Listers, it almost goes without question that the mainstream media does not understand religion, much less the one true faith of Holy Mother Church. Catholicism cannot be boiled down to a list of doctrines, but demands a formation of the intellect and way of thinking. To properly report on Catholicism a Catholic news source is a necessity. The following sites represent the best Catholic news outlets available to the laity, and have been distinguished from SPL’s list of the Best in Catholic Blogging.
The official news site of the Vatican offers the faithful brief news articles on the Pope and the Church, videos of His Holiness and multiple news outlets: Fides News Agency, the L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican Press Office, Vatican Information Service, Vatican Radio and CTV. The site is extremely useful for those seeking primary sources and full texts, and those interested in keeping tabs on the workings of the Roman Curia.
The National Catholic Register began in Denver in the late 1920s as the Denver Catholic Register. Exchanging several hands, it eventually was purchased by EWTN from the Legionaries in January 2011. The paper prides itself on being a daily news outlet that is faithful to the Magisterium and professional in presentation. Since the NC Register is technically still a bi-weekly newspaper, the online portion runs a bit slower when compared to a 24/7 news cycle.
Amongst many supposed Catholic media companies, the NC Register remains a resource for faithful Catholics seeking to understand their Church and their world. It hosts a myriad of correspondents and gives opinion through their various and well-known bloggers. Outside the critique that their newspaper format is slower than the now customary 24/7 media sources, the NC Register has also been criticized for being soft or looking the other way when priests or bishops actually due deserve criticism and investigation. Overall, the NC Register is a staple for any Catholic seeking current news and opinion.1 – Please see footnote for clarification of the critique of the Register.
The Register is a perfect addition to our teaching apostolate. We live in an age where there is so much distortion and misrepresentation of the Church’s teaching by forces who oppose her message, particularly in the secular news media. Being sure that the Church’s voice is heard clearly and accurately has always been the core of EWTN’s mission,” he said. “Continuing the tradition of the Register gives us another means to carry out our mission of service to the Church.
Michael Warsaw, EWTN CEO
New Advent is without question one of the most popular Catholic sites for news and research. The simple but well-done outlet contains a front-page daily news aggregate, a full online Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, an index of Early Church writings, an online Bible and a library filled with Church documents.2
In 1993, Kevin Knight, then a 26-year-old resident of Denver, Colorado, was inspired, during the visit of Pope John Paul II to that city for World Youth Day, to launch a project to publish the 1913 edition of the encyclopedia on the Internet. Knight founded the website New Advent to house the undertaking. Volunteers from the United States, Canada, France and Brazil helped in the transcription of the original material.
Pew Sitter’s style and format can only leave one thinking that the site is the Catholic Drudge Report. A news aggregate site collecting the top stories of Catholic-interests from both Catholic and secular sources, the Pew Sitter is an excellent website for a checking the daily top stories.
Pewsitter.com was established to give the Catholic lay faithful a voice in the matters of the Church. In response to Vatican II’s call for the “full and active” participation of the laity, Pewsitter enables and encourages the laity of the Church to submit news articles, events, and even audio/video copies of their favorite homilies to share with other Catholics.
The UK Catholic Herald is the National Catholic Register across the pond. As with the Register, the Herald is on a newspaper cycle and its updates and articles are slow in coming.3
The Catholic Herald is a London-based Roman Catholic newspaper, published in broadsheet format and retailing at £1.50 (€1.80 in the Republic of Ireland). The Herald reports a total readership of c.21,000 copies distributed to Roman Catholic parishes, wholesale outlets and postal subscribers. This includes 1,000 issues distributed in the Republic of Ireland. The newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief is Damian Thompson.
The Catholic Herald is now owned by Sir Rocco Forte and Lord Black of Crossharbour, the latter a prominent convert. In recent years The Catholic Herald has become known as one of the most conservative British Catholic news organs.
Rome Reports is the premiere site for Catholic videos. Updated on a regular basis, Rome Reports is faithful to the Church and reliable for up to date videos on Catholic news and papal events.
ROME REPORTS (RR) is a private and independent international TV news agency based in Rome, Italy, specializing in covering the Pope and the Vatican. With its ethnically diverse and talented team of journalists, producers, cameramen and editors, the agency instantly offers the latest news from Rome as well as a half-hour Weekly Newsprogram.
Everyday broadcast stations around the world aim to keep their audiences informed on the latest from the Catholic Church. We provide them the content with which to do it, including Images and Archive materials. For in-depth analysis, we also produce high quality Documentaries.
“The Vatican” on Youtube has improved with time and offers viewers primarily raw videos of Pope Benedict XVI delivering various addresses.
This channel offers news coverage of the main activities of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and of relevant Vatican events. It is updated daily. Video images are produced by Centro Televisivo Vaticano (CTV), texts by Vatican Radio (RV) and CTV. This video-news presents the Catholic Church’s position regarding the principal issues of the world today. Links give access to the full and official texts of cited documents.
Rocco Palmo and his blog have routinely embarrassed paid-media outlets by breaking Catholic news stories sooner and in more depth than large Catholic newspapers. If something is stirring within the Catholic Church and in the Catholic blogosphere, you can bet Whispers in the Loggia will be commenting and commenting well.
One of global Catholicism’s most prominent chroniclers, Rocco Palmo has held court as the “Church Whisperer” since 2004, when the pages you’re reading were launched with an audience of three, grown since by nothing but word of mouth, and kept alive throughout thanks solely to reader support.
A former US correspondent for the London-based international Catholic weekly The Tablet, Palmo’s served as a church analyst for The New York Times, Associated Press, BBC, NBC, National Public Radio, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and a host of other print and broadcast outlets worldwide.
Life Site News is the staple source of prolife information and news.
LifeSiteNews.com is a non-profit Internet service dedicated to issues of culture, life, and family. It was launched in September 1997. LifeSiteNews Daily News reports and information pages are used by numerous organizations and publications, educators, professionals and political, religious and life and family organization leaders and grassroots people across North America and internationally.
LifeSiteNews.com Daily News reports are widely circulated reports on important developments in the United States, Canada and around the world. Their purpose is to provide balance and more accurate coverage on culture, life and family matters than is usually given by other media. Available by free daily email subscription and on LifeSiteNews.com.
EWTN News boasts daily global stories, videos from The World Over and several other media platforms. They have also partnered with Catholic News Agency and own the National Catholic Register. EWTN’s long reach, holistic approach and television channel make it a fundamental element in any Catholic’s engagement and understanding of the global Catholic Church. The news section of EWTN’s online presence is only one small section of a massive amount of information available to Catholics.
A Few Other Considerations
Lister Recommended Sites
A few sites that you – the listers – have asked to be included on the list.
1. Real Catholic TV – The straightforward and controversial Michael Voris has a prolific amount of apologetic and news report videos that are available at his site and on Youtube. St. Peter’s List has used Real Catholic TV in lists before, especially in our list over the Inquisition.
2. Catholic Answers – SPL did not originally include Catholic Answers, because it is more a resource and apologetic site than a news source; however, since its been mentioned several times, we’d be more than happy to bring attention to this great site.
Other Notable Sites
A few others sites that would be of interest to a Catholic audience.
National Review Online – Touting itself as the “America’s most widely read and influential magazine and web site for conservative news, commentary, and opinion,” the NRO historically has drawn many notable Catholic intellectuals and continues to be a source for Catholics who speak on the cross-section of religion and politics.
Jihad Watch – The controversial news aggregate collects news stories from around the world chronicling the devastating effects and atrocities of Islamic Jihad. The primary intellectual behind the site is Robert Spencer, a Catholic who co-wrote a book called Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics.
Various Other Sites - A few notables like Catholic Vote and Pulp.it were deemed more blog orientated than news and can be found on SPL’s list of must-check Catholic blogs.
The Dishonorable Mentions
National Catholic Reporter – Lovingly called the National Catholic Fishwrap by popular blogger Father Z and others, the supposed Catholic newspaper is a festering wound of heresy and dissent.4
Mainstream Media “Faith Blogs” – It probably goes without question that sites like the Huffington Post on Religion and the CNN Belief Blog are complete froth and generally only host those religious thinkers who are either atheists or angry ex-members of a given religion.
Listers, did we miss an outlet? – is there a site you think should make the list? – is there a site that should not have made the list of faithful media outlets? Comment below and we’ll make a list of lister recommended news sources.
If there is a site that you would expect to see on this list, it may have been deemed more a blog or blog aggregate than a news site. Please check 12 Catholic Blogs Worth Your Time to see if the site is listed there. Cheers.
- NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: UPDATE (4-13-12): Since the National Catholic Register is the first source of Catholic news that I personally recommend – and in full disclosure I have written for their newspaper – I want to clarify my statement that they have been seen “looking the other way when priests or bishops” deserve due criticism. The sexual abuse crisis gave us a measure of Catholic journalism. If the path to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops and priests, then I have no doubt its mortar will be made of Catholic journalists. Two great errors surfaced: the first was to mitigate these atrocities and brush them under the rug and the other was to use these individual failures as a catalyst to spread supposed “healing heresies” such as women priests and a laicized Church. If I thought the Register had stayed its hand when filth needed to be brought into daylight, I would not recommend them. In my opinion, their history has shown them to know when to puncture a mainstream media articled bloated upon the goal of knocking Holy Mother Church off her moral perch and when to admit that someone that bears the name of Christ has failed.
Nor do I find the Register passive in Church politics – in fact their unabashed critique of Bishop Kicanas must be credited in some fashion to derailing the typical order of promoting the Vice President of the USCCB to President; which in turn gave us what can now be seen as an enormous gift in such trying times: Cardinal Dolan, President of the USCCB.
My critique of the Register is as follows: they are slow or even absent when it comes to critiquing allies. Conservative and faithful Catholics have spent the last fifty years fighting their way out of the trenches and pushing back against liberalism and its virulent vector the “Spirit of Vatican II.” Battle lines lay amongst the liturgy, pro-life issues, contraception and other hills-to-die-on and the faithful and the dissenting build their forts on either side. The problem comes when we realize a conservative bishop who lauds a return to a reverent liturgy quietly moves priests who teach the Church’s teaching on contraception to small rural parishes or a Cardinal whose led prayer time and time again outside the abortion clinic tends to pastorally skirt the issue of who is and who is not worthy to receive communion. And here you ask me questions. Ambrose, does this not pose a great difficultly to the Catholic media? Yes, it would take an uncanny matching of theological prudence, investigative reporting and pure effrontery. Does any Catholic media source do this? No. Is it unfair to call out the Register on this? Yes. It is unfair; however, I lay this criticism at the feet of the Register because I believe they are the only Catholic media organization capable of developing more and more into the outlet faithful Catholics need. Whatever spectres may still haunt the halls of the Legionaries, the Register has shed it all and moved into a brilliant relationship with EWTN. The Register and EWTN are going somewhere, and I think this is where the Church needs them to go.
There is however another and probably even more daunting hurdle for the Register to overcome: me… and you. “Conservative” or faithful Catholics. The aforesaid years in the trenches fighting liberalism has pushed so many of us into an unhealthy rebound where we are tired of the hierarchy and the Church being criticized. I would sign it in blood that if the Register ran an exposé as articulated above, us Chary Catholics would kick back with a vengeance and withhold donations and plaster Register comment boxes with juvenile plans of never visiting again. Listers, here is my critique: it is easy to critique your enemies and hard to critique your allies. And quite frankly, I think we’re all so battle fatigued that we rather keep lobbing bombs across the battle lines than get our own house in order. So, dear National Catholic Register, truly it’s a critique of many of us, but I lay it at your feet to lead the way. Cheers. [↩]
- New Advent: Quote Source [↩]
- Catholic Herald description source. [↩]
- NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER: Though it is rare for articles to call for open dissent – but it does happen – the articles are routinely colored by painting the Vatican and Church hierarchy as a corrupt-white-male-only power structure that is subjecting women, gays and the overall laity to ancient and outdated principles. One must only read the combox of most any article to see that an unadulterated freedom amongst the laity is the only way to castoff the crippling traditions and leaders of the Church and usher in a wondrous New Catholic Church. On a final note, John L. Allen Jr. is amongst the more prominent Catholic reporters in America and it is true that he stands out amongst the NCFishwrap writers as one who at least appears to actually even be happy to be a Catholic; however, as demonstrated in his book A People of Hope, Allen may present both “liberal and conservative” views on an issue, but the chosen list of issues to discuss are almost entirely those of liberal concerns. In gist, the same old issues are brought to the table time and time again, e.g., woman priests, contraception, etc., seeking solutions and compromises that are simply not possible. However, many people believe that almost as much as the National Catholic Reporter seeks to blame and demonize the hierarchy of the Church, the National Catholic Register seeks to exonerate them. Whether or not Catholics have at their disposal a media outlet that is both faithful and critical is debatable – and how to strike that balance is also a conversation – but all in all the National Catholic Register is an excellent newspaper that under the guise of EWTN is sure to continue in excellence, while the National Catholic Fishwrap seems doomed to drown in its own pernicious ideologies. [UPDATE: Please see footnote on NC Register for clarification] [↩]