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Reality magazine celebrates 80 years

By Sarah Mac Donald - 08 November, 2016


The editor of the Redemptorist magazine, ‘Reality’, has called for a “robust religious press in Ireland” to “champion the Catholic perspective”.

Fr Brendan McConvery CSsR made his comments as he marked 80 years of publication of the magazine.

In a statement, the former lecturer in theology at St Patrick’s College Maynooth stressed the need for a strong and diverse religious media in Ireland, and he regretted the closure of several religious publications and the pressures facing the religious press in the 21st century.

“It is abundantly clear that if ever we needed a robust religious press in Ireland, we need it now,” Fr McConvery said.

“We need a Catholic media to champion the Catholic perspective and to which Catholics can turn for support, information, and guidance. Reality magazine and Redemptorist Communications hope to be able to fulfil this role for many years to come.”

First published in November 1936 as ‘The Redemptorist Record’, Reality describes its mission as being to “inform, inspire, and challenge today’s Catholic.”

Fr McConvery commented on its evolution from a magazine which, in the 1950s, had a reputation for its stringent line on sexual matters to a publication which by the mid 1960s had become so ‘dangerous’ that Archbishop John Charles McQuaid felt it required three diocesan-appointed censors. “We have had a fantastic if, at times, colourful history,” he said.

In 2012 it was revealed that the then editor of Reality, Fr Gerry Moloney, and columnist, Fr Tony Flannery, had both been censured by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith over their liberal views on priesthood, married priests and women priests.

According to Fr McConvery, the magazine is particularly proud of the part it played in trying to bring the vision and promise of Vatican II to the Irish faithful, and of being a facility that allows people to reflect on the myriad issues facing the Church at home and abroad – “uncomfortable though some of these issues may be”.

To celebrate its birthday, the November 2016 issue of Reality contains a mini edition of the first issue of the Redemptorist Record.

The first part of the November edition is devoted to how the good news of the Gospel can be promoted with the help of modern media.

Dr John Horgan, a Labour TD, member of the European Parliament and first Press Ombudsman, recalls his time as a young journalist in the Irish Times, when he covered the final session of the Second Vatican Council.

Fr Tom Rosica, a Canadian priest who worked for the Vatican Press Office and who is head of Salt and Light Communications – which uses radio and television as well as the print media – writes about the church and the media today.

Other articles describe the challenges and opportunities of Irish local radio and modern social media.

The second part of the November issue is an edited edition of the first number of the Redemptorist Record which eventually became Reality. Link to November issue: http://issuu.com/redcoms/docs/realitynov16online

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