|History of the Catholic Press Association|
History of the Catholic Press
As the United States was forming, nativism, or opposition to immigration, was strong. This lack of social standing placed pressure on immigrants and created a need to unite and educate, to bring news from home, and to fight for civil and religious rights in a new country. The immigrants accomplished this by forming societies and associations; creating Catholic journals and newspapers.
Bishop John England was an experienced editor who emigrated from Ireland. He initially used the secular press to explain Catholicism but soon realized that he needed his own vehicle to address misrepresentations of the faith. Bishop England started the first Catholic diocesan paper, the Catholic Miscellany, in 1822 in Charleston, SC.
Other bishops did not launch papers at this time, but by 1837 they welcomed the independent Catholic papers at the close of the Third Plenary Council in Baltimore. They expressed their wishes that even though the publications were not officially sanctioned by the bishops, the clergy and faithful should support them. They noted that the journals were useful to “explain our tenets, defend our rights and vindicate our conduct”. In 1884, Bishops recommended that each Catholic household receive at least one Catholic periodical of good repute.
In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Catholics made an asserted effort to move from parochial and ethnic organizations to national organizations and professional associations. Editors and publicists discussed forming the Catholic Press or an association for those working in the field.
After four previous attempts failed, the present-day Catholic Press Association was organized at a meeting at the Chittenden Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, August 24-25, 1911. About 60 delegates representing 37 publications attended, including a half dozen women, almost two dozen priests and more than 30 laymen. The aim of the new Association would be to publicize news of Catholic interest, combat the negative influence of some of the secular press, develop a news service, secure national advertising and agitate against higher postal rates.
We, the Catholic press, face the same challenges that existed nearly 200 years ago: explaining and defending the Catholic Church.
Today the CPA provides a variety of programs to support members facing those challenges:
For a more complete historical timeline of the CPA, READ MORE...