10 Years and Counting!

A NOTE FROM OUR PUBLISHER: At the very heart of our work, the Register serves the Church.

A young baby consuming every page of the National Catholic Register newspaper.
A young baby consuming every page of the National Catholic Register newspaper. (photo: Courtesy photo / Rachel Zamarron)

When EWTN acquired the National Catholic Register 10 years ago this week, I knew the potential for good that lay ahead. 

As I said at the time of the acquisition, “All of us at EWTN have great respect for the Register and the role it has played throughout its history. It’s a tremendous legacy that deserves to not only be preserved, but also to grow and to flourish.”

There is no dispute about the magnitude of this legacy: Not only has the Register been a force safeguarding Catholic identity in the United States in its nearly 100 years of history since 1927, it also has been a clarion voice throughout these decades in sounding the alarm on threats to living the faith in the public square. Notable examples include when Msgr. Matthew Smith, the paper’s founder, fought the bigotry of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s and warned of the dangers of the growth of international communism later that century. 

By the time of its acquisition by EWTN in 2011, the Register was covering the grave challenge to religious liberty triggered by the Obama-Biden administration’s efforts to designate abortion and contraception as health care in the Affordable Care Act. 

A year later, after the approval of the Health and Human Services’ contraceptive mandate, the Register was placed in the unusual position of reporting on legal challenges to the mandate while EWTN filed its own lawsuit against the federal rule. Some of these same threats are now looming again, in the wake of Joe Biden’s election as president and the Democratic Party’s other federal victories in the 2020 election.

Fortunately, the Register has always been recognized as cutting through the clamor of mass media to give Catholics the truth. Its legacy has indeed flourished over the last decade, and the need for its continuing service has only increased.

The reasons for the Register’s ongoing success are very clear. In the very first issue of the publication’s national edition, Msgr. Smith emphasized, “If you like a paper that will always be loyal to the Church and has no selfish axe to grind, here it is.” The hallmark of the Register is that same intense loyalty to the Church, as well as a commitment to what Msgr. Smith promised would be a publication with “snap, vigor and readability.” And that loyalty is returned by its readers.

In the decade that has passed since the Register became part of EWTN and helped launch the rapid growth of EWTN News, there have been further accomplishments. 

In fact, at a time when people are sounding the death knell of print journalism, the Register’s print subscriptions have more than doubled — a very notable achievement. And through NCRegister.com and social media, our digital footprint has expanded to reach literally millions more readers. 

This growth shows that the Register has cemented its status as the go-to news outlet for Catholics who prefer to read the news of the world through the lens of the Church. Unlike our competitors, both Catholic and secular, who prefer to report Catholic news through the lens of the world, we will always advocate for the truth of the Gospel and the deposit of faith contained in the Catholic Church, even when we willingly face criticism for it. 

We will always stand with the Church on the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, marriage, family, human dignity, religious freedom, capital punishment and social teaching that aligns with the magisterium. 

And every year, we receive mail from men and women who became Catholic or a priest or religious because of an inspirational Register story of “good people doing good,” another staple of our content.

We seek to inspire Catholics who are interested in what the Church teaches and how it responds in times of crisis. 

Since 2011, the Register has continued to be a powerful presence on the media landscape for the concerns of so many Catholics and people of conscience over threats to living the faith in the public square. In the last 10 years, the crises have only continued: scandals within the Church, the further breakdown of the family and society’s increasing push away from God, increased tribalism and disunity both in the Church and in U.S. politics, escalated persecution of Christians on a global scale unrivaled by any other time in human history, and a global pandemic that has left the faithful starving for the sacraments. 

During the tumultuous election year of 2020, as the challenges the Register confronted in 2011 only intensified, I was reminded again and again of the Register’s formative value. While other Catholic outlets wallowed in the political muck, the Register continuously sought to objectively analyze the issues that the U.S. would be facing post-election — and propose how the Church could be a voice for good in that landscape. And now, in this political and cultural moment — with new and even more dire threats to the sanctity of all life, the dignity of the human person made as man and woman in the image and likeness of God, and our cherished freedoms as people of faith — our work is more important than ever.

At the time of the acquisition, Archbishop Charles Chaput, then in Denver, said, “The service and the history of the paper are too important to simply abandon. The Church needs more tools of faithful communication, not fewer.”

As I noted then, and it’s increasingly relevant today, “We live in an age where there is so much distortion and misrepresentation of the Church’s teaching by forces who oppose her message, particularly in the secular news media. Being sure that the Church’s voice is heard clearly and accurately has always been the core of EWTN’s mission. Continuing the tradition of the Register gives us another means to carry out our mission of service to the Church.”

At the very heart of our work, the Register serves the Church by responding to Our Lord’s directive in the Great Commission: to “make disciples of all nations.” 

To our readers old and new, thank you for being a part of the Register and for sharing this mission with us through your prayers and financial assistance. 

At this time when authentic Catholic journalism is both rare and under scrutiny, I assure you we will continue to speak the truth in courage, ever faithful to the Bride of Christ.

Since the Register became part of the EWTN family on Feb. 1, 2011, both God and our unofficial patrons, Sts. Francis de Sales and Maximilian Kolbe, have blessed our team of journalists. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

God bless you!