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St. Anthony Messenger Cutting and Clueless

From The Deacon's Bench:

The St. Anthony Messenger Press, the Cincinnati-based national provider of inspirational and educational Roman Catholic spirituality resources, announced Monday it is redefining its strategy and reducing staffing.

Father Dan Kroger said the 116-year-old communications company, based in Over-the-Rhine and sponsored by the Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province, is offering voluntary early retirement to eligible employees, closed its Cincinnati Call Center and will stop using its independent field sales force.

St. Anthony Messenger has long been on our list of publishers to buy very little from because they tend to publish heterodox authors. I have also been pretty leary of their Catholic Update that I frequently see in parish literature racks. I recently found an older edition from several years back that suggested contraception use is a matter of conscience for a couple.

A couple of years ago St. Anthony Messenger purchased Servant Publications, a thoroughly orthodox publisher that we had been working with for a while. I assumed that they did it to put up an orthoodox front for the company. After a single attempt to produce a single mixed catalog for both companies that met with a lot of protest, they went back to separating the two into different catalogs or into completely separate sections of the trade catalog.

I found the end of the article particular telling and it doesn't bode well for the publisher:

He [Father Dan Kroger] also said the traditional Catholic audience is shrinking and the subscriber base is declining.

It may be that HIS traditional audience is shrinking - the audience that likes dissidents - but the audience that actually appreciates true Catholicism isn't shrinking. The fact that he can't see that makes me doubt the company's ability to adapt to the changing attitudes among Catholics.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • william June 9, 2009, 6:43 pm

    Ian, thanks for telling it like it is. These people just don’t get it, do they?

  • Fr Eric June 9, 2009, 6:45 pm

    What is tradition for Fr. Dan? I remember a few years ago of a choir member asking me for permission to sing more “traditional music, like the stuff from the 1970s.” Someone’s crying Lord, kumbaya.

  • Ian June 9, 2009, 9:40 pm

    When we were planning our wedding and told the organist we were going to do Gregorian chant and have a polyphonic choir, her response was “So you don’t want any of the traditional stuff?”

  • Ian June 9, 2009, 9:41 pm

    As a footnote to the story, our product manager mentioned that he has had several conversations with Fr. Dan who always says to just call him “Dan.”

  • Kim June 22, 2009, 11:31 pm

    I sometimes read St. Anthony Messenger at a relative’s house and enjoy it.

    All print media have fallen on hard times during the past decade or so. I would think a book retailer would know that.

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