A Message from The Catholic Thing

Dear Friends:

It’s been another remarkable year for The Catholic Thing.

Just in numerical terms – the “metrics” as the marketers like to say – our visitors grew 16 percent in 2015 over 2014 (which had been a similarly remarkable year for growth). In any business, 16 percent growth in a year is nothing to sneeze it. And we had more a half million more pageviews (sorry for these barbaric terms).

But by my Catholic metric, I’m greatly moved when I meet (more and more) people all over the country and in several foreign nations, who express, without my asking, how much TCT means to them – that they read us first thing, every day. We have fans everywhere from Rome to New Zealand, Sweden to Argentina. I’ve edited every column before it appears for over seven years now, and I can tell you that, every morning when I open up the files our stable of distinguished writers send me, I’m still always excited about this mission. There must be something divine in it, but it also depends on human help – your help – to keep TCT going.

We’ve been doing more than ever: in addition to the 365 columns per year, we added full daily coverage of the pope’s visit to Cuba and the United States and of the 2015 Synod on the Family. You may not have noticed, but we have a new feature that will allow you to look back at those special series, you can click on the “Events” button on the homepage, or here and here. You also may not have noticed that we have five different language partners (also accessible from our homepage) who translate our work into local languages for readers around the world.

These things are not easy to do – take it from someone who has had to write some of those special reports around midnight in a hotel room after a wearying day at press briefings or in a television studio. But we do them – with pleasure – because we think it’s part of the vocation to which we’ve been called: providing you and others intensely interested in the truths of Catholicism with a full spectrum of reporting and opinion on crucial things happening in the Church and the world.

At TCT, we’re convinced that we have, year by year, carried out that task better and better – and demonstrably to greater audiences. Where we have not progressed as rapidly is in our financial base. We have some very generous larger donors and a large percentage of ordinary readers have been very generous to us. But though we are servicing more readers and doing newer and demanding tasks, our level of financial support has not grown as fast as our audience. That’s why I have to ask you, as we near the end of 2015, to ask yourself how much you appreciate what we do here, and what it would mean to you if The Catholic Thing no longer existed.

Some of our larger donors are hurting from the sluggish economy or turning to political movements for the coming election year. We understand that, because we’re planning on devoting a significant part of our work in 2016 to issues raised by the current campaigns. But that means we have to rely more than ever on reader support. You may not realize it, but we depend on all of you for about one-third of our operating expenses, which are not large (and which we manage prudently), but can you imagine what it would mean – in any sphere – if one-third of your income did not materialize?


Let me tell you a bit about the people you’re supporting. You already know our distinguished stable of regular writers – who I’m convinced are unmatched anywhere, on the Internet or off. You’ve seen my own work in various media quite a bit, maybe even too much. But let me just briefly introduce you to the rest of our staff and what it is they do:

BradBrad Miner: Brad is senior editor of TCT and a longtime editor in New York of books and periodicals (including National Review), which means that he keeps me on an even keel, provides a second pair of eyes on the daily columns, and stands in for me when I’m traveling someplace where I can’t keep a hand on the tiller every evening. On most days, he’s the one who formats the columns you love so much, selects images, makes sure that you have easy access to it via Facebook and the daily email, and all those other technical details without which no online publication can run smoothly. In addition to his regular TCT columns, he’s constantly working on books as well. You can look forward in 2016 to the history of the archbishops of New York that he’s written together with another TCT regular, George Marlin.

hannah2Hannah Russo: Hannah our business manager and web designer, has worked with us, in one capacity or another, for thirteen years (as she recently reminded me!). With Brad, she takes a lot of the initiative on the various things we do behind the scenes to make the whole operation go. She mostly works from home while also caring for four children and husband. When you see a particularly well-designed ad or layout, you can thank Hannah – and her ability to get such things done, usually after the kids are put to bed.

Emily copyEmily Rolwes: Emily in between caring for her own family, does the posting of the various links – News, Commentary, Notables, TCT Videos, Sacred Spaces, and True Beauty – that really help fill out our daily coverage of worldwide Catholicism.  

We all work for love of the mission, but must make ends meet as well. Here’s how you can help:

  • We’ve got a current offer available: I will send you a personally signed copy of my new book A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century for a contribution of $100 or more to the work of The Catholic Thing. Many of you have already taken advantage of this offer. And I have to say of all my books, this is the one that I think I love most. A lot of readers seem to agree: I just checked it on Amazon today and it’s No. 2 nationally in the Modern Philosophy category. Don’t miss it.
  • The more traditional way of giving is to click on the Donate button above or HERE. Please, think deeply about your gift: can you give $50, $100, $150, $500 or more? How about trying an option that has become quite popular with our readers and turned into a real win-win for all concerned: a regular monthly donation via PayPal. You can schedule only $5, $10, $25, or more a month – a painless contribution monthly that makes a big difference to TCT.
  • And for those of you who don’t want to use a credit card on the Internet, there’s always a personal check, which should be sent to Faith & Reason Institute (the parent institution of TCT), 1730 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Suite 212, Washington DC 20036.

At The Catholic Thing we feel very close to our readers – especially close when we receive encouragement for our work from you, whether in the form of encouraging messages or your generous donation. We all know how much is now at stake in the Church and the world, and how important it is to find channels to keep alive the saving truths of the faith in our increasingly secular world. Please, do your part in this work with your contribution to The Catholic Thing.

With every good wish for a Blessed Christmas,

bob's signature2




Robert Royal