will download the newest documents and updates for free and we will be adding new books that are related to the collection already there - the browsing area will be expanded also". So it appears that the new interface brings many more options to WTCC.

There are a few nuances about version 4.0 I should point out. The Liturgical year readings are not as well done as they were in version 3.0 in that the table format seems to be lost. Also the last year given is 2006! This is made up for by a link to the internet under "extras" which takes you to the Unites States Catholic Bishops site for today's reading. From there you can navigate to Sunday's reading if you wish. It also has links to 5 Catholic news agencies including the Vatican. The newer 4.0 interface is more usable than those in the past with improved ability to select text and copy and paste to another application. There is also a new "check for updates" in the preferences. Hopefully this will allow a better implementation of the Liturgical year readings to be downloaded. Gone from version 3.0 is the "index" panel but this is no great loss.

With version 4.0 Harmony Media has given you the ability to download the full program for your perusal. It is the whole program with its entire content. You can only run it once without it asking for the unlock code. I called Harmony Media for the upgrade price and downloaded and unlocked version 4.0 within minutes and saved on shipping as well! It sells for $99 at Harmony Media and it is a good value. You might want to search on google or some other site for the best price. Be sure it is version 4.0. Check out the Harmony Media site to see what the current version might be, it seems to be upgraded on somewhat of a yearly basis. If you browse the Harmony Media site you will also see many other interesting bits of software, such as the Catechism of the Catholic church (this is contained in Version 4.0 of WTCC), Early Church Fathers, Butler's Lives of the Saints, The Teachings of John Paul II, the Summa Theologica (part of this is also in WTCC 4.0), and OSV's Catholic Encyclopedia.

NOTE: (2012) Harmony media is no longer supporting WTCC and if purchased, please make sure you get an unlock code from the vendor. Note that is does not run well on Windows versions above XP.


Faith Database

The Faith Database is a database full of spiritual titles which was launched I believe in 2009. The titles can be searched, read, and to some extent exported to a .pdf format. They have 10 different bible translations ... but note that the NAB and the NIV bibles are displayed through active links to websites as the material is under copyright protection.

The files are organized together by various tabs near the top of the interface: Writings, Bible, Encyclopedia, History, Apologetics, The Mass, Saints, Art and Images, Bookmarks, Test, and Tutorials.

For under $40.00 you can't beat the price. What it lacks is elegance, original language study, and the ability to have the books linked together. The "data" is there and can be read. Click on the title above for more information from their website.


Here is my personal recommendations based on content, application, and price:

Basic and inexpensive -
Starter Catholic Bible with Commentary with add on capability - Collegeville Catholic Reference Library 1.0 - (Libronix Engine)

Welcome to the Catholic Church 4.0 is a great program at a great price (only $50 as of 3/2011). It can't be built upon as can Libronix and Bibleworks (unless there is a WTCC 5!).

Faith Database - If you are on a budget, just want the raw data, and are willing to work through the database interface then this is for you.

Original Language Study - Expensive ($350)
BibleWorks 8 offers amazing speed for translation work of the original greek and hebrew scriptures with multiple lexicons and the ability to add on modules. Among the myriad of bibles offered is the NAB, NRSV as well as the Early Church Fathers and Dead Seal Scroll scriptures.

The Complete Package - Electronic Library - Expensive (varies depending version purchased)
Libronix 3.0 Catholic Edition. This has all the add-ins and enough original language capability to get you started in that if desired. It has all the English Bibles you would want, dictionaries, commentaries, and additional spiritual readings. With time you would probably want to purchase other books to add to your library, for that is what Libronix symbolizes, a library of books inter connected to allow you to use them in new ways (concurrent reading of bible and commentary, original language study, differences in bible translations, etc). Recommendations for add on books are the Anchor Bible Dictionary, BDAG/HALOT Bundle for more in depth original language study, and one of the many good Commentaries (Collegeville, Barclay, Anchor, etc). Just do some searching for the best price.

Libronix software will be around for a long time as will Bibleworks ... those are the two big players on the block at this moment (March 2011). The good news is that Bibleworks is expanding into sort of a "libary" mode with the addition of the WORDsearch titles and Logos is adding more and more titles (including Catholic titles) all the time ... including the works of Raymond E Brown as well as adding on functionality to the software (at no charge).

I hope your bible study and understanding of the Word will be enriched by one of the bible software products discussed.

--Steve Egge