Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
September 10, 2001
Catholic press fulfills important mission
The Catholic press in Canada is in hard times. Two long-serving magazines — Our Family of North Battleford, Sask., and Companion of Toronto — will soon publish their final issues. There are only five weekly Catholic newspapers across the country. Of the remainder, only a few are full-fledged newspapers while several dioceses publish a diocesan newsletter infrequently.
How much this stands in contrast with our Church's bold vision for the Catholic press! In 1971, a Vatican document said, "The press, of its power and nature, is of towering importance. . . . It is hard to see how people can keep touch with what is happening in the Church without the Catholic press. Neither can people keep a Catholic attitude towards what happens in the world without the help of commentaries on the news written in the light of Christian principles."
A recent U.S. study found that the proper functioning of democracy requires people to read newspapers. Other media are too ephemeral and do not provide enough information for citizens to be fully informed of issues.
In the Edmonton Archdiocese, we have a proud legacy. This year marks the 80th anniversary of a weekly newspaper for our diocese. For 44 years that newspaper was the Western Catholic; for the last 36 years, it has been the Western Catholic Reporter.
We are doubly proud because the WCR is meant to go into every Catholic home. The parish assessment, admittedly expensive, more than pays for itself by taking the WCR's Catholic information and teaching into the homes of tens of thousands of regular churchgoers as well as thousands of homes where families attend church irregularly if at all.
We believe the WCR is an excellent Catholic publication. People from other dioceses consistently tell us that. We have also been blessed to receive awards for general excellence among regional Canadian Church newspapers for six out of the last seven years. Most recently, the judges said the WCR "does an excellent job of covering all bases, . . . (is) a treat to read . . . a good mix, well-edited."
But it is a special joy to us to get positive response from those we were created to serve - our readers. In the past year, we have provided extensive coverage of World Youth Day in Rome, the coming WYD 2002 in Toronto, our own archdioc-esan pastoral assembly last September as well as the many smaller events that make up the lifeblood of the diocese.
We also provide a Catholic view on the many issues facing our world today — from stem cells to aboriginal rights. And we further provided the complete text of Archbishop Thomas Collins' pastoral letter on the Eucharist.
For people who missed the original coverage of these events, much of it remains on our website, www.wcr.ab.ca.
It might be possible to keep up with what's happening in the local and global Church without the WCR. But it would be a lot harder. The WCR is an enterprise that's worthy of the Church's support. Without it, the faith of the people would be much less informed.
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Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.