instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Thursday, January 15, 2004

The Google Ichthus Index

A Saintly Salmagundi observed that the Holy Name of Jesus is hard to find on the website of the United States Province of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

I've noticed something similar about websites of other U.S. religious congregations, and while it's a bit puzzling I'm not sure it means anything much. (By "anything much," I mean, of course, "their lives aren't particularly centered on Jesus," but that sounds terribly harsh, so I leave it at "anything much.")

Just to generate some data, I've computed the Google Ichthus Index -- the percentage of website pages containing the words "Jesus" and/or "Christ" -- for several websites not entirely chosen at random:
The World Wide Web0.6
National Review Online2.7
Nashville Dominicans39.9
The Vatican59.2
New Advent88.4

I did some fiddling with a few of these, to account for non-English pages, especially the Vatican's site, since it has so many pages in so many different languages. So they can't be directly compared to each other -- and of course, the index itself is of doubtful meaning, so direct comparisons are even less meaningful.

Still, there are a couple of interesting things. Blogspot has a surprisingly high GII. Either it's disproportionately devoted to discussions of Christianity compared to the Web as a whole, or there's a whole lot of cussing going on.

The Nashville Dominicans are often held up as the standard example for how a religious congregation should have come through the immediate post-conciliar period. I computed the GII for a few other congregations; they were about half to a quarter of the Nashville Dominicans.

New Advent, of course, has the old Catholic Encyclopedia, the Summa Theologica, a selection of Church Fathers, and other stuff like that.

The actual Vatican GII is somewhat higher, since I didn't account for all the different languages at the site. (The same is true for the Web as a whole.)

Disputations has a relatively high GII, but it still means that about 18 times a year, I go a week writing about Catholicism and stuff without mentioning Jesus.

I included National Review Online because some folks seem to think it's the official organ of conservative American Catholics. It's not.