Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Gap in the Market in the Catholic Press

The online age has certainly produced challenges for the Catholic Press. The emergence of blogs, the emergence of web-based forms of communication has made the mainstream Catholic press re-examine its position in the modern World and its dwindling readership. It has and still faces immense challenges.

The 'free press' in the Catholic World has arrived as Hilaire Belloc hoped, if with still a limited readership in an age that has rejected the Church's message in the West. What is the free press for the Catholic today? It is simply the thoughts expressed by the man and woman in the pew expressed mostly online.

The changes to the liturgy and what many now see as the damage done to the Catholic Faith throughout the 60s and 70s - the 'wreckovation' was overseen by mainstream Catholic media organs owned by a few groups or individuals. I'm not sure how much these publications protested against the destruction of Sanctuaries. I'm not sure how enthusiastically Humanae Vitae was greeted by The Tablet or The Catholic Times or The Universe or even The Catholic Herald. Those who objected to the assault on the Faith at the time (the 'little people') - their voices were left mostly unheard, were silenced by those in positions of power in whose authority and wisdom they had often absolute trust. Only the voices of the 'specialists' were accepted or heard. Even the voices of priests, at the time, were I think ignored.

The LMS Chairman today gives an exemplary example of just what a mess the Catholic press is in with Mgr Basil Loftus attacking Cardinal Raymond Burke in The Catholic Times. Why is this man being employed for his writing services to a Catholic newspaper? Has the editor of this publication not seen that the Church has moved on from the 1970s, even if members of the Hierarchy have ossified. Has he not noticed that the Church has 'moved on' and that not all have 'moved beyond Jesus'?

We live in uncertain times in the Church. I hope that there isn't a 'this time', but if the Catholic Church undergoes another perceived revolution in Her liturgy and belief, it is true to say that it will not be so easy 'this time' as voices will be heard, voices will be raised in objection. Where are these voices? They are evident already and if, in time, the 'worst case scenarios' take place, many will feel it a Christian duty to defend holy doctrine, Church law and belief from those who, deliberately for even good intentions, believe such should be dismantled. This duty I expect will be evident in the writings of mostly priests and laypeople on Catholic blogs, but what, if something goes drastically wrong, will be the response of the mainstream Catholic press 'this time'?

Our Lady, Undoer of Knots
I can only guess. I have long held and sincerely believed that there is a 'niche' in the Catholic press for a magazine that is able to communicate effectively the Faith that truly is the Church's possession to which we as faithful Catholics give assent - our glorious Faith. Yet, where is it? The Tablet has long-since divorced itself from the Magisterium and disappeared into a void of unbelief and dissent. It is now only a vehicle for dissent against all that the Church has consistently believed. It is totally unable, with its current editorial team, to communicate the riches of Catholicism. It is a diseased media organ.

The Catholic Herald fulfills its mandate as a chiefly a reporter of weekly Catholic news and has gathered among its writers many who are committed to the Church's mission, but where is that one magazine that Catholics who are faithful to the Church pick up or subscribe to which increases their faith and love of the Most Holy Faith? It doesn't yet exist. It should!

I still maintain that there is a gap in the market for the Catholic press - a magazine to which Catholics can subscribe or buy to which they feel a sense of loyalty because the magazine is loyal to that which we have been privileged by the grace of God to receive and to accept and give full assent. I believe the Church needs a magazine that is loyal to the holy tradition of the Church, loyal to the Mass which we strive with God's grace not only to attend but to live, a magazine that is able to communicate the Faith to those Catholics who receive little nourishment and to newcomers - that will entertain and inform readers of the glory of the Catholic Faith with apologetics and with explanations for the 'hope that is within us'.

 So, I just ask the question and turn it over to readers of this blog, if somebody entrusted you with the mandate of creating a Catholic magazine that would keep you - and other Catholics you know - coming back for more, what would it look like? What would its focus be? What would its aims be? What imagery would it use? What would its mission be? What would you read about? What would the visuals be? Who would you want to see write for it? Who would you want to see interviewed? What would a Catholic magazine offer you that would attract you and others to become a loyal reader?

Have a think and put your suggestions in the comments box.


Paul Fournier said...

We only remember snippets of what saint Paul has to say because he writes essays to bishops but we remember what Christ tells us because he tells stories.
Everybody loves a story - especially when the good wins over the bad.
We learn three ways - intellectually (of course) - and by experience -intuition - and poetically. A journal, to be popular should attempt to reach all three ways to a man's heart... just as Christ does.
Paul Fournier

Lynda said...

The Catholic Voice distributed in Ireland is sound. (Is it available in England, an English edition?) So is the free monthly, "Alive!"

Dr Dingo Dingbat said...

I would be attracted to almost anything as long you don't write it. If you write it, it would be convoluted, rambling and overly sensationalist / sentimental - verging on the schismatic and conspiratorial. We already have nut jobs writing magazines like catholic truth Scotland, don't need any more!

AndrewWS said...

Back in the 90s, the Catholic Times presented itself as the faithful publication you seem to be looking for, but something appears to have gone terribly wrong.

It appears that you can subscribe to Catholic Voice through its website

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

the Remnant is if a fine orthodox Catholic paper ( - their e-edition saves postage.

a bit of satire wouldn't go amiss (

I really find Louis Tofari's liturgy articles engaging, edifying and often moving (

gorgeous pics and clear real Catholicism with some quirky articles on how weird and wonderful God's creation is. (

Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Andrew Pinsent have written some CTS (soon to publish our papa's hyperbole for the faith) booklets and have a good depth of knowledge on recent and not so recent aspects of the Faith.

then there's our beloved Fr Ray - maybe he could
have a Fr Ray's Real Clear Rant column.

there must be a 'send in your weapons of mass destruction' horrors just to remind the perpetrators that we are not aclimatizing.

an Italian Franciscans under fire, from behind the battle lines, by anonymous.

can't wait for the first issue!

The Bones said...

Dr Dingo,

Well quite what you are doing reading my blog then is mysterious indeed.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I think Dingbat just likes being rude. If in the real world people shun you for your rudeness you can still get at people in cyberspace.

Actually I find Standpoint, which does not pretend to be a Catholic magazine, rather more orthodox than the Catholic Times. Certainly it has a much more adult attitude to religion than most of the media.

OB said...

Given the choice I'd have a journal just like 'The Tablet', but just not in its current manifestation.

'The Tablet' once was a joy; an orthodox, enquiring and intellectually agile publication that engaged with the issues of the day from a solidly Catholic perspective. It was independent from the Bishops of E&W too, which was both helpful and gave it credibility. Won't happen of course - Eheu fugaces!

Et Expecto said...

To clarify a point made by AndrewWS, I think that this is what happened. Originally the Catholic Times was an independent paper, but had financial difficulties and was bought out by The Universe, I think around 1970. It was later closed down.

The Universe later changed hands, and the then owner thought that there should a Catholic paper catering for the more intellectual audience which was authodox. At that time The Catholic Herald was an extremely radical paper. The Catholic Times was reinvented in the 1990s to fill this role.

The next event was that the group that included The Universe and The Catholic Herald was in danger of folding, presumably due to financial difficulties. The enterprise was taken over by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales in order to keep alive the Catholic publishing. The bishops did not like the style of the Catholic Herald and changed the editor to someone who was more in tune with the thinking of the magic circle.

Finally, there was a management buy-out of the group which reformed it into Gabriel Publications. The new ownere have taken a much more commercial view and seem to have little regard for message of the contents. In other words, the print what they think will sell the newspaper.

Patricia Phillips said...

Don't forget the excellent Christian Order magazine !

Ttony said...

"Catholic" from Papa Stronsay is nowhere near frequent enough but it has a Fr Hunwicke column. Sons of the Redeemer with a priest of the Ordinariate: what's not to like (apart from the infrequency)?

Mhairi said...

Dr Dingo, may I point out that Catholic Truth Scotland, pointed out years ago the probability of a substantial homosexual element within the Catholic priesthood in Scotland. Well it was not such a nutty idea after all!!
You may not agree with HOW they say it but they do not print lies.


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