The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently announced that Catholic News Service would cease its domestic operations at the end of this year. The decision was “prompted by the changing media landscape and a need to prioritize available resources,” according to the USCCB’s chief communications officer. It’s part of a broader reorganization of the conference’s communications department.
I’ve come to know many CNS staff members well during my years working in Catholic media. They are a dedicated group of professional journalists, editors and photographers who keep Catholics, including us in the Diocese of St. Cloud, well informed about national and international news and events through a Catholic lens. Please pray for them during this time of transition.
The decision also impacts what we do at The Central Minnesota Catholic. Since our transition to a magazine format four years ago, we use less CNS material in our print publication. But we rely on it heavily for content for our website, social media and weekly e-newsletter. These are the media channels we use to keep Catholics in the diocese informed about our Church on a day-to-day basis. Thankfully, the CNS Rome bureau will continue to provide news about the pope and Vatican-related events and issues. This service will now be free.
Starting this summer, however, CNS will no longer provide movie reviews or faith formation articles, such as the series on the Eight Beatitudes that we’ve been running this year in the print magazine. Then, of course, there is the question of where we will be getting national news starting next year.
I’ve always believed that Catholics are more likely to be engaged in their faith and parish life if they are well-informed and well-formed about what is happening in their Church and the world around them — whether on public policy issues such as abortion, immigration, climate and physician-assisted suicide, or Church initiatives like the synod process, National Eucharistic Revival, pastoral planning and evangelization. There are obviously other sources of national and international news other than CNS, but what CNS does extremely well is cover the full-spectrum of issues in a way that provides an accurate understanding and better equips us to talk about them in society and with our fellow Catholics.
This loss will be difficult to replace. Over the course of the next several months, we’ll no doubt be hearing more from the USCCB about its communication plans and what further impact they may have on dioceses.
In the meantime, the staff of The Central Minnesota Catholic and diocesan communications office will continue to offer the local news and feature stories that readers look forward to, as well as the excellent content from FAITH Catholic that educates, evangelizes and inspires us to lives of holiness. We will look for other options for the news we will no longer receive. Communication is crucial, and we need more, not less, of it to be a vibrant, engaging, relevant Catholic Church now and in the future.
Please feel free to reach out to me anytime with your comments or questions: email@example.com; 320-258-7624.