Oh the … arbority!

My friend Fr. Ray Blake, the great P.P. of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton has a new angle on the problem of writer’s for liberal Catholic publications who threaten to sue people who point out the flaws in their theology.  Here is Fr. Blake with my emphases:

If this is libelous please let me know and I will change it or even remove it.

I am not really into the ways of the world, and certainly not of the newspaper industry but after having received a rather curt note dismissive note from the edit[or] of the Catholic Times, Mr Kevin Flaherty, I thought I would look at the numbers of his newspapers which we sold here, actually it is 1 or 2 a copies a week, yet Total Catholic Publications send us 12 copies a week leaving us with 10 or 11 copies, as for The Universe from the same Total Catholic stable they send us 22 copies of which we sell on average only 4 or 5. This seems to have been going on for years.

The Catholic Herald seems to adjusts its deliveries according to sales, but not the Catholic Times or The Universe, they have been sending us what the choose. We are not charged for unsolds, indeed we are asked to distribute the unsold copies free to the sick, though the last thing the sick want is to read these publications so we normally throw them away which in Green Brighton means we have to pay to get rid of them every few months.

I am forced to ask are these two papers claiming vastly inflated circulation figures in order to attract advertising? The Catholic Times I understand claims a circulation of 20,000 but if you go by my parish’s figures the actual paying readership they have would be about 2,000. The Universe claims to be the largest selling Catholic paper in the UK but if the figures are in line with the Catholic Times’, does it really have a hard copy circulation of much more than 5 or 6,000?

By accepting much larger numbers of these two papers than are likely to be sold, there is a dreadful waste and an “ecological sin”, think of those trees going to waste to produce unwanted newspapers but also parish clergy are actually unwittingly complicit in a possible scam, fraud is possibly too strong a word, against unwitting advertisers, who pay for advertising based on wholly inaccurate circulation figures, if that is so it would be gravely sinful!

Later today I will ensure there is is no more than a 10% and I would recommend other priests to do the same and parishioners to question why there might be large quantities of unsold Catholic papers at the backs of their churches.

Something must be done!

Will this madness never end?

For the love of God and our PLANET… save the TREES!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. jaykay says:

    “The Catholic Herald seems to adjusts its deliveries according to sales,”

    On that note, I was in Westminster Cathedral last week and saw in the sales area at the back a stack of Pills. There was however a larger stack of the Catholic Herald and: another large stack on the floor! Which means that if the Herald does actually adjust deliveries to sales then its sales are certainly outstripping those of the… other.

    The Herald seems to have a decent sale here in Ireland and not just in churches of a more traditional bent. My local newsagent stocks a few copies which he definitely would NOT do if they weren’t selling as shelf space is at a premium in his small shop (for which it must compete with the large sporting, motoring, women’s and, erm, ahem, “male oriented” quotient as well). I can’t say I’ve ever seen that… other publication on sale anywhere, that I can remember. Not that that in itself should be taken as a sign of health or aversal to trendy-lefty dissent on the part of the Irish Church. The reverse is rather the case, sadly.

  2. jaykay: good observation!

  3. We could use even more concrete information about circulation.

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