Sed Contra: Fifteen Years and Counting

Deal W. Hudson
September 1, 1997

Fifteen years have passed since Ralph McInerny and Michael Novak gave birth to Crisis. Their investment of a few thousand dollars gave the Church a new and lasting voice. What began as Catholicism in Crisis, a cry of protest against the liberal Catholic establishment grew into a multifaceted movement for the promotion of Catholic culture.

The history of Crisis will be on display in the pages of our upcoming fifteenth-anniversary issue, to be published in November. The best writing from each of our fifteen years will be presented, along with a timeline reminding readers of significant events in the Church and culture. In editing this section, we recognized even more deeply how closely the editorial content of Cm’s has followed the lead of the Holy Father.

This anniversary issue will be dedicated to John Paul II. George Weigel, hard at work on the authorized biography of the pope, will present an overview of his extraordinary papacy. Crisis writers and editors will contribute to a symposium predicting the impact of John Paul II’s papacy on the next millennium. In particular, we will address the dissident opinion that John Paul II’s orthodoxy is just a momentary finger in the dam of tradition before the flood of democratization breaks through.

Catholic schools and other organizations that wish to use this special issue as a fundraising tool may place bulk orders at a reduced price by calling 202-861-7790.

No pope has better grasped the importance of the media for evangelization. Following his example, Crisis is extending its voice to radio and television. Thanks to Mother Angelica, both “Crisis Conversations” and “Truth Talks” can be heard twice a week on international shortwave stations, as well as AM stations throughout the country.

In October, EWTN will begin airing our new thirteen-part Crisis television series entitled, The Church and Culture Today. Guests include the former commissioner of baseball, Bowie Kuhn; National Review editor, Kate O’Bierne; pianist, Stephen Hough; Bob Royal; Helen Alvare; and, Jody Bottum, among others.

After two years of halting steps toward new media, I am delighted to announce the arrival of our new website at Please visit us there and tell us what you think. You can also order the last two years of Crisis on CD-ROM for free by calling 888-228-1789.

Far from abandoning the print media, Crisis is expanding in that direction as well. We are reprinting Admiral Jeremiah Denton’s When Hell Was in Session to appear in a new commemorative edition this fall. When I first met him, the Admiral gave me a copy of his book. I immediately became absorbed in it. But Theresa, my wife, started reading it before I was finished. She wouldn’t give it back until she had finished. Deeply moved by the story of his imprisonment in North Vietnam, Theresa picked up the phone and called the Admiral. They finally met at last year’s Partnership Dinner, and, needless to say, they are now fast friends.

Crisis readers, I have discovered, are quite an exceptional group of people. It’s been exciting to watch them come together for the first time at our dinners. The first Wodehouse dinner made me realize the possibilities inherent in bringing our readers together. It is one thing to share common ideas and religious beliefs, it is quite another, better, a thing to share them face-to-face. We now hold a Wodehouse dinner, each January in New York, co-sponsored by the Homeland Foundation.

Friendship is precisely what we have in mind by planning a conference cruise for next January. Rev. George Rutler will celebrate daily Mass and speak on the life of Jesus. Admiral Denton will talk about the lessons of Vietnam, past, and present. Other speakers include Ralph Mclnerny, Michael Novak, Russell Hittinger, Mary Jo Anderson, and myself. Six days together—in prayer, conversation, and relaxation—will provide a great opportunity to hear your ideas about the future of our magazine. See page 21 for more details.

This month Crisis will begin celebrating its fifteenth anniversary at our annual Partnership Dinner in Washington, D.C. Michael Novak, and Ralph McInerny will be there, along with many of the men and women who have supported the magazine’s growth. Tom Monaghan, founder, and president of Domino’s Pizza, is our honoree this year. As his article in this issue attests, few laymen of our time have done as much to spread the message of the Church. Crisis honors him, as we did Admiral Jeremiah Denton last year, as one who leads not only by words but by example.

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