The National Catholic Register’s “About Us” section is about to change

January 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

For years, the Legion of Christ has emphasized that being involved in the media is an “integral” aspect of its (once) ever-expanding mission. This thinking was borne out in the Legion’s 1995 acquisition of the National Catholic Register and Twin Circle magazine (whose name was changed to Catholic Faith & Family). Its in-house media arm, Circle Media, was established that same year to administer these two publications as well as publish books, promote Internet ventures such as Catholic.net, and the like.

But these days, since the sordid double-life of the organization’s founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, came to light in 2009, the prevailing winds are no longer blowing in a favorable direction for the Legion or its closely intertwined lay affiliate, Regnum Christi. Many young American Legionary priests have abandoned the order, most having transitioned into diocesan ministry. Thousands of disheartened and disillusioned lay members of Regnum Christi have likewise bolted. Donations to the Legion are down. Vocations are down. There are indications that both are, in fact, way, way down, which would explain why the Legion’s already determined belt-tightening has recently moved into high gear. It would appear that the belt has become a tourniquet.

The Legion’s U.S. publishing entity, Circle Media, is now kaput. Its abrupt disappearance fits the ongoing pattern of retrenchment taking place within the once far-flung and powerful network of Legionary owned and operated ventures. True, Circle Press, the Legion’s book-publishing subsidiary of Circle Media, still has an Internet presence, but that seems to be only because, with a load of inventory still sitting on the shelves and needing to be depleted, it only makes sense to try to sell product for as long as possible. Prices for their books have been slashed dramatically, some down to just $2.00.
Over the last two years, waves of layoffs have hit the lay employees of the organization’s many lay apostolates and business ventures. The wide-swinging layoff scythe has whickered remorselessly through the ranks of the Legion’s in-house lay staffers. The order’s real assets are also being downsized. Once-important properties in the Legion’s American holdings are being sold off. I am told that enrollment at their Center Harbor, New Hampshire, apostolic school for boys (grades 7-12) has been steadily dwindling. Three of my own sons attended that school in the 1990s, back when enrollment was booming and a splendid new dorm-gym complex was constructed to accommodate the ever-increasing number of boys who felt a call to become Legionary priests.

Now, however, at least one grade at the once thriving school is comprised of fewer than five students. I can only assume that if enrollment there continues to dry up, the Legion will be forced to do one of three previously unthinkable things: either 1) sell the school outright or 2) import students from other countries, such as Mexico, in order to keep the place operational or 3) convert the facility from a school to a retreat house or something of the sort. It’s unclear whether the same diminution in enrollment has affected other Legionary seminaries, but time will tell.

In the meantime, the cost-cutting scythe will swing twice more in a few days.

The next two strategic pieces on the Legionary chessboard to be eliminated are the National Catholic Register and Faith & Family Magazine. As will be announced in the next few days, both publications have been sold by the Legion and will be changing hands soon. Out of respect for the Register’s new owner, I won’t name names — you’ll know who it is soon enough — but I can tell you that the new owner is an organization run by good and dedicated people who are thoroughly Catholic and certain to ensure that the paper is faithfully Catholic and journalistically excellent.

Personally, I am very pleased at this new chapter in the Register’s saga. And as for Faith & Family, well, it has always been an exceedingly beautiful publication, perhaps the most lush and elegant Catholic periodical around on the American scene. (And I’m biased in this regard, because I publish Envoy Magazine, which I think looks pretty good, too).

You’ll be hearing the official news of these changes in the next couple of days. I have high hopes for both publications and encourage all of you to subscribe to them as a vote of confidence for their new circumstances and their new owners.

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10 Responses to “The National Catholic Register’s “About Us” section is about to change”
  1. Tom says:

    All for the best. The Legion needs to do some deep soul scrubbing. The entire order needs to take a long sabbatical and decide who they are and what they are about. They were running on fumes and acting as if nothing was stained from the sins of their founder. Both publications will be better off in other hands.

  2. Susan says:

    Tima's response is a perfect example of the misguided faith of those in RC/LC. I thought this way too. I was "abandoning my vocation to RC" if I left. God "called me to RC." This is the manipulation that goes on so those in RC/LC think that RC=the Church. It's horrid and abusive. The abuse of Maciel lives on in this formative "method" of LC/RC. And oh, by the way, you cannot separate LC from RC. They are one in the same in terms of methodology of formation.

  3. scotju says:

    I'm glad to hear that the Legion is selling the NCR. I hope the new owners are orthodox Catholics who will get rid of a certain blogger who is a intellectual bully reknowed for his foul mouth. I might be willing to subscribe to it if this is done.

  4. Deirdre Mundy says:

    Tima– There's a diffence between leaving a Lly movement and leaving the Church. Is a man who stops going to Knights of Columbus functions abandoning Christ? How about a family who stops donating to VdP?

    Regnum Christi does not have some special, privaledged place in the world of Free Associations of the Faithful. Anyone can walk away at any time, with no sin or guilt.

    In fact, at this point, since it was founded by a 'False Prophet' and a man without scruples or religious sentiment, prudence and prayer might demand that a member run away as quickly as possible.

    Because no Catholic needs to follow teachings and spirituality developed by a false prophet. There are plenty of saints who can show you how to follow Christ– why follow a depraved abuser instead?

    A few to get you (and anyone else on the fence) started:

    1. St. Augustine's Confessions– his search for Truth included a few wrong turns before he found his way.

    2. St. Therese's Story of a Soul — She lets us see how to love God where we are, in our state of life!

    3. St. Thomas Aquinas– because the Summa is awesome! :)

    4. G.K. Chesterton's life of St. Francis— A saint's life brought to life.

    Actually, in terms of more dramatic accounts— Van Der Wohl's "Set All Afire" –a biography of St. Francis Xavier, SJ — was awesome….

    —-
    Take some time off and immerse yourself in the patrimony of the Church–the teachings that those who leave LC and RC are rediscovering and clinging to…

    They aren't abandoning Christ–they're just realizing that Judas is not a legitimate spiritual father…..

  5. Rexford says:

    Tima,
    If I may ask: who is abandoning the mission to which Christ called them and in what way are they doing that. Accusations of abandoning Christ and infidelity to Christ and His will are the kinds of manipulative, guilt-inducing tactics that cause Catholics (and others) to consider the Legion and the movement a cult. The selling of the NCR and Faith and Family is simply a good business decision considering subscribership is down and they’re probably losing money. I would think that the sale of the publications to an outfit that would boost circulation would be a good thing. So who is abandoning the mission of Christ? The Legion? The employees? Those who cancelled their subscriptions to the NCR or F&F?

  6. Tima says:

    This is very sad for the LC's and the movement. Ican't say one negative thing about them since my reversion happened through the tools and formation offered by the LC's and the movement. It's sad that some wil abandon the mission Christ called them to because of Judas…

  7. Susan says:

    Praise God. I just cannot trust them anymore, even in a publication. And I cannot fathom giving one more dime to any apostolate. We all need to move on with our lives in the real Church, rather than the fake, catholic utopia.
    -ExRC

  8. Martina says:

    Ben. Its wonderful to see a positive comment about the LC's. They are not responsible for the sins of their founder. I live in Dublin, Ireland. The LC priests are wonderful here too. Thanks Martina Kealy.RC Member

  9. ben says:

    I just found out that an LC school is in my area when a former Chaplain there was assigned to my parish. Another LC priest from that school has since been to my Parish to cover when our new priest is unavailable. They are the only two LC priests I've ever met and they are truly wonderful. My impression of the LC has changed dramatically since I met them and it breaks my heart to see their order go through such turmoil.

    Terrible.

  10. Debbie says:

    Drats, I only saw 2 books slashed to $2.00 at Circle Press.

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