The New Technology Is for Amateurs

December 2007By Tom Bethell

Tom Bethell is a Contributing Editor of the NOR and the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science (Regnery, 2005).

The mail brought with it the latest issue of The Latin Mass magazine (Fall 2007) -- accompanied by a fundraising letter ("a critical juncture -- an urgent request"). The papal motu proprio freeing up the Tridentine Latin Mass (Summorum Pontificum, released July 7) meant that the magazine had now become "more important than ever," the fundraiser said, but, "at the same time, forces of opposition -- both within and without the Church -- are already lining up to prevent, in any way they can, a Latin Mass restoration."

The letter added that Keep the Faith, the parent organization that publishes the magazine, has a $32,000 printing bill for each issue. With five issues a year, that means The Latin Mass costs $160,000 a year just to print. It is sent free to over 1,000 priests, in addition to regular subscribers. Readers were therefore invited to make contributions (as much as $25,000 was suggested) to keep the worthy enterprise afloat.

The new papal document about the Tridentine Latin Mass meant that the magazine really did have some news to report, and the issue that accompanied the fundraising letter duly published the motu proprio itself, and some interesting reflections and analyses by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., the Editor-in-Chief of the excellent Homiletic & Pastoral Review, and by others, including Baylor University's Michael P. Foley, the author of Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday?

It occurred to me that the magazine might very well consider publishing a continuing feature in every issue, listing those dioceses and parishes where the Tridentine Mass may be heard in the U.S. It would also be interesting to read more about those "forces of opposition," particularly episcopal, who see fit to resist a "Latin Mass restoration" within their own jurisdiction.

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I subscribe to NOR (print and on-line editions) and The Wanderer (originally the print edition but after a month switched to the on-line edition. Just recently, NOR made a plea for donations because of the postal increase. I answered with a small donation and a request to no longer send me the print edition. I will renew with the on-line edition only.

I appreciate NOR and others (like California Catholic Daily and The Wanderer) because they sift through the many stories that are out there and publish those that are pertinent to me. This saves me time. More importantly, they exude an element of trust that I no longer find in many magazines and newspapers.

I'm one of those "amateurs" who runs a web site ( but I would never compare my skills to the "professionals." However, I'm not afraid to compare my love for the Church with anyone else.

I started the site to help promote the cause. Just as the publications are dying, so is the Church. I really believe the way things are going, in another twenty or thirty years, our church, as we have always known it, will become unrecognizable. I am trying my best to circumvent this.

I believe NOR, California Catholic Daily and The Wanderer all (to use your words, Mr. Bethell) "seem(s) to be genuinely interested in the Catholic Church and her direction." I agree with you that a lot of publications lost this principle along the way.
Posted by: jackclough
December 13, 2007 11:38 AM EST
It is true that the internet has significantly and, most likely, permanently changed the landscape in so far as how one gets the news is concerned. It is true that high mailing costs are forceing changes also e.g. not just publications such as the author addresses but also the sending of birthday,Christmas cards etc. I prefer to sit down and read an article to reading on the internet. However, I am reading more on the internet and I no longer suscribe to newspapers,other than the local one, using the internet more and more for information. I do think that an additional, and perhaps the major influence, factor is the lack of professionalism in journalism these days. I say this using a broad brush of course. I include the so-called mainstream media - TV, newspapers, magazines, etc. You can no longer depend on the accuracy of any one article you read. You find more spreading of propaganda and ideology than reporting etc. This makes the cost of a susbscription no longer worthwhile. I hope that this will change but the hold of liberals in the education systems give me little reason to believe that it will. Posted by: wunsch
December 31, 2007 11:56 AM EST
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