In 1993, when I was a young married man with a growing family, I received a magazine in the mail as a gift from Paul Morgan of the Peterborough Pro-Life Association—the first issue of Catholic Insight. This issue had articles on the media and the US election of the pro-abortion president Clinton, a selection from Pope John Paul II, and an editorial by the founding editor, Fr. de Valk, with associate editors David Dooley and Fr. Stephen Somerville. They wrote:
Our purpose therefore is threefold: to defend the Church; to educate ourselves; to help (re)-evangelize our corner of God’s vineyard. Our theology is that of the church ancient and modern: ancient because we believe in the unchanging teachings of the Church, modern because we happily accept the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) as the radiant Catholic witness of our own day. Our method is that of helping the enquirer seeking truth to see some light despite being stymied or puzzled by the crush of false data. We will try to analyze falsehoods and, if necessary, point a finger in the direction where a solution may be found.
The effect of this manifesto on many of us young Catholics, living largely isolated and misunderstood by our culture and co-religionists who had in all appearances uncritically embraced modern culture, was tremendous. Finally, in spite of unrelenting preaching based on the gospel according to Karl Marx, we were no longer tempted to despair—the Church saw, and Providence had provided us with solace and hope in the form of a monthly magazine called Catholic Insight!
I think what we were most impressed with was the courage and charity of Catholic Insight: courage to speak unpopular truths, and charity in how these were stated—always for the edification of the readers. Catholic Insight from the first has been out of step with the times, much in the same way that the Saints are out of step, and holiness itself is out of step. Yet Catholic Insight has never been nostalgic; those who wanted a magazine to bring back the good old days were soon disappointed! Catholic Insight is topical, current, and relevant; romanticizing neither the past under the filtered memory of a false traditionalism, nor the present under the illusion of progress.
G. K. Chesterton once argued that if we want to keep a white post in a village square, we need to be always refurbishing it; to simply conserve it dooms it to a slow decay. This is certainly consistent with the Catholic mind and the mind of the Church. By my count, Catholic Insight has gone through six changes in style, content, and focus in order to remain true to its mandate, six refurbishings under Fr. de Valk’s editorship.
Now it is being refurbished in order to keep true to the founding mandate. We hope you will continue to find in Catholic Insight the same uncompromising delivery of the truth, always with the goal of helping keep the faith in the current culture war. The new Catholic evangelization of our Church and home begins with liturgical renewal, which requires a rediscovery of objective beauty in music, art, and literature. In the words of the Holy Father, “The encounter with the beautiful can become the wound of the arrow that strikes the heart and in this way opens our eyes, so that later, from this experience, we take the criteria for judgment” (2002 Message to the Communion and Liberation, Rimini, Italy). To this end, we are adding music, art, and literature to these pages to promote the restoration of the domestic church.
One final thing. We know that the culture war has already been won. We count it a blessing to be able to participate in the contest knowing the victory has already been achieved. We would not have it any other way: Christ has given us His church to guide us, His flesh and blood in the Eucharist to sustain us, and His Blessed Mother as our own to keep us faithful and hopeful.