What would we do without NCR?

This article appears in the Webathon 2017 feature series. View the full series.

"What would we do without NCR?" It's a question I hear often when I'm out on the road talking to reform-minded Catholics. It's a question that demonstrates our readers' awareness of the unique contribution that NCR makes to landscape of the Catholic media.

Because NCR is an independent and lay-led publication, its writers have unparalleled freedom to challenge the injustices of the institutional church that might otherwise go unquestioned and the injustices of society that might otherwise go unreported.

Witness, for example, NCR's features and columns on the Knights of Columbus written by Tom Roberts and Nicole Sotelo. Work of that depth requires not only skilled reporting, but funding to support the research efforts of our writers.

NCR also remains committed to spotlighting the work of Catholic theologians and activists around the country. In the last year also, this work requires dispatching reporters to conferences like Call to Action, the New Ways Ministry Symposium, and the Catholic Theological Society of America. This kind of reporting also requires funding for each reporter's travel and lodging expenses — cost which add up quickly.

NCR is no less vital to the world beyond the church. In its commitment to highlighting the social servants and community activists who give their lives to doing work that makes real Catholic doctrines on social justice, spirituality, and the primacy of conscience, NCR offers a fuller picture of who and what the church is outside of the walls of the institution. You can join us in this mission.

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This kind of reporting makes the true work of the church relevant to new generations who, though disaffected by the institutional church, are eager to repair the world and engage in meaningful spiritual practices.

One of NCR's most significant contributions to the Catholic media is its continued commitment to spotlighting the voices of those on the margins of our church and society. Whether they are the voices of the poor, or black or Latinx, or feminists, or LGBT Catholics, NCR is singular among other Catholic media outlets for the range of voices it includes in its reporting and its commentary. 

Not all publications that are independent can boast this kind of diversity. For nearly nine years, I have been proud to contribute to a news organization that courageously and consistently takes full advantage of this opportunity.

Your help this week — we're asking 2,000 online readers to donate this week — will keep this independent and lay-led publication on the job. Please help with what you can afford today.

[Jamie L. Manson is NCR books editor. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics.]

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