Making Our Case: Is CatholicCulture.org Worth Supporting?
I am a firm believer that the support of apostolic work should stand or fall on whether a large number of people find it valuable. It sometimes happens even in Catholic work that the availability of substantial funds from a small group of financial angels can obscure this usefulness test.
Do the activities of the organization in question really make a difference to those who are supposed to benefit from them? Is the apostolate based only on the peculiarities of its leaders, or is it firmly rooted in genuine service that really helps others?
I ask myself this question each year as CatholicCulture.org reaches out for necessary support to continue its mission. What will our users decide?
Those who receive our appeals may not guess how much I hate talking about money. But I also have a responsibility to God, to the Church, to our Catholic mission, to all who can benefit from that mission, and to our staff and their families. I still think our mission is important; and so, of course, I believe there is ample reason for people to fund it through their donations. But in the end, this must be decided by our users.
Each year at this time we must run an important fundraising campaign. I believe your support of this campaign is a good investment. Given that we directly reach over five million users in more than 200 countries around the world each year, our total annual budget easily works out to be the most cost-effective of any comparable apostolate—about eight cents per person served per year!
Moreover, our original material is widely distributed indirectly through blogs, other websites, parish bulletins, newsletters, radio, TV and social media. In this way we reach as many as 50 million persons each year. And for this good work, we depend entirely on our users.
Claims to Fame
If you have been helped by our Catholic news, commentary, documents and spiritual resources, then that is the best of all possible reasons to support our work. If you believe what we do is also important for others around the world, and you recognize that a great many who benefit cannot contribute, then that is another reason for offering your financial support.
Other reasons are both quantitative and qualitative. Quantitatively, according to a study by the American bishops commissioned in 2012, CatholicCulture.org is the seventh-most visited Catholic website in the world, trailing organizations like the Vatican, the USCCB, and Notre Dame (fueled, of course, by sports). Among organizations with a news service, we rank first. By which I mean number one. In the world.
Speaking of news for a moment, did you know that our stories typically appear at least a day earlier than coverage of the same events in other venues? This means that among good Catholic outlets, we are really providing the basis of the news for a great many other organizations. Not infrequently we receive emails demanding to know why other outlets have covered situation X today and we have not. Almost always, the answer is that we have already covered it. Yesterday or two or three days ago. When it happened.
But CatholicCulture.org does not stop with news. We write constant analysis of events, trends, and issues of all types—including moral, philosophical, theological and cultural issues—in our Commentary sections: On the News, On the Culture, In Depth Analysis, and The City Gates. We also maintain an extensive resource library, including the Pope’s talks, homilies and audiences; the best addresses and pastoral letters by other prominent Church leaders; official Church documents of every kind; and major Catholic articles.
All of this is supplemented by important reference materials: A Catholic dictionary, a searchable version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and a complete collection of the works of the Fathers of the Church. We even maintain a full set of reviews of other significant Catholic resources available on the world wide web—so that if you encounter problems or confusion in looking into some topic, you can often check the reliability of the source right here on CatholicCulture.org.
Minds and Hearts
But we are not concerned only with information and analysis. A key component of what we do is oriented toward spiritual growth. In addition to all the other ways in which our resources are distributed to countless individuals, these resources are consulted again and again in RCIA and catechetical programs, in book clubs, in discussion and prayer groups. We write about spiritual questions and spiritual development. And we emphasize the need to adopt what we call “the mind of the Church”, which is perhaps the key in our times to developing true life in Christ.
To foster the mind of the Church, we provide the most extensive collection of resources anywhere for living the liturgical year in the domestic Church, helping parents grow spiritually themselves while fostering a domestic culture which enables the Faith to seep into the very bones of their children. All of these resources—lives of saints, histories of feasts, prayers, activities and recipes—are linked to our incomparable liturgical calendar.
Moreover, we not only submit ourselves to the Magisterium of the Church, but we chart a prudent and time-honored spiritual course which avoids the Scylla and Charybdis of left and right, the twin pitfalls of the modern world. We are equally untempted by Modernism and Traditionalism, and also untempted by inordinate personal spiritual attachments, such as anti-ecclesial claims to inspiration by the Holy Spirit, or non-ecclesial reliance on particular claimed apparitions.
Again and again we steer a course for all our users which is firmly rooted in authentic Catholic spirituality and which follows the leadership of the Successor of Peter. The ancient expression “Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia” has never been more true: Where Peter is, there is the Church. Earlier this year, Pope Francis asked us once again to proclaim Jesus Christ as the living and only Savior, and to help others experience Christ fully in the life of the Church.
With your help, we intend to do just that.
All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!
Posted by: feedback -
Sep. 14, 2015 12:24 AM ET USA
You are excellent! Thank you for what you do! I discovered you a couple of years ago by accident, and I am reading your daily news extracts ever since. You do deserve a much greater exposure. Perhaps parish priests would consider linking your news page to their parish websites. Not all people have the time, or the erudition, to enjoy your magnificent commentaries, but the news headlines are simple, valuable and understandable to all. May God continue to bless your work!
Posted by: John Holecek -
Nov. 11, 2013 12:36 PM ET USA
Yes, your apostolate is worth supporting. I'll do my usual year-end gift. Don't lose heart!
Posted by: ForOthers8614 -
Nov. 10, 2013 10:27 PM ET USA
I wish to extend my thanks as a Catholic for those who support this faithful and frank resource. My faith is enriched and informed by this website. Dr. Mirus et al, thank you as well for being such a trustworthy source. I do support you, but only with prayers because of our financial state. May God richly bless your apostolate for our Holy Mother Church.
Posted by: ElizabethD -
Nov. 08, 2013 7:37 PM ET USA
I read a lot of Catholic websites and I do think Catholic Culture is particularly excellent and credible. A remarkable amount of funds go into this site. It does suggest I'm not the only one who thinks this is particularly excellent and does a real service. I am glad for whoever provides the matching funds. It helps those of us tempted to think "my small donation makes no difference."
Posted by: jg23753479 -
Nov. 08, 2013 7:35 PM ET USA
Yes, Jeff, it most certainly IS worth supporting. I am doubling my monthly pledge in a few moments. Your site has become a regular part of my daily routine, a place where I can keep track of the many important things going on in the Church; I would find my morning coffee to be a much poorer thing without it.