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Parting thoughts on editorial writing and importance of the Catholic press Print
Editorial
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jul. 02, 2020 -- 12:00 AM

When he named me editor of the Catholic Herald in 1986, Bishop Cletus F. O’Donnell expressed his confidence in me and encouraged me to write “one solid editorial” every week.

I’ve lived up to his request. In these 34 years, I estimate I’ve written almost 1,600 editorials.

As I retire as editor, it caused me to reflect on why the bishop emphasized writing editorials. Contrary to most straight news articles, editorials not only give information, but they express a point of view and often urge action.

Grounded in Church teaching

By “solid,” I think Bishop O’Donnell wanted me to make sure that my editorials were grounded in Church teaching.

This teaching comes from the Scriptures as well as from the words of our popes, bishops, and saints. I have a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on my desk and will look up what it says on various topics to make sure I’m in line with what the Church teaches.

In addition, I’ve always considered Catholic social teaching as a basis for many of my editorials. The principles of Catholic social teaching are: life and dignity of the human person; call to family, community, and participation; rights and responsibilities; option for the poor and vulnerable; dignity of work and the rights of workers; solidarity; and care for God’s creation.

My “Editor’s View” has included commentary on local, state, national, and international issues. When appropriate, I give a personal perspective and invite readers to take action.

I’ve always been pleased to receive feedback from readers, even if they don’t agree with me. We do publish some letters to the editor. However, they need to be signed, and I’ve reserved the right to edit or reject letters.

Winning Press Awards

Every year, the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada has a Press Awards competition. I’m pleased to say that my editorials have won quite a few awards over the years. I see these awards as supporting the work of our diocesan newspaper rather than just honoring me.

Some award-winning editorials I’ve written focused on topics such as supporting our immigrant brothers and sisters, protecting children from gun violence, providing paid maternity leave, giving the gift of life after death with organ and tissue donation, and remaining vigilant about state abortion laws.

Our paper has gained credibility not only on a diocesan level, but across the country. I am especially proud of a number of General Excellence Awards our paper has received over the years.

This may help account for the fact that we have the highest circulation among diocesan papers in our state. Of course, the support of our bishop-publishers, our priests, and our people helps, too.

Expanding our reach

We established a website (www.madisoncatholicherald.org) in 2001. Thousands of people throughout the world view our website. Plus we’ve used Facebook and Twitter for many years and added an e-Edition in 2016.

It is so important that the Catholic press continues to be available. Our paper brings a Catholic perspective on the news of the day and unites our diocese with stories on our diocesan offices, parishes, schools, and organizations. Many people in our diocese have told me they still like to receive a print publication, and I agree with them.

Now I pass the baton (or the computer) to Kevin Wondrash, who is succeeding me as editor. I’ve encouraged him to write “one solid editorial” each week. I have every confidence in his abilities and hope our readers will follow his editorials as they have mine. God bless you and God bless the Catholic press!

 

 

 

 

 
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