Action Alert!

The diocese as corporate sponsor

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Aug 27, 2014

Full disclosure, part I: If you come visit the Lawlers, you’ll notice solar panels on the roof of our home. We had them installed because we thought it was a good investment—and, yes, good stewardship of resources. It made sense.

Full disclosure, part II: If you are inspired by our example, and have your own solar panels installed by the same company, we’ll pocket a nice referral fee.

But No, I am not going to name the company, because that would be a misuse of this space. We carry paid advertisements on this site, but we don’t insult our readers by mixing commercial pitches into our editorial content.

Yet you will find an unsubtle pitch for another solar-panel vendor in today’s CWN coverage. The Diocese of Stockton apparently does not share my compunctions about becoming a shill for a particular corporate venture.

Yes, I understand that the vendor will make a contribution to the diocese for each new Catholic customer the diocese signs up. But then recall, as I explained above, that for every new customer I sign up, my vendor will make a contribution to me. There’s nothing out of the ordinary here.

Look: If it makes sense to install solar panels, do it. Especially in sunny California (as opposed to cloudy New England), there’s a lot of energy to be harvested, at relatively low cost. But why is a Catholic diocese becoming an active partner in a promotional campaign—for one of the many corporations competing for the solar market? It’s tawdry.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: jasoncpetty3446 - Aug. 27, 2014 3:57 PM ET USA

    Reminds me of one of the evangelical church signs I saw around here recently: "WE ARE SOULAR POWERED BY THE SON." Ha.