Change and Continuity

Our editorial on what the Register's mission is, and why we're excited about its future under new ownership.

Our mission is clear.

The Register’s mission is to promote the New Evangelization, by selecting news at the intersection of faith and culture, analyzing it in light of Church teaching, and presenting it to active Catholics so they can keep up on the emerging secular culture, understand and evaluate it, and so be enabled to engage it.

Our long-time readers and loyal donors will undoubtedly recognize that. We talk about it all the time. Lifted verbatim from the editorial guidelines we have distributed to all of our writers for years, that’s the special spark that inspires what we do. Father Owen Kearns and our editorial team developed it, but we can’t take credit for it.

Who’s the one who taught us to think like that? Venerable John Paul II.

Without a doubt, no one has had more influence than him on the Register’s style of reporting the news. And so we’re very pleased that, in her wisdom and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Church is about to call him “Blessed.”

As our editorial guidelines tell our writers:

The Register’s approach emphasizes the Church as communion and mission. The Church is not a polarizing spectrum of opinions pitting left against right, liberals against conservatives. It is a communion of the faithful with the bishops around and under the Pope who is the visible source and foundation of the Church’s unity.

We got that from him. He drew the eyes of the Church away from the squabbles of the troubled post-conciliar years toward a larger vision.

He encouraged efforts to spread the Gospel in enterprising and innovative ways. So does our reporting:

Show how Catholics in the new millennium of Christianity are using their faith and the riches of the Church’s authentic teaching to engage the emerging secular culture.

His brand of “confident Catholicism” that came as such a breath of fresh air to the West and inspired so many in the East to shake off their totalitarian shackles was about far more than just “maintenance” of the Church: He challenged Catholics and people of good will everywhere to unite to fight against de-Christianization and for essential human values. So have we:

Show the Church fulfilling its mission to transform secular society. Emphasize its vitality.

He invented the phrase “New Evangelization”:

Chronicle the workings of grace in the new springtime of the faith and the New Evangelization.

It’s ironic that some of the late Pope’s style and decisions have been dragged into public as incompatible with sanctity, because his style was precisely this: Bearing patiently with the imperfections that invariably besmirch human affairs, he always pointed to God’s grace as the solution, and he would be the first to admit his own flaws. Nobody’s perfect, not even the saints; the point is that God does great things in and through fallible human beings. If the Church in her wisdom, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and after five long years of study, has come to a conclusion, who are any of us to question it?

Just because we are faithful and supportive of the Church does not mean we throw balance and fairness out the window: quite the contrary. We should be more balanced than the secular media, fairer and, above all, marked by charity.

We’re confident that historians will someday concur that, though his voice has been silenced, John Paul’s legacy is still enormously relevant for the mission of the Church and the papacy that he transformed. In many very significant ways, Pope Benedict has quietly continued John Paul’s style of making Vatican II’s vision for the Church in the modern world bear fruit.

Continuity in change.

It’s somehow appropriate, in God’s providence, that we too are about to experience continuity in change.

Like all of the missionary activity born during John Paul’s pontificate, the work of the Eternal Word Television Network has been shaped by and has benefited greatly from the New Evangelization he launched. The commonalities with the Register’s mission, especially since its 1995 acquisition and reorientation by the Legion of Christ, are so numerous that our readers surely won’t think we exaggerate when we see a providential Hand at work guiding this latest ownership transition. Above all we share this sincere common desire: to love the Church and to serve her faithfully and selflessly.

Readers have often commented to us that what the Register brings is hope. That’s always helped us remember that this mission goes far beyond each one of us: Hope comes from God, not from skillful journalism. He has chosen so often to bring about his good work through us and often in spite of us. That’s humbling.

And now what EWTN brings to us is … hope. The personal cost to us and our colleagues through times of financial uncertainty has been very real. At times the sacrifice has been deep. But now we’re all truly excited about the Register’s future and the improved service we’ll be able to offer our readers and the Church in America.

Under new ownership and together with our new colleagues at EWTN, the Register’s mission stays the same, her fidelity to the magisterium stays the same, the basic approach to the essentials stays the same, and the “confident Catholicism” that we’ve inherited from John Paul and Benedict stays the same.

Continuity in change because our mission is the same: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Count on us to keep chronicling the workings of grace in the new springtime of the faith and the New Evangelization — with God’s grace. Please keep us and our work in your prayers, especially if you offer them to Blessed John Paul II for his intercession.