What is Special about What We Do?
The bottom line is that you can’t get what CatholicCulture.org offers anywhere else. This is a case we need to make effectively to our users if we expect them to dig deep to support this Catholic apostolic work. Let me make that case now.
No potential supporter will doubt the importance of the Catholic Faith in guiding their lives, in fostering a healthy society, and in building a fruitful culture. Anyone who doubts this general point is obviously not a potential supporter. But a potential supporter will become an active supporter only if he believes, first, that a web site devoted to explaining the Catholic Faith and applying it to personal, social and cultural life is extremely important and, second, that CatholicCulture.org does this significantly better than anyone else.
Why a Web-Based Apostolate?
I see the following four compelling reasons to do our Catholic work on the web:
- Accessibility: It is vitally important to have an excellent web site devoted to both a Catholic critique of contemporary affairs and Catholic formation for personal, social and cultural life. Unlike other media, a web site permits anybody to retrieve key information and ideas quickly, easily, and at whatever time is most convenient. Also unlike other media, the web provides both a platform for the immediate dissemination of important news and analysis and also a long-term archive of everything that has been published there in the past, all more or less instantaneously accessible.
- Depth: The web is an ideal medium for the transmission of text, and text is what it takes to analyze and explain what’s going on in the Church and the world, what’s right and wrong with our contemporary circumstances, and how an authentically Catholic culture can and should be formed. This takes careful, cogent and articulate analysis, which requires both good writers and capable readers, exactly the kind of thing that was formerly carried on in books and periodicals among relatively small groups, now made available more efficiently and on a wider scale.
- Economy: A web site also most often makes its materials available free of charge (as does CatholicCulture.org). It costs money to develop and maintain a web site, but not nearly as much as it costs to work in most other media, and this permits minority voices to be effectively heard even without support from mainstream advertisers (which is virtually impossible for Catholic projects). Not only does this cost-effectiveness open up great possibilities for minority viewpoints, it also permits truly independent viewpoints, not beholden to major special interests of any kind.
- Responsiveness: A final advantage of the web is the inherent nimbleness of the smaller organizations which can run web sites, and of the people who use them. It’s very easy for users to provide important feedback to the site editors, who are in turn able to be extremely responsive to user needs. Work on the web is richer and better targeted because of this interaction. It is also fantastically easy for users to appropriate materials found on the web, to send them to their friends and associates, to incorporate them into their own blogs, social networking profiles, or email lists, even to print them out for physical distribution. The Internet has an enormous capacity for rapid and widespread transmission of information and ideas, very similar to viral marketing.
For all these reasons, the world wide web is the natural home for an apostolate like ours. It also gives our supporters the most bang for their buck.
Why CatholicCulture.org Is Better
Now let me be perfectly frank. When it comes to providing an articulate Catholic voice on the web for the benefit of personal, social and cultural life, nobody does it better than CatholicCulture.org. A man may be a poor judge in his own case, but if we thought anybody else did this better, we wouldn’t be doing it. Here are the seven reasons I claim CatholicCulture.org is significantly better than any other Internet source for the promotion of Catholic life and Catholic culture:
- Fidelity: At Trinity Communications, we have one goal and one goal only: To explain, defend and apply to contemporary society and culture the teachings of the Catholic Church as found in Scripture and Tradition, as articulated decisively by the Magisterium, and as embodied in that spiritual wisdom which is called the “mind of the Church.” We have no private axe to grind, no other agenda, no special filter through which we conveniently adjust what the Church teaches, and no penchant for emphasizing only one part of her teaching in a way which obscures or ignores the rest.
- Comprehensiveness: CatholicCulture.org is not devoted to just one aspect of Catholic life, such as spiritual development, liturgy, politics, education, Vatican-watching, or anything else. We have built up enormous resources in all of these areas and more. With these resources available for background research, we now cover all the news and issues of interest to Catholics, everything from the liturgical day to the halls of power. We explain and comment according to whatever aspects of Catholic thought need to be brought to bear; and we recommend what might be done to form true Catholic culture. We bring it all together.
- Independence: Trinity Communications is a non-profit corporation run by lay people. We are dependent neither on the hierarchy of the Church nor on any sponsoring organizations. We are not constrained to portray Church affairs always in a good light, or to gloss over mistakes and sins. We have no special interests to protect. When true independence is combined with fidelity, you get a remarkably frank and open discussion of the problems of the Church and the world that is still rooted firmly in the Faith itself. Compare the approach of official and semi-official Catholic news services with our own Catholic World News. There’s quite a difference.
- Reliability: We constantly check our news stories and commentaries for accuracy and fairness. We don't report rumors as facts. We neither pass along "feel-good" press releases from diocesan headquarters nor offer space for anonymous complaints and accusations. We don't recycle inaccurate stories from the secular press; we question them, correct them, point out their biases. When you visit CatholicCulture.org to read a Catholic World News report, a blog entry or an extended analysis, you can be confident that it's factual. And if we do make an error, we don't hide it through silence or spin. We acknowledge the mistake by issuing a correction.
- Experience: The two leaders of CatholicCulture.org are myself and Phil Lawler. Phil focuses primarily on daily events and what they mean. He’s been in the news business for over thirty years; he has edited three major news-and-commentary periodicals, he’s written six books, and he founded the first online Catholic news service. In my own writing, I tend to focus on broader cultural issues, often with an educational purpose. I hold a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton, I’ve taught at the college level, I was a co-founder of Christendom College, I founded the Christendom Press, and I Iaunched Trinity Communications, including CatholicCulture.org. You will not find two people better prepared to do what we do.
- Incisiveness: Now ask yourself all the legitimate questions. Have you ever seen such a virtuosity of range and scope from a small group of Catholic writers? Have you seen writers who more frequently make exactly the most needed points at exactly the right time? Have you seen anybody else penetrate as intensely or provide the depth of understanding that Phil, myself, and our guests bring to so many issues? How many writing today have you found to be as easy to understand, as helpful in grasping the most complex matters, as lucid and downright enjoyable to read? I understand that this sounds like sheer bragging. But I have no choice but to lay the case before you. We do this better than anybody.
- Balance: It’s a rare thing, balance, and it is not infrequently lacking even among committed Catholics. Most of us have a tendency to bog down in our own personal concerns and our own pet ideas. We can’t discuss the liturgy without insisting on our own tastes. We can’t analyze politics without prejudice. We are over-eager to advance our own peculiar preferences. I’m sure nobody escapes this completely, but at CatholicCulture.org we take it as a serious responsibility to keep our own biases and preferences from obscuring the larger Catholic picture. We try to comment on everything simply according to the mind of the Church—no less, certainly, but also no more.
The Fundamental Choice
This, of course, is my own self-assessment. It surely reads too much like a panegyric on our own work. But I believe with all my heart that CatholicCulture.org is worth your support for precisely these reasons. And in the end, all of these reasons amount to the single reason with which I began: CatholicCulture.org has something vitally important to communicate that is simply unavailable anywhere else.
If you agree with this assessment, then we count on you to join with us in our quest to form authentic Catholic culture. Together we can make a significant difference. Alone, we can’t do anything at all. That’s why we need every person who believes in what we’re doing to participate in keeping it going: to pray, to use our shopping or credit card programs, to purchase our eBooks, and to make the serious sacrifice of supporting us financially through pledges and single donations.
It takes many hearts and hands to form any culture, and it takes many noble souls to make a Catholic culture. If you’ve read this and think I’m right, please join in. We’re here for you, and we need you here too. Support Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org.
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