For those of you who were out of the loop at the end of this past week, there was a second major election about the Crux website. Check here to see round one: "To be or not to be -- What will become of Crux after that Boston Globe tie is cut?"
It didn't take long for the next shoe to drop, in the form of a second major announcement at the website: "Crux will continue with the Knights of Columbus as its partner."
Key parts of that short text include:
Veteran Vatican reporter John L. Allen Jr., associate editor of Crux, and the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, have announced that they will enter into a partnership in which Crux will remain an independent news outlet headed by Allen and Vatican correspondent Inés San Martín.
Allen said the joint project is designed to make one of the world’s best known Catholic news platforms even stronger. The partnership will combine the Knights’ resources and spirit of service with the journalistic experience and commitment of Crux.
As part of the project, Catholic Pulse, a news and commentary website operated by the Knights of Columbus, will merge with Crux, adding its resources to Crux’s blend of staff-generated reporting and analysis with pieces by respected guest contributors. The Crux website will feature the tagline: “Keeping its finger on the Catholic Pulse.”
Allen and Co. will retain their deep online archives, which is crucial to the coverage of ongoing news and controversies. And what about the size of the new editorial team? It will be smaller, but some freelance scribes may be added in the future.
But, wait. Aren't the Knights, uh, rather doctrinally conservative? What happens to voices on the doctrinal left?
The Knights will respect the editorial freedom of Crux, Allen said, trusting it to present news and commentary in a way that serves the good of the Church.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to join together in this important venture and look forward to this partnership with Crux, and with its principals, John Allen and Inés San Martín, as they continue to build on their record of thoughtful and intelligent journalism and commentary,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Crux is an important voice and key source of news for Catholics and about Catholic issues, and we are very pleased to be able to keep this important voice speaking to the Church and to the world.” ...
The plans are for Knights of Columbus to be the main sponsor and partner. Crux will also continue to solicit advertising and may allow some level of additional co-sponsorship, especially for the coverage of specific topic areas that align with the joint Knights/Crux mission of providing quality Catholic journalism.
As you would expect, there are skeptics in logical corners of the American church. For example:
DignityUSA, the nation’s foremost organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, is expressing grave concern over the announcement that the Catholic news service “Crux,” currently sponsored by The Boston Globe, will be underwritten by the Knights of Columbus as of April 1, 2016.
“In the year and a half since its launch, Crux has become one of the go-to centers for information and analysis about news and trends in Catholicism,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA’s Executive Director. “When it was sponsored by a major news organization, I think its audience came to expect high quality, independent journalism. In shifting to Knights of Columbus sponsorship, I fear that independence could be compromised. The Knights are deeply invested in advancing a particular brand of Catholicism, and I am concerned that Crux’s coverage of the diversity and breadth of our Church will be diminished.”
Duddy-Burke noted the Knights’ significant funding for campaigns opposing same-sex marriage as an example of its support for conservative Catholic causes. She pointed to a 2012 report by the Equally Blessed coalition, of which DignityUSA is a founding member, which documented that over $6.25 million was directed to anti-marriage equality measures by the Knights of Columbus.
Read on, and stay tuned.