Catholic periodicals

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nazard
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Catholic periodicals

Post by nazard » Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:19 pm

Southern Comfort wrote:The Tablet ... is the only serious, intelligent Catholic weekly out there...


We are in trouble!

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Nick Baty
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Re: Year of Faith

Post by Nick Baty » Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:24 pm

Why?

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Re: Year of Faith

Post by musicus » Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:41 pm

Nick Baty wrote:Why?

Well, while we may speculate as to why nazard said that (unless he himself enlightens us), the Tablet's coverage of the YOF has been exemplary, IMHO, not least in exploring the thinking and the rationale that brought it about.

(Let's stay on topic, please.)
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Re: Year of Faith

Post by nazard » Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:27 pm

If we only have one intelligent and serious periodical then we are in trouble because that weekly could press its own viewpoint without any balancing contrary opinion. Remember that intelligence and benevolence, and indeed faith, are not as tightly linked as we might like them to be. There are plenty of people who have only one or two of the three. Another periodical is needed to point out where the first is going astray.

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Re: Year of Faith

Post by Nick Baty » Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:39 pm

That was the intention of the Catholic Times when we relaunched in 1993. Our first editor – and my very good friend – Norman Cresswell (RIP), was determined it would be neither right nor left but Catholic. His very good intention was soon hijacked. We were soon under fire for the right-wing nature of the letters page in the early editions. But if you could have seen the letters we couldn't publish.... And thinking back to those first columnists – it's a wonder we weren't lynched as we left the office each evening.

But you're right about the need for a balance. Having said that, print is not the way forward. I doubt if all our UK Catholic weeklies sell more 40,000 between them. Only The Tablet publishes ABC figures so we cannot know what the others are really selling.

T'interweb is probably the way forward. But there are so many right-wing blogs out there. Were I shopping around online to find out more about the Church, I doubt I'd look at Catholicism twice. Luckily I know from first-hand experience that we're not all Daily Mail readers.

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Re: Year of Faith

Post by nazard » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:19 pm

Nick, I think this is well off topic, but would you please explain what you mean by left and right wing in a catholic context? Perhaps you could start a new thread.

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Re: Year of Faith

Post by Nick Baty » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:36 pm

I suspect there will be many definitions.
For me:
Left wing equals accepting Christ's teaching and using it to make the world a better place for all.
My definition of The Right (specifically the religious right) would probably lead to my permanent expulsion from this forum.

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Re: Year of Faith

Post by Southern Comfort » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:41 pm

I think the point, nazard, is that in this country there is only mass-market Catholic periodical that qualifies as both serious and intelligent. The nature of its ecclesiology is therefore irrelevant.

Some attempt to categorize it as left or right wing. In fact it is both of those things. A significant proportion of its contributors are, as is the case with the Catholic media generally, right wing. Others are not. The result may be some kind of balance, which is of course the thing that the ultra-right people hate about it. They, of course, are not renowned for balance of any kind. Nor, some would opine, for intelligence.

Getting back to topic, are there any reports as to how YoF opening liturgies went in the far-flung reaches?

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Re: Year of Faith

Post by BobHayes » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:32 pm

It is unfortunate that there is a widespread tendency to position our Faith, the Church and individual priests and laity on a Left-Right political spectrum. Political science is a relatively recent human construct, with all the potential for flaw stemming from our sinfulness. It is unwise to think of our Faith in political science terms: God surely transcends such constructs.

Back to the topic - Year of Faith! We now have a Year of Faith noticeboard at the back of church detailing our activities and those of other parishes within the diocese. There seems to be plenty going on, ranging from prayer events through to talks and presentations. Obviously there are pragmatic issues about picking the best day and time of day for activities - to meet different parishioners' needs: outside working hours, availability of public transport or car sharing, personal security and the like. Hopefully no-one will get 'spiritual indigestion' [I cannot claim credit for that term.] from the many and varied events. If you attended the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin you will know what I mean!
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Re: Year of Faith

Post by Nick Baty » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:18 pm

BobHayes wrote:God surely transcends such constructs.
Well his message is certainly more left than right. Try Amos and Hosea.

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Re: Year of Faith

Post by Peter Jones » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:46 pm

Nick Baty wrote:Well his message is certainly more left than right. Try Amos and Hosea.


Oh sigh. What are we discussing now? Can we get back to faith - even faith in the Paschal Mystery that is prefigured by our (Right wing???) God slaughtering more than a few Egyptian first-born (not only people but livestock too)? Less Biblical fundamentalism please!
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Re: Year of Faith

Post by Nick Baty » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:50 pm

Yes, it's way off topic. But how anyone can describe themselves as "Catholic" while supporting Blair/Thatcher policy is beyond me.

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Re: Catholic periodicals

Post by musicus » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:23 pm

Just to clarify: the subject of this topic - split off from 'Year of Faith' - is Catholic periodicals.

I would be mightily obliged if everyone would stay on topic and thereby spare me the perilous task of splitting topics, which is not easy using this forum's software. It will NOT do to say "Oh, I know this is off-topic, but..." and then proceed to spout any old stuff. Such posts - however erudite and interesting (which, let's face it, most of these OT ones aren't), will be summarily removed. Kindly take the trouble to start a new topic.

And yes, I am cross, but no apologies are necessary, just a firm purpose of amendment. Please continue, on-topic.
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Re: Catholic periodicals

Post by BobHayes » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:12 pm

Many thanks for splitting this off from the other thread musicus. Well, as you have done this, I may as well set the ball rolling with my thumbnail sketch of the state of ‘Catholic periodicals’ in Britain today. As I see it, we have two principal weekly publications: The Tablet and the Catholic Herald. This is a personal perspective and maybe it will open some debate on the topic.

The Tablet: It comes in a handy A4 format and comprises contributions from regular columnists, guest writers, interviews with well-known individuals plus reports and news items. With a strong interest in Catholic social teaching it rightly focuses on a range of humanitarian issues at home and abroad. I would suggest its internationalism is rooted in a United Nations type of world view. It also has a tendency towards publishing gossip, while trying to appear high-minded and distant from the puerile - much as The People (Sunday tabloid) prints gossip and nudge-nudge stories while claiming to stand aloof from the overt salaciousness of the now-defunct News of the World. There are problems within the Catholic Church, but gossipy tittle-tattle, verging on sensationalism does nothing to resolve them. Likewise its sycophantic attempts to append the Church to the Olympics were gut-churning.

Catholic Herald: Broadsheet format and arguably old-style broadsheet mentality – for good or ill. Again a mixture of regular opinion columns, guest writers, interviews plus reports and news. In contrast to TT its world view is very much focused around the Church as a supranational organisation. Consequently its international coverage can be somewhat patchy – certainly in comparison with TT. Nonetheless its coverage of Aid to the Church in need, in some of the most troubled areas of the world, is welcome. CH is undoubtedly a bolt-hole for many of those who label themselves ‘traditionalists’ and some of the related commentary is hectoring, bombastic and at times – it appears to me – lacking in Christian charity. It has a somewhat fawning / sentimental approach to some peripheral matters such as the SSPX and various obscurities.

………..

Looked at from a secular, political perspective, where do these periodicals sit on a Left-Right axis? They are the work of men and women, not God, so I see no problem in subjecting them to analysis within the framework of political science.

The CH strikes me as firmly on the High-Tory Right: socially conservative and anxious about change - at times oozing Daily Telegraph curmudgeon-ness. Positioning TT on the Left-Right axis is more challenging! I would describe it as Centrist in outlook, as it places primacy on individual conscience and individual rights. Where issues conflict with the Church (or indeed Scripture) TT seems often to take the side of individual conscience. Some view TT as a publication on the political Left. To me this notion suggests wishful thinking by those of us on the political Left, who have been losing ground to Centrist and Libertarian ideas (focused on the individual person and their rights, rather than on the solidarity of all humanity) at least since the end of the Great War.

As with much journalism – certainly dating back to The Times and Manchester Guardian in the nineteenth century - the two principal publications purporting to serve Catholics in this country both seek to go beyond reporting and commentary and actively campaign. This, of course, reinforces partisanship. Whether ‘traditionalists’ and ‘progressives’ are drawn to the CH and TT respectively, or whether they are repelled by the other is a moot question.

Having a choice of press is always better than having no choice. However, if we read only what we assume we will like, are we in danger of becoming what George Dangerfield described as (in a semi-religious context), ‘simple minds all waiting to be outraged’?
Bob

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Re: Catholic periodicals

Post by Southern Comfort » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:37 pm

In terms of circulation, both The Tablet and the Catholic Herald are massively outnumbered by The Universe. I don't think you can leave the last of these out of the reckoning when considering paid national Catholic weeklies.

A different analysis would look something like this:

The Universe: Mass-circulation. Brief news items, comment and reviews. Caters for Irish market as well as the UK. Readership level: C-D

Catholic Herald: Formerly medium-circulation, but circulation, already in decline, plummeted after editorial policy took a wrench to the far right in an attempt to boost sales figures, and is now a splinter-group contender. Brief news items, comment and reviews. Readership level: (B)/C-D

The Tablet: Medium circulation. Extended comment, articles and reviews, some briefer news items and comment. Significant international representation on subscription list. Readership level: A-B

My original comment about the last of these as the only serious, intellectual Catholic weekly periodical in the UK was based largely on content and readership level, not on location on the left-right spectrum.

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