We launched Inside the Vatican magazine in April 1993, with $4,720 in initial capital. Our goal was entirely evangelical — we wanted to spread the Gospel, the “good news” of Jesus Christ in an increasingly secular age. We were moved to act by what we saw and read in the mainstream media: daily distortions and mockery of the Church’s teachings. The faith was depicted as an impediment to happiness and freedom, not as the one great source of true happiness and freedom.
As young writers, trained at places like Harvard and Yale, but still deeply believing, we wished to counteract this mockery and correct these distortions by offering our own new, clear, and (hopefully) compelling voice in the “war of ideas” of our time. Seeking to defend the truth of Christ and of his Church, we went to “the heart” of the Church — to the Vatican itself. We began there.
But, partly due to our experiences at places like Time magazine, where we were told how the story had to read before we began to write it, we felt we had to find a way to be independent enough to carry out our mission.
We went to “the top.” Encouraged by Pope John Paul II, by his personal secretary, then-Monsignor (now Cardinal) Stanislaw Dziwisz, and also by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), we finally decided to launch a completely new type of magazine: loyal to the Church and the magisterium, but modern, alive, fresh, and not controlled by any interest group, inside or outside of the Church. So we began, and so we have continued. This has meant that we have functioned in great freedom, but also without any of the institutional resources, which support many other Catholic publications.
Today, entering our 21st year of publication, people ranging from former US Ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon, now at Harvard Law School, to Father Benedict Groeschel, founder of a vibrant new branch of the Franciscans, have said Inside the Vatican is a “marvelous contribution to the New Evangelization” and “our favorite magazine.” Pope Benedict XVI has told us he appreciates our work very much. Still, we are doing far less than we could. Why? Lack of resources.
Since 1993, our publication has provided the most comprehensive and balanced coverage in the world on the Vatican. We provide thoughtful insight into the reasons behind the actions of the Pope and the Vatican, in contrast to much reporting in the secular media. We have covered most of the great spiritual, cultural and social issues of our time from a profoundly Catholic perspective. And we have truly flourished.
While many small journals have gone out of business, we maintain a solid base of about 10,000 paid subscribers in some 100 countries, including Russia, India and China. This is the main source of our revenue — our subscribers. And we have a renewal rate of more than 75%, which is considered very high in the publishing industry. Our readers are very loyal and supportive.
Indeed, we are closely read “inside the Vatican” — we received an email on August 22, 2010 from Cardinal Raffaele Farina, head of the Vatican Library and Archive, thanking us for our publication of his recollection of the time, in 1997, when Cardinal Ratzinger indicated to him that Ratzinger hoped to end his career as the Vatican librarian. Farina writes: “Le sono grato soprattutto per aver precisato con delicatezza la situazione della mia difficile successione al P. Leonard; solo Lei come Suo amico poteva parlare liberamente su questo punto. Grazie!” (“I am grateful to you above all for having described with great tactfulness the matter of my difficult succession to Father Leonard; only you as his friend could speak freely on this point. Thank you!”)
Dozens of people from with the US, and from poor countries around the world – the majority priest and religious – write to us each year asking to receive a free subscription. We routinely agree to send the magazine to them free of charge, and regularly receive back letters of gratitude for keeping them connected to the Pope and “the heart of the Church” — but this is a heavy financial burden and we could use some support for this work. Please consider sending a donation to help support this mission.
Our organization consist of only 2 full and 3 part-time professionals who seek to communicate accurately and globally the teachings of the Catholic faith through our magazine and website. Our publication is printed by a Catholic community in New Hope, Kentucky, and we have two editorial offices; Rome and Front Royal, VA, in the Archdiocese of Arlingtion.
We have sought in recent years to augment our subscription revenue (about 70% of all annual revenue is paid subscriptions, so this is a “real” magazine with a “real” audience) by soliciting donations from individuals and grants from foundations like the Homeland Foundation, and the Bradley Foundation. We have begun to have some success in these efforts, and our supporters say they are convinced the magazine is an important voice to keep alive in our society.
Nearly 21 years later we continue to carry out our original mission, “To employ the written and spoken word in order to defend the Christian faith, and to spread the message of a Culture of Life to a fallen world desperately in need of the saving truth of the Gospel of Christ.”
Please consider supporting our work with a tax-deductible donation. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Thank you for the consideration.