This article was
once able to be found at the website for New Oxford Review magazine.
Your Voice of Orthodox Catholicism, Without Any Strings Attached
By Dale Vree
The only intellectual, theologically right-of-center, Catholic-oriented
magazines that have a significantly larger paid circulation than the
NOR does are Crisis and First Things. Why? Because they get their
funding from neoconservative foundations. In 2003 (the last year
reported), Crisis and its affiliated Morley Publishing Group got
$105,000 from neocon foundations. Since Crisis’s founding in 1982,
neocon foundations have pumped in $1,774,000. In 2003 (the last year
reported), First Things and its affiliated Institute on Religion and
Public Life got $425,000 from neoconservative foundations. Since its
founding in 1990, First Things has received a whopping $8,217,500.
Crisis’s budget as of 2003 was $1,641,151. The budget for First Things
as of 2003 was $1,773,059. By comparison, the NOR’s budget for 2003 was
$449,383. Imagine what the NOR could do with a budget of over a million
and a half dollars! Still, we are pleased to say that we don’t rely on
political foundations, for there can be strings attached.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that First Things is called First Things, not
Last Things, as in the Four Last Things (death, Judgment, Heaven, and
Hell). Nor is First Things called Last Things First or First & Last
Things. You probably thought — and we certainly thought — that the
purpose of First Things and its affiliated Religion and Public Life was
to instruct people about religious orthodoxy, maybe even Catholic
orthodoxy. We were wrong. Their purpose is to “teach people about the
moral and ethical basis of capitalism” (according to
mediatransparency.org). Crisis used to be named Catholicism in Crisis.
Now it’s just Crisis, with the subtitle being Politics, Culture, and
the Church — note the order. One could easily get the impression that
First Things and Crisis are bought and paid for by neocon foundations.
Before Crisis and First Things were even founded, the NOR was contacted
by a neocon foundation — right out of the blue. The foundation wanted
to give us money — “free” money. A fellow flew out from the East Coast
and asked me (the Editor) to meet him for drinks in a San Francisco
restaurant — on him. Sure! (We were desperate for money.)
He told me he would fund us regularly — if we would support corporate
capitalism and if we would support a militaristic U.S. foreign policy.
I had to think quickly on my feet. I immediately realized that our
first loyalty is to Christ and His Church, not to any ideology,
political party, or even any nation (for the Church is universal). It
was patently obvious that our religious mission would be compromised,
that the whole idea was to make us a front group for the neocon agenda.
I gave him a firm “no,” and that was the end of that.
Have I regretted that “no”? In my weaker moments, yes; but mostly I
have not. For Catholic social teaching does not support unregulated
capitalism, and we know that the Holy See’s stand on foreign affairs
can at times be sharply at odds with U.S. foreign policy.
The offer from the neocon foundation was reminiscent of how the
Communist Party (CP) operated in the U.S. Indeed, many of the leading
neocons are ex-Trotskyites (ultra-Left Communists), and know how the CP
manipulated people. The CP set up front groups (with the help of Moscow
gold) for religious people to advance the CP line. Leaders of these
front groups were sometimes dupes. But some knew full well what they
were doing. We don’t know if Catholics who jump aboard the neocon gravy
train are dupes or know full well what they are doing. All we know is
that it’s not something the NOR could do.
We at the NOR are glad to be independent of the ideological bigwigs. We
don’t have to run around on the New York and D.C. cocktail-party
circuit. We don’t have to kiss up to the neocon money-barons. We don’t
have to serve their vested interests. But that’s only possible because
we receive our funding from our subscribers.
We were amused when the Editor-in-Chief of First Things, Fr. Richard
John Neuhaus, said he gets a “princely salary” (First Things, Dec.
1998, p. 80). Well, when you’re on the neocon dole, you do get a
princely salary. But when you’re not! No one at the NOR gets a
When you chase after the fat cats, things can get sticky. The
fundraiser for Crisis is (still) Deal Hudson. In a letter dated April
5, 2005, announcing Crisis’s seventh annual golf tournament signed by
Hudson, he said: “Again, we invite you to a special White House
briefing,” linked to the golf tournament. (The tab for the golfing was
$2,000 for one person.) This caught the attention of Julia Duin, the
religion reporter for the conservative Washington Times, who raised
ethical issues about Hudson’s letter (as we all know, Hudson has other
ethical issues dogging him). White House spokesman Trent Duffy
responded: “The White House was not aware whatsoever it would be used
in this fashion. It’s well-established that it’s inappropriate for
third parties to use the White House for briefings to raise money.” The
White House canceled the briefing, and so Crisis had to cancel its
event. Obviously, the enticement was the White House briefing. And do
remember that Hudson’s letter of April 5 said, “Again, we invite you to
a special White House briefing.” So how long has this underhanded
fundraising been going on?
Yes, the neocon magazines have a lot of money to throw around. They
hold conferences, go on fancy cruises and stage golf tournaments to
lure in more high rollers, travel hither and yon, and pay their writers
handsomely. The NOR does none of that; indeed, we don’t pay our writers
anything. You’ve heard the slogan: “Freedom Is Not Free.” You pay a
price for your freedom, and the NOR is truly free.
Over the years, we’ve managed to increase our number of pages per issue
from 32 to 48, and increase our number of issues per year from 10 to
11, all without increasing our subscription rates. This is due to
donations from our subscribers. If you multiply the number of pages by
the issues per year and divide that sum by the subscription price,
you’ll find that among serious Catholic magazines the NOR comes out as
number one — that is, you get the most bang for your buck. And that’s
the way we want to keep it.
However, over the past year, we’ve lost $142,000. Part of that is
normal (as expenses exceed income), but part is not. What is not normal
(1)We have reconstructed our website, newoxfordreview.org. Previously,
it was operated by a kind fellow in his spare time, free of charge. But
because he has a growing family, he told us he could no longer be our
webmaster. So we hired Michael S. Rose to reconstruct our website. It
is now up and running, and you’ll notice that it is vastly improved. To
that end, we’ve been archiving our past issues, and our online Archives
currently go back to 1996, with every article, editorial, guest column,
New Oxford Note, book review, and letter to the editor now available at
our website — with more to come. And our “infamous” ads are available
in our online Ad Gallery. You know, those biting, satirical, often
laugh-out-loud ads, those that have been banned by Commonweal, the
National Catholic Reporter, America, Crisis, the National Catholic
Register, and Our Sunday Visitor, among others. And we have compiled
over 40 Dossiers containing all the material that has appeared in the
NOR going back to 1996 on particular topics or persons: C.S. Lewis,
Hell, prolife issues, Scott Hahn, ecumenism and ecumania, wacky
theologians, sacred music, Catholic social teaching, “inclusive”
language, the clerical sex scandals, the Lavender Mafia, and much more.
And we continue to offer a growing selection of NOR items that have
been translated into Spanish in the En Espaņol section of our website.
Visitors to our website can also browse the online NOR Gear Shoppe, and
choose from a wide selection of T-shirts and tote bags, sweatshirts and
hoodies, coffee mugs and beer steins, BBQ aprons and baby bibs, and
more — all bearing pithy, NOR-themed designs.
One new feature of our upgraded website that we think will be of great
use to our readers is the New Oxford News Link. Updated every weekday,
the News Link features the day’s news items that are of particular
interest to Catholics, from the headline news to overlooked news
oddities, culled from news sources the world over. The News Link is a
free service; you can sign up to receive daily email updates by going
to our website, clicking the “Free Email Updates” link, and entering
your email address. One need not be a subscriber to take advantage of
the News Link.
Of course, Mr. Rose is not doing this in his spare time; it’s a real
job, and he must be paid. We didn’t hire someone off the street who
knows nothing about the NOR and then disappears when he’s done. Rose
knows what the NOR is all about, and he has the same “attitude” as the
Editor. For example, at the top of the homepage of the website there
are three puffs for the NOR: “Catholicism’s Intellectual Prizefighter”
— Karl Keating; “Cheeky” — Newsweek ; followed by “Very Offensive!” —
Archbishop Rembert Weakland (that’s the best puff we’ve ever gotten!).
And Rose is maintaining our website year round, so it will not become
It is extremely important to have an engaging and comprehensive
website, with new material every weekday, because young people spend
enormous amounts of time on the Internet, and it goes without saying
that young people are the future of orthodox Catholicism and of the
NOR. On our website the News Link, the Ad Gallery, and the Spanish
translations are free, as is one different item each weekday from the
Archives, from the current issue, and from the previous month’s issue.
This is how we get people coming back to our website — and, we hope,
get them to subscribe. But in order to view our entire Archives and all
our Dossiers, you must pay a small fee. Still, for now and in the near
future, our website will be draining us of money, but our prayer is
that it will eventually pay for itself.
(2)One can subscribe online to the print edition of the NOR, or extend
or renew a subscription. And this can now be done by credit card,
something many of our readers have been asking of us for a number of
years. We are happy to be able to offer this service, but,
unfortunately, accepting credit cards is also a monetary drain. We hope
it will eventually pay for itself, but we can’t be sure of that.
So, all in all, to cover our losses and project us into the new fiscal
year, we need to raise $176,000. Please do help us achieve our modest
fundraising goal by sending your donation to: New Oxford Review, 1069
Kains Ave., Berkeley CA 94706. The New Oxford Review is a nonprofit
entity and has 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue
Service. Donations are therefore tax-deductible to the extent allowed
by law. Checks are of course to be made out to New Oxford Review.
Credit card donations can also be made at our website:
As St. Augustine said, “God provides the wind, but man must raise the
sails.” Please do help us raise our sails in this blood-dimmed and
Found now at: