The Church’s best days are ahead. And, after 80 years, so are the Register’s.

We know the Church’s best days are ahead of it because we’ve read the New Testament, and we know how the story ends. We know the Register’s best days are ahead because we’ve been working for months to prepare new ways to deliver you the stories we specialize in: stories that inform, inspire, and challenge you.

The two predictions are not unrelated.

We’re convinced that what we’re doing at the Register is one of the most important tasks in the media  —  telling the continuing story of God’s great project of changing the world through human agents. What we know about the Church gives us great confidence about this work of the Register.

The Church’s story has always been a paradox of hard times and bright futures. Again and again, persecutions and corruption have left the Church looking utterly defeated. But the Church has always returned to give hope to new generations and inspire new people to serve each other.

It’s this conviction that drives the way we look at the Church and report on the world.

Yes, ours is a Church weakened by years when catechesis was neglected, pummeled by priest scandals and wounded by lay people’s embrace of abortion and divorce. But it’s also a Church with a blossoming apologetics movement. It’s a Church filled with a growing number of families sacrificing to educate their children in the faith. It’s a Church whose bishops used their last meeting to imaginatively address the difficult issues of our day. Ours is a Church where dissenters are aging and dwindling, and where World Youth Day veterans are filling the pews with children and the seminaries with vocations.

The Register doesn’t think the Church in America is a shadow of its former self —  we know it’s a flicker of its future glory. And that’s not a fool’s hope. It’s the serious hope of the crucifix.

There aren’t many places you will find that perspective, but the Register has brought it to you for four generations.

In 2007, we will spend a year celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Register. But our anniversary won’t look so much like an old institution passing a landmark as it will like a young apostolic initiative making a new beginning.

In our 80th anniversary year, your weekly Register will come to your home with a new look and it will come to your computer with a new website, one that is already online as we fine-tune it.

Since we’re bringing you the most important stories of our times, we consider it our duty to find better ways to bring them to you. It’s the same philosophy we debuted with in 1927.

“The Register has always believed in large headlines and the use of every decent trick to attract readers,” said our editorial then. “It has also never been afraid to take a definite stand on stirring questions. If you like a Catholic paper with snap, vigor, courage, here it is. If you like one that is easy to read, here it is. If you like one that will always be loyal to the Church and that has no selfish axe to grind, here it is.”

Eight decades later, that philosophy means updating the look of the paper to make it easier to read, and upgrading our website to make it easier to use.

We have been fine-tuning the paper’s new design for months, and will be ready to debut it with the first new issue of 2007.

Our first-rate design team, headed by art director Joseph Hilliman, has created a layout that uses the latest typographical and design elements throughout the paper. This will allow you to see at a glance what the most important features are. Our new layout will give us the flexibility to use more graphics, graphs and sidebars to deliver the information you want in as clear and straight-forward a way as possible.

The new website has been revamped so that subscribers can access stories more easily, and share them with friends.

We’re making every story in the paper available online, and building an online archive of past Register stories. Our online “Media Watch” links direct you to Catholic stories that other websites are missing. We also provide free online resources such as our Top 100 Catholic Movies list, the How to Be Catholic guides that you’ll find in the Culture of Life Section throughout Advent, our popular confessional guides for children and adults, and a version of our college survey that is updated regularly to include new schools. 

Some octogenarians are resistant to change. We’re not. Since we’re bringing you the most important journalism of our times, we consider it our duty to find the best ways to bring these stories to you. Christ and his Church deserve no less.