Among the almost daily news of job losses at many of America’s best-known companies is another sign of these turbulent times: cutbacks in various forms at newspapers. Be they big-city daily papers or community weeklies, newspapers are paring back on the frequency of publication, reducing the number of copies distributed, shrinking the staff with which to produce the paper, publishing online only or, in some cases, going out of business altogether. Some of the biggest newspapers are up for sale as they teeter on the verge of bankruptcy.
Observers are wondering what news will go uncovered, what social conditions will remain unexamined and what inspiring stories of human decency will go untold if newspapers fold.
Those stories continue to be told through the lens of the Catholic Church in this official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. This month of February, Catholic Press Month, affords an opportunity to appreciate the value of work that, if not performed by the dedicated members of Catholic publications, broadcasters and communicators, might not get done.
One example of the value of Catholic newspapers is the very one you are now holding. Secular newspapers and other media are covering the devastating arsons that have racked the city of Coatesville, Chester County. But the Catholic Standard & Times’ perspective on this issue illuminates the Catholic connection. Catholic parishes of the area are praying for the victims of the arsons and for the perpetrators, while Catholic aid organizations are spearheading assistance for the affected families.
Other newspapers might give passing mention to this perspective. But no other combines it with numerous other stories on education, the pro-life movement, religious life, liturgical worship, spirituality, sports, Church news in the nation and world plus valuable advertising in each issue.
This is the role of the Catholic press, without which the Church would face a stiff challenge to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ to a world and a culture in need of it.
Newspapers are changing and under stress these days. But the Catholic press, especially this newspaper, continues to rely on the active support of faithful subscribers and pastors not merely to operate a business but to fulfill a mission of evangelization. We renew our commitment this month to teach all people to observe everything that the Lord Jesus has commanded of us (Mt. 28:20) and to strengthen our brothers and sisters in the practice of the Catholic faith. To all our readers, a most hearty thank you.