Another Catholic paper in trouble

This time, it’s the Catholic Spirit, from Minnesota.

From the Star-Tribune:

The Catholic Spirit, the venerable 100-year-old newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, may publish fewer editions and eventually go completely digital — changes that could affect how the most faithful, least Internet-savvy church members get their news.

A report to the Catholic Spirit’s board of directors earlier this month said the paper “as currently configured, may not be financially sustainable beyond June 2012.” Catholic leaders are looking to possibly change the Spirit from a paper to digital media outlet or reduce its current biweekly publication cycle to cut expenses.

“It’s still the most effective communications tool for reaching out to parishioners,” said Mike Bucsko, executive officer of the Minnesota Newspaper Guild Typographical Union, which represents 14 of the Spirit’s employees and has a contract with the paper that expires next June. “We’ll advocate … for maintaining the current status of the Catholic Spirit.”

Like their secular counterparts, diocesan newspapers and scores of other religious publications nationwide are struggling with declines in advertising revenue and costly publishing and distribution expenses.

Besides the Catholic Spirit, other local religious publications have scaled back. The American Jewish World in 2009 cut back from weekly to biweekly publication. Twin Cities Lutherans have phased out print publications and rely on the Internet to share most denominational news.

Tim Walter, executive director of the Catholic Press Association, which has about 155 diocesan newspapers and 80 Catholic magazine members, said the circulation of its diocesan papers dropped from 6.1 million in 2009 to 5.4 million in 2011.

“Due particularly to the increase in the cost of print and postage in delivering the product, we’re seeing publications do a variety of things,” Walter said.

Read more.


  1. The electronic revolution of the Internet is decimating the print media, be it books, magazines or newspapers. I lament this because reading the actual print in your hands somehow modifies the experience of reading and the way we digest the information. The electronic media involves hooking up to a gadget and somehow the experience of reeding things on screen is different, it is somewhat less permanent, more jarring, less persona. Well, at least that is the way I see it.

  2. I feel so sad to read this. It is a loss – for the reasons that Rudy says and because people who do not have internet access will be denied. It is just sad for so many reasons.

  3. I think it will probably not be good for the older folks who like to read the Catholic Press. Many are not computer savy and may not even know how to use one much less a smart phone or an Ipad.

  4. pagansister says:

    As mentioned above in #1 post, lots of folks have stopped subscribing to a daily delivery of the local papers, as well as monthly publications. It isn’t surprising to have the same things happen to religious pubications and papers.

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