Cosa Nostra

Dear Readers:


Today, something really new. We’re asking for your support.

We started bringing you The Catholic Thing over four months ago on June 2, feast of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter, a priest and an exorcist beheaded by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. A lot of our contributors live in the Washington area and, these days, two martyrs killed by an imperial government are good patron saints to have. But at least for now, we’re still alive and kicking and – as I think you know – bringing you as good Catholic commentary as you can find anywhere.

I know this because, besides the complimentary messages you send, I’ve been meeting quite a few of you in my travels around the country. And what I hear repeatedly is: “there’s nothing like The Catholic Thing.” Who could disagree?

As I told you on June 2, we want to bring you a well crafted column every morning, something that’s brief, accessible, and worth your attention – weapons-grade Plutonium. In an Internet environment that puts everything, sacred and sordid, on an equal plane, we try to do one thing as well as it can be done: speak compellingly to anyone who values intelligent and committed Catholicism.

Take a look back over the nearly 100 columns now in our archives. You will not find anything that tells you more in 800 words about the current pope than Fr. James V. Schall’s “The Papal Agenda,” or about the new militant atheists than Michael Novak’s several contributions, or about the deep intellectual foundations of the pro-life movement than Hadley Arkes’s. I myself often reread the lively commentaries of Austin Ruse, George Marlin, Brad Miner, William Saunders, and Michael Uhlmann when something reminds me of an insight they’ve had. Speaking of which, keep an eye out for Mary Eberstadt’s series on the Seven Deadly Sins, which began with Envy and will be moving on to Greed – she has great timing – next week. Ralph McInerny is a writer who can hit to all parts of the field – and has on this site: my favorite of all is “Animal Husbandry,” a send up of various lunacies that have taken roost in this dear old America of ours.

Some readers asked what a drop-dead hilarious piece like that was doing on a Catholic website. My only answer is that it was doing the same thing in our day that Chesterton, or Belloc, or Knox, or Waugh, or lots of other Catholic writers did in their day: took the hide off subjects that very much needed it, and had a very enjoyable time indeed doing so.

Speaking of readers’ responses, you may have noticed that we now have a Comments button at the end of each column. Some of you clamored for it, other warned against turning ourselves into just another Internet gab site. I can now reveal that most of the writers met during the summer and Did Not Like the Idea, including your humble editor. We have always wanted to keep attention on the columns. But last week, we decided to put up the section in a way that makes it possible for you to go into it if you like that sort of thing, or just to focus on the column as in the past.

This may merely seem like fretting excessively over things everybody else is already doing. But doing what everybody else is doing is not a principle we recommend to our children, or think is wise for ourselves. Which is just to say: we’re constantly thinking through how to bring you something different from the values in the neighborhood, and via a well thought out format.

So now the serious part. We’ve also just added a PayPal account in the Donate section that allows you to express your boundless affection for The Catholic Thing in an immediate and tangible way. It costs us more than you may think to keep the lights on (and our managing editor, Kirk Kramer, despite my best efforts, spends vast sums on his insatiable need to keep up with all the latest news from Australia – you’d have to know him).

I will never write you one of those over-the-top fundraising letters that warns that the West – and The Catholic Thing – will come to an end by midnight unless you fork over right away. But both could happen, the latter probably way sooner. In fact, without your generous support, TCT cannot survive. We have to pay our bills and are hit by tough economic times like everyone else.

So do us, and yourself, a favor. Click over at that Donate button right now and send us what you can to keep this little cosa nostra (as I like to think of it) in business producing hard-hitting, side-splitting, grace-imparting commentary for a world that desperately needs it.

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent books are Columbus and the Crisis of the West and A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century.