Monday, July 28, 2008

Is the Catholic Standard relevant?

For those of you who are not from the Archdiocese of Washington DC, the Catholic Standard (also called My Catholic Standard) is the paper for the Archdiocese.

Like most papers serving a Catholic population, the articles are a mix of international, national and local news, with some editorials and opinion pieces. Most of the international and national news are picked up from Catholic News Service or other news sources.

Over the last eighteen months, I have noticed a real change in the quality of the stories in the Standard.

If you read any of the news service, or major Catholic websites, you will easily find all of the international and national stories (and more) without waiting one or more weeks for them to be published.

There are fewer stories which discuss controversial issues, which may affect the quality of life for Catholics in the Archdiocese. For example, there has been no mention of the Transsexual Bill passed in Montgomery County or very little on the issue of refusing Communion to pro-abortion politicians’, except for the Archbishop’s very weak defense of his position.

There is an increase in the number of “teaching” articles. What I mean by this are various articles which attempt to teach something about our faith. Nothing wrong with that but instead of “news” I am seeing this in line with the teaching focus of the Archbishop.

There has been an increase in the number of “Special to the Standard” by-lines. This means that it is from the Communications Office of the Archdiocese. Nothing wrong with that, but say it.

There has been an increase in the number of articles promoting local “Catholic” politicians. However, this has back-fired on them in the case of Marilyn Praisner and Martin O’Malley.

There are almost no letters to the editors. Those that do get published are usually thanking someone for a wonderful event. Now, there is nothing wrong with it but you mean there are no legitimate criticisms of anything?

There are the usual stories about youth giving back to the community, special events of some of the various ethnic groups, school news, etc. All of those are very important and I am not belittling them at all. I rather like them.

Finally, there is the effort to “increase” circulation by requiring every parish in the archdiocese to “purchase” a number of copies. How do you think copies get in the back of your church? Do you think your pastor really wishes to spend a couple of thousand dollars a year on this? (BTW, most dioceses require parishes to purchase the Catholic newspaper and it has been going on for a number of years.)

(To be continued tomorrow)


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