Inside the Vatican Brief Overview of Today’s American Catholic Print Publications
By Inside the Vatican Staff
Print magazines in the United States are generally in a steady decline that has lasted since the mid-1990s, with the arrival of the internet. As more Catholic publications choose to join the ever-growing number of online periodicals, the remaining print publications have had to increase their efforts to remain current and important enough to stay on the shelves. It can be hard to understand why paying for a print subscription is worth it when almost everything can be found for free online. We at Inside the Vatican would like to argue that print magazines not only present the most important information in a professional fashion, but also enable the reader to take a step back from technology and truly focus on the pieces they are reading, allowing the words to touch them and change them for the better. We think there will always be a place for print, and we hope you will agree!
Reaching the hearts and minds of Catholics has always been our main goal, which is why we continue to print Inside the Vatican Magazine. Our goal is to keep the faithful in touch with the heart of the Church in Rome. Here, we would like to share the names of several other Catholic magazines that seek to better the lives of Catholics by printing and delivering the truth.
- U.S. Catholic: U.S. Catholic magazine is published by the Claretian Missionaries, a group of religious priests and brothers who take their name from St. Anthony Claret, a writer and publisher deemed a “Modern Apostle of the Good Press” by Pope Pius XI. The magazine has been printed for more than 80 years, and features articles which appeal to adult Catholics of all ages. To use their words, the magazine “puts the faith in the context of everyday life.” Focusing on social justice and other current topics, each issue provides a unique juxtaposition of opinions and facts, providing the reader with a “fresh… faith perspective” on modern society. It is a monthly publication, and $30 buys the subscriber the print and online versions of the magazine’s 12 issues a year.
- Catholic Answers Magazine: The print publication of the popular Catholic radio program, Catholic Answers, this magazine equips readers with solid apologetics and facts to argue the Church’s stance on current and classic topics. For a couple of decades it has been the only magazine of its kind, perfect for the Catholic convert in need of clear, well-reasoned answers for doubtful family members or the cradle Catholic living in the Bible Belt, seeking to better understand the faith he was given at birth. Its articles are written by the same faith experts regularly featured on the radio show, and its recently updated look makes it hard to resist reading it from cover to cover as soon as it arrives in the mail. A year subscription costs $39.95, and though this only includes six issues, each one is a full and colorful 48 pages long.
- America: The National Catholic Review: This journal is published almost every week of the year and provides well-written coverage on issues of faith and culture. It is the print outlet for America Media, a Jesuit ministry that editorializes on events and topics in a thought-provoking fashion, for “thinking Catholics and those who want to know what Catholics are thinking.” In print since 1909, the journal is one of the country’s oldest periodicals, and is constantly winning awards from the Catholic Press Association. The reliable and stimulating commentary covers a wide range of interests, from art and the economy to international relations and spirituality. New subscribers can purchase a year’s subscription of 39 issues, along with full access to America Media’s plethora of online resources, for $56.
- St. Anthony Messenger: St. Anthony Messenger is a family-oriented publication produced by the Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province in Cincinnati, Ohio. They describe their magazine as “comforting and connecting.” It features spiritual reflections, personal stories, and pieces about how to approach cultural trends from a wholesome, Catholic perspective. With the time-tested wisdom gained from more than 100 years in print, this family magazine will certainly bless the daily lives of all who read it. The Franciscan angle infused throughout the magazine adds a unique touch to every article. A print subscription for $39 not only buys the subscriber 13 total issues of the magazine, but also supports the friars and their mission.
- Catholic Digest: One of America’s most popular Catholic magazines, Catholic Digest is basically the Catholic version of the popular Reader’s Digest. It features a combination of true stories, advice pieces, tips, puzzles, jokes, and recipes, all meant to help show Catholicism’s depth as well as its lighter, everyday value. The magazine is published by Bayard, a global Catholic communications ministry, and has been in print since 1936. A year’s subscription has nine issues, and costs $21.99.
- Commonweal: A magazine for the educated and engaged, Commonweal opens the discussion about the interplay between Catholicism, politics, and culture. Though it represents the Catholic view, it seeks to consider various other positions and backgrounds so as to engage a wider audience in the conversation. By remaining an independent, lay-run publication, it enables itself to address the difficulties issues with an honesty not many publications are at liberty to employ. In a world of political correctness and sensitivity, this sharp, thought-provoking magazine is a powerful wake-up call. An annual subscription of 20 print issues costs $65. However, college and grad students are often given free subscriptions.
- New Oxford Review: The NOR is an orthodox Catholic magazine that is proud to be controversial. Intended for intellectual audiences seeking fearless opinions on issues of faith and culture, the magazine strives to combine the best writing and the brightest minds to deliver an engaging product. The NOR has readers in almost every country, and though it likes to spark a little controversy in its courageous approach, it always adheres to Church teaching. It is published 10 times a year, and an annual print subscription costs $24.
- The Catholic Answer: Published by Our Sunday Visitor, The Catholic Answer is a teaching tool, helping Catholics better understand their faith by having experts explain it. Offering a pastoral response not only to apologetical questions, but also to current issues, the magazine assists those wondering how to respond in accord with Catholic doctrine and belief. The question-and-answer layout makes for easy reading and quick reference. Subscription to the bimonthly magazine costs $26.95, and includes six issues.
- The Tablet: In circulation since 1840, The Tablet is a British Catholic weekly journal that reports on a variety of topics. From religious events and politics to art and literature, the journal covers various categories from the Catholic perspective. It strictly adheres to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, and though it originates in Britain, it is geared toward a worldwide audience. Unfortunately, because it ships internationally, the annual subscription of 51 issues costs $153 for U.S. citizens.
- The Word Among Us: The Word Among Us delivers Mass readings and scriptural meditations to mailboxes ten times a year, seeking to open more hearts to the Holy Spirit. By providing the Mass readings throughout the liturgical year alongside meditations, this magazine helps the lay person immerse themselves in God’s Word with a greater understanding. Not only is this helpful for enhancing the Mass experience, but it also makes the Scriptures more accessible to those not able to attend weekday Masses or living in areas where solid spiritual direction is hard to find. The printed publication comes in two forms, one which has only the articles and reflections, and another which has the Mass readings included. The annual subscription with the Mass readings costs $33.20, and often includes a bonus devotional booklet of the subscriber’s choosing.
All costs are in reference to U.S. subscribers. Most of these are also available internationally and digitally.