Rorate Caeli

Catholic News Service Fires 21 Staff, Ends U.S. Operations

In a stunning announcement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) today, 21 employees of the USCCB / Catholic News Service will be laid off and Catholic News Service's U.S. offices will close.

Catholic News Service, founded in 1920, is the journalist arm of the USCCB, which employs a team of reporters for articles that appear in diocesan papers and websites. Only the Rome bureau of Catholic News Service will remain open.

This will likely be devastating to diocesan papers and websites, which rely heavily on Catholic News Service articles for national Church news. Many diocesan newspapers have already downgraded their frequency, from weekly to biweekly or even monthly, if not closing up altogether. And many papers are barely publishing, including the Catholic Standard of the Archdiocese of Washington, which is down to a sporadic monthly edition, but does not have a print edition listed since its March 17 issue. Without Catholic News Service articles to fill pages, already-skeletal local diocesan newsrooms will have to produce more copy.

It is not necessarily bad news, as several columnists for Catholic News Service have long been on the wrong side of truth and/or tradition. For instance Father Kenneth Doyle, who runs the question and answer column for Catholic News Service, is known for telling parents their apostate children are not committing mortal sin, non-Catholics are in purgatory and baptism is not necessary for salvation.

Still, this is a sad day for the Church in the U.S., when it cannot even support its own 102 year old news service. Watch for a lot more closures and a lot more bankruptcies -- all while some bishops spend their time restricting Catholics from attending traditional Latin Masses and sacraments.