Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Does Anyone Read the National Catholic Reporter?

Recently, I viewed the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) website; it featured an editorial titled, I am a Pro-Choice Catholic.  I wondered, does anyone actually read this crap?  The ideas promulgated by the National Catholic Reporter are so stupid that I can't imagine anyone paying $40 a month for the privilege of reading them.  Faithful Catholic bloggers make a habit of skewering NCR and other heretical publications, but what if no one actually subscribes to them?  After some online research and phone calls, I came up with a list of readership statistics for leading Catholic publications in the United States and the number of monthly visitors to their websites.

Number of Subscribers\Monthly Web Visitors
St. Anthony Messenger: 300,000*\790,800
Our Sunday Visitor: 48,000\127,750
America Magazine: 40,000\164,250
National Catholic Reporter: 35,000\1.217 Million
National Catholic Register: 33,000**\1.125 Million
Commonweal: 24,000\222,000
Catholic World Report 12,000\97,300

It would appear that the heterodox publications National Catholic Reporter and Commonweal, and the borderline America magazine, are in the mainstream of Catholic publications in terms of readership.  Especially disturbing are the 1.217 Million monthly visitors to the NCR website.  Perhaps most of those visits were by LarryD looking for something to lampoon, but I rather doubt it.  It is too bad that the awful National Catholic Reporter is so popular, but it is heartening to see such high readership of Our Sunday Visitor and the National Catholic Register website.  At the very least, Catholic bloggers have no shortage of material when it comes to heresy.  Nothing cures writers block like outrageous attacks on the faith and the National Catholic Reporter is generous to continually produce them.

*This number seems very high but I corroborated it using both the SAM website and an outside source.  I suspect that they give away a lot of issues.
**This figure is from 2008 and may not reflect current subscription levels, but it was all I could find.


  1. It doesn't surprise me, but it does sadden me. Catholics have not been properly catechized for close to 50 years.

  2. Adrienne: Exactly. I think that poor Catechisis is the #1 problem in the American church.

  3. The National Catholic Register was recently taken over by EWTN & they are working to up the number of subscribers. The Register & Our Sunday Visitor are the only 2 on that list I trust.
    Poor catechisis is a bhuge part of the problem. The NonCatholic Reporter's biggest grooup of supporters are a lot of those responsible for that poor catechisis. The paper reflects what they believe.

  4. Back in my undergrad years the parish that served us students was
    run by a once-proud order now sadly heterodox. I recall heaps and
    stacks of National Catholic Reporters put up in the vestibule
    for us to take, courtesy of the parish. Invariably, those papers were
    taken to the trashcan largely unread. I suspect that this waste was
    less about providing solid catechesis to us students and more about
    the order throwing support to NCR with parish funds.

    As for the Reporter's healthy web visitor stats, I would point
    out that they have made themselves indispensable to anyone writing
    a story on the Church and needing a dissenting view to 'balance' the
    piece. That, and the presence of the respected John Allen (that rag's
    solitary boast) probably accounts for the NCR's healthy stats. For
    myself, I will never knowingly visit their site -- might catch some
    sort of electronic cooties...

  5. PB: Great investigation into things. I think that visits and the like are a tough indication of where the mind of American Catholics are, but you are correct to point out that there are way too many people reading these publications. These things arent a matter of opinion, but in fact are heterodoxy at best, most of the time.

  6. Al: Hopefully the Register has many more subscribers by now. The number I found was outdated but it was the only one I could find. I called the Register offices and I was told that they have so many subscribers that they can't keep track of them all. What that means, I don't know.

    Clinton: I suppose the only thing worse than individuals reading NCR for themselves is reporters reading it and spreading it around.

    Joe: Thanks! Most American Catholics have probably never heard of NCR but I bet that many Catholics' understanding of their faith is influenced by reporters, priests, and catechists who read NCR and other heterodox publications.

  7. C'mon Patrick,..the National Catholic Reporter is some of the best toilet paper around! Up here we have Novalis Press,..Times they are a-changin' though as JPII generation is about to take over and we are already seeing battle lines being drawn as the heterodox crowd is fading into extinction...