National Catholic Reporter
- Not to be confused with the National Catholic Register
|Owner(s)||The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company|
|Publisher||Thomas C. Fox|
|Editor||Dennis Coday, Tom Roberts|
|Headquarters||Kansas City, Missouri|
The National Catholic Reporter (NCR) is a newspaper in the United States, which covers topics on the Catholic Church; its circulation reaches ninety-seven countries on six continents. Based in midtown Kansas City, Missouri, NCR was founded by Robert Hoyt in 1964 as an independent newspaper focusing on the Catholic Church. Hoyt wanted to bring the professional standards of secular news reporting to the Catholic press, maintaining that "if the mayor of a city owned its only newspaper, its citizens will not learn what they need and deserve to know about its affairs". It has won the "General Excellence" award from the Catholic Press Association in the category of national news publications each year from 2000 through 2011.
The publication is not connected to the Church itself and is independent. Promoting a progressive position, the NCR presents itself "as one of the few, if not the only truly independent, journalistic outlet for Catholics and others who struggle with the complex moral and societal issues of the day." However, the publication is accused of ideological bias, favoring voices of dissent within the Catholic Church both in its expression of opinion and in its choice of news to report and of being ever ready to criticize statements by the Holy See and the bishops.
The National Catholic Reporter strives to be an independent Catholic news site, and as such evaluates social issues shaping society in addition to specifically Catholic issues. TV journalist Bill Moyers said, "For decades now the National Catholic Reporter has been courageously committed to independent journalism whose only aim is real news—the news we need to keep our freedom. In a time when a handful of megamedia conglomerates control more and more of what we read, see and hear, NCR remains faithful to journalism as a moral calling, obliged to get as close a possible to the verifiable truth."
Some of the issues NCR examines on a regular basis are part of the social justice wing of the church, including poverty, peace issues, the roles of women, environmental stewardship and immigration. NCR tries to be accurate but fair and impartial.
The paper is published bi-weekly, with each issue including national and world news sections, as well as an opinion and arts section. Each paper runs an average of thirty two pages, which includes special sections, a section published in each issue devoted to a particular topic. Regular annual special sections include: Theology; Pro-Life; Volunteers; Deacons; Religious Life (I and II); Colleges and Universities; Summer Listings (I and II); Catholic Education; Ecology; Summer Books (I and II); Family Life; Ministries (I and II); East & West; Women Today; Spirituality (I and II); Peace & Justice; Fall and Winter Listings; Health & Well Being; Fall Books; At the Table.
Each issue includes news stories, as well as analysis, commentary, opinion, and editorials. The opinion and arts section contains book and film reviews, as well as spiritual reflections, along with letters to the editor, classifieds, and editorials.
NCR publishes content both from staff writers, correspondents, and contributors.
- Joshua J. McElwee, national correspondent
- Brian Roewe, staff writer
- Megan Fincher, Bertelsen intern
- Tom Roberts, editor at large
- Jesuit Fr. Tom Reese, senior analyst
- John L. Allen, Jr., senior correspondent
- Monica Clark, correspondent, Oakland
- Dan Morris-Young, correspondent, Seattle
- Pat Marrin, contributor
- Sr. Rose Pacatte, film critic
- Heidi Shlumpf, contributor
- Michael Sean Winters, contributor
The paper's website, NCRonline, publishes many stories which have appeared or will appear in the print edition. However, not all content in the paper appears on the site, and not all content on the site appears in the paper. In addition to news stories, the site is home to a wide range of blogs updated on a daily basis. Some blogs publish the content of individual authors, while others contain posts from many authors. NCRonline blogs include:
- NCR Today: The site states that "NCR Today is the group blog of the National Catholic Reporter. Our diverse team of bloggers has different interests -- the politics of the church and secular society (and the interaction between the two), culture, management of the institution, and more." Contributors include: Dennis Coday, Tom Fox, Joshua J. McElwee, Tom Gallagher, Maureen Fiedler, Mary Ann McGivern, Heidi Schlumpf, Robert McClory, Joe Ferullo, Isabella R. Moyer, Mario T. García, Ken Briggs, Pat Perriello, and many others.
- Distinctly Catholic: A blog written by Michael Sean Winters which "examines politics, religion and the estuary where the two meet, all from a distinctively Catholic point of view. The blog is small “c” catholic as well as big “C” Catholic, examining a wide range of issues but always from the perspective of Catholic history and theology."
- All Things Catholic: The blog internationally acclaimed Vatican journalist John L. Allen, Jr. which the site states "is followed across the usual ideological divides in the church, and...speaks widely on Catholic affairs in the United States and around the world."
- Just Catholic: A blog written by Phyllis Zagano, who the site describes as an "internationally acclaimed Catholic scholar and lecturer on contemporary spirituality and women's issues in the church. Her many books include her award-winning Holy Saturday: An Argument for the Restoration of the Female Diaconate in the Catholic Church. (First Place, Catholic Press Association and College Theology Society). Her writing is widely translated -- her best-selling On Prayer: A Letter for My Godchild is in Indonesian, Spanish and Italian -- and she edits the Liturgical Press’ "Spirituality in History" series. A former Fulbright Fellow, her biographical listings include Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who of American Women, and Who’s Who in American Education. She holds a research appointment at Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y."
- Bulletins from the Human Side: A blog written by Eugene Kennedy, consisting of his personal reflections.
- Young Voices: A blog written by a number of young Catholics who write about their experiences at young Catholics in today's world. Contributors include: Nicole Sotelo, Kate Childs Graham, Mike Sweitzer-Beckman, Jocelyn Sideco, Chase Nordengren and April Gutierrez.
In 1968, NCR's ordinary, Bishop Charles Herman Helmsing issued a statement condemning NCR "for their policy of crusading against the Church's teachings", its "poisonous character" and "disregard and denial of the most sacred values of our Catholic faith." Helmsing warned that NCR's writers were likely guilty of heresy and subhect to the automatic excommunication that incurs. Because the publication "does not reflect the teaching of the Church, but on the contrary, has openly and deliberately opposed this teaching," he asked the editors to "drop the term 'Catholic' from their masthead," because "they deceive their Catholic readers and do a great disservice to ecumenism by ... watering down Catholic teachings."
NCR refused to comply with his request, and 66 Catholic journalists signed a statement disagreeing with the condemnation based on its "underlying definition of the legitimate boundaries of religious journalism in service to the church." The Catholic Press Association reported that the dispute arose from a difference of opinion regarding the function of the press.
In 2013, Bishop Robert Finn wrote a column in his diocesan newspaper recalling Bishop Helmsing's condemnation of NCR and wrote that the paper refused to "submit their bona fides as a Catholic media outlet in accord with the expectations of Church law" and considered itself an "'independent newspaper which commented on "things Catholic."'"
NCR publisher Thomas C. Fox responded denying the implication that there was a decades long animosity between the bishopric and themselves, especially noting that "Bishop John Sullivan and Bishop Raymond Boland -- had cordial relations with NCR." He pointed out that NCR is a member of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada whose honorary president is Bishop John Wester who also serves as the U.S. Catholic bishops' conference as its chairman of the Committee of Communications. He closed by noting an NCR editorial in November 2012 had called on Finn to resign or be removed from his position after Finn was found guilty "of failing to report suspected child abuse involving a local priest".
- Steinfels, Peter (April 12, 2003). "Robert G. Hoyt, 81, Founder Of National Catholic Reporter". New York Times. Nytimes.com. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- "About Us | National Catholic Reporter". Ncronline.org. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- Michael L. Coulter, Richard S. Myers, Joseph A. Varacalli (editors), Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy (Scarecrow Press 2012 ISBN 978-0-81088275-1), pp. 230-231
- "Mission and Values | National Catholic Reporter". Ncronline.org. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- "Editorial Guidelines | National Catholic Reporter". Ncronline.org. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- Briggs, Ken (July 20, 2012). "NCR Today | National Catholic Reporter". Ncronline.org. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- Briggs, Ken (December 16, 2012). "Distinctly Catholic | National Catholic Reporter". Ncronline.org. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- "Users: John L. Allen Jr". Ncronline.org.
- Briggs, Ken (December 7, 2012). "All Things Catholic | National Catholic Reporter". Ncronline.org. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- Briggs, Ken. "Just Catholic | National Catholic Reporter". Ncronline.org. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- Ryan, Zoe. "Young Voices | National Catholic Reporter". Ncronline.org. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- "Bishop Helmsing charges Heresy". National Catholic Reporter. October 16, 1968. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- O'Neill, William L. (2004). Coming Apart: an Informal History of America in the 1960's. Ivan R. Dee (via Amazon.com). p. 310. ISBN 978-1566636131. Retrieved December 20, 2012. ('Look Inside' for 'heresy')
- Roberts, Tom (April 25, 2003). "Robert Hoyt, NCR founder, dies at 81". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
- Finn, Robert W. "The Bishop's Role in Fostering the Mission of the Catholic Media". The Catholic Key.
- Thomas C. Fox (January 27, 2013). "Kansas City bishop says NCR undermines the faith". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved February 9, 2014.