Communication is moving at such a fast pace. Every day it seems we have new options from iPhones to iPads. Years ago, when television came along, some predicted that advancement would signal the downfall of radio. But people still listen to radio, and rely on it for news and entertainment. When videos came along, some thought television would be endangered. Instead, people watch television more than ever – on hundreds of channels and in more ways than ever before, from the Internet to phones and other devices.
So it’s no surprise that people have been predicting for years now that the Internet and all these new electronic devices will mean the end of newspapers. I don’t agree. With the advent of blogs and other Web sites where viewpoints are available, there is a real need for qualified news organizations to report and edit, to do the fact-checking and exercise the quality control that is sometimes lacking.
Here in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, our own The Catholic Review is an important part of that news mix. It’s attractive and engaging. It reports on the stories that other news outlets in the region don’t, or don’t get right. Since February is Catholic Press Month, I share with you some thoughts on our Catholic newspaper by answering some “frequently asked questions.”
Why is it important to have a Catholic newspaper in the Archdiocese of Baltimore?
If you watch TV news, you might watch a network newscast or a cable news channel, but when you want local news, weather and sports, you’ll tune to one of our local stations. You might enjoy a national newsmagazine or newspaper, but if you want to know what’s happening in the city or in your area, you’ll read your local newspaper, in print or online. Local media continue to be relevant and important because they understand our area better than national media do. In the same way, Catholic media are vital to the Church because, just as CNN doesn’t know Maryland as well as the local news outlets do, neither do the secular media know the Church as well as our Catholic media do.
The journalists at The Catholic Review focus on covering the news that matters to the Church and its people. They have years of experience – decades in some cases – covering the Church. This is their area of expertise. They cover the stories that the secular media neglect, stories such as the March for Life last month in Washington. The secular media, including The Baltimore Sun, often ignore this annual event or downplay its significance. Sadly, it’s not uncommon. The mainstream media should have a better understanding of how important faith is to people and how it shapes viewpoints. Since they don’t, it’s important that we, as Catholics, all support a strong Catholic press.
A quality Catholic newspaper is also important to inform and evangelize Catholics, and I’m proud of the many ways The Catholic Review does both.
Why does the Archbishop write a column every week for The Catholic Review?
One of the primary duties of every diocesan bishop is to teach the Gospel. In our Archdiocese, we have two seminaries, three other Catholic institutions of higher learning and a number of secondary and elementary schools. As the principal teacher and shepherd, I cannot be present in all those places at once. However, once a week, I can visit the homes of families in our Archdiocese, from Oakland to West River to Havre de Grace and all the parishes in between. The Catholic Review is the most effective means for me to communicate with so many people at one time. And now, with the newspaper’s increased presence and availability on the Web, I can reach even more of our faithful.
I didn’t sign up for a subscription to The Catholic Review, but I receive it each week. Why?
Thank your pastor! It’s our hope and our goal – in fact, it has been a long-standing Archdiocesan policy – that The Catholic Review be delivered to every registered home (those who receive parish envelopes) in the Archdiocese. In this way, with local, national and international news, The Catholic Review keeps you well informed of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church of which you’re a member, as well as this local Church in Baltimore.
Certainly, if you’re able and willing to pay for your subscription, your pastor will appreciate your support.
What else does The Catholic Review do?
The Catholic Review is part of The Cathedral Foundation, which, in addition to publishing The Catholic Review in print and online, runs Catholic Printing Services, a full-service print shop, and publishes books under the imprint of Cathedral Foundation Press. In cooperation with the Vatican, the Foundation distributes the English edition of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, in the U.S. and Canada, and will soon begin a project with Vatican Radio.
Our news and communications efforts are a great asset to us. So, please take a moment to reflect on the importance of The Catholic Review during this Catholic Press Month, and please share it with a friend.