(image courtesy of: DC-Laus Deo. {http://goo.gl/HlcxRX})

Crux is joining forces with the Knights of Columbus according to Crux’s staff in a news release posted on Tuesday (March 15th).  It states, “The Knights will respect the editorial freedom of Crux, [Associate Editor John L.] Allen [, Jr.] said, trusting it to present news and commentary in a way that serves the good of the Church.”  DC-Laus Deo blogged this quote from Supreme Knight Carl Anderson: “Crux is an important voice and key source of news for Catholics and about Catholic issues, and we are very pleased to be able to keep this important voice speaking to the Church and to the world.”

Greg Ryan of the Boston Business Journal writes that things began to happen about a week ago, “Allen began a furious search for a way to keep Crux in business after [Boston] Globe higher-ups told him late Wednesday [March 9th] that the paper was dropping the site within weeks. The Globe told him it would allow him to continue operating the site, including the intellectual property developed by the Globe, at no cost, according to Allen. ‘I spent the last 18 months of my life trying to build a brand, so to speak, and I didn’t want to just see it disappear,’ he said.” Ryan writes how Allen and the Knights came together, “Allen knew the Knights of Columbus had some interest in the media world, so he reached out to the group about a possible partnership. Within days, the basics of the deal were in place, although the two sides are still working out details, including the transfer of the Crux site from Globe servers to Knights of Columbus servers, he said.” Ryan goes on to explain what the new venture will look like, “While content producers and technology staffers are likely to join from Catholic Pulse, Allen and [Vatican correspondent Inés] San Martín will constitute a ‘two-person news agency,’ as Allen put it, ‘with the hope of expansion in the future.’ The deal with the Knights of Columbus does not preclude other sponsors from signing on with the site, and Crux is in talks with other potential partners, according to Allen. ‘I’m a journalist, not an entrepreneur,’ he said, but the Knights arrangement ‘is an endorsement of my totally naive instinct that there would be people out there who supported (Crux) and would be willing to do it.'” Reporter Michael O’Loughlin and columnist Margery Eagan will not be joining the new Crux, while editor Teresa Hanafin is staying with the Globe.

Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports, “Established in 1882, the Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization with almost 1.9 million members across the globe. In 2014, the group raised more than $173.5 million for charity and spent more than 71.5 million hours volunteering.” CNA also provides some history on Crux,”Crux was launched in September 2014. It aspired to cover ‘all things Catholic’ with content to appeal to active Catholics, ‘casual’ Catholics who may not be regular Mass attendees, and general readers interested in Pope Francis, religion and spirituality.” Crux’s new tagline is, “Keeping its finger on the Catholic Pulse.”

The Knights of Columbus (KofC) have been trying to improve their presence in U.S. Catholic media, so adding Crux is good move for them. Their magazine Columbia, has tried to find its stride for years but to no avail, and the same could be said for the Catholic Pulse website. Allen and San Martin get partners with deep pockets who they hope will allow them to expand their operation over time. The KofC are known as a traditional and conservative organization. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson is a lawyer who was staffer for the late North Carolina Republican Senator Jesse Helms and later worked for the White House during President George W. Bush’s Republican administration. Crux is believed by some to be liberal, but while some conservative and liberal commenters were critical of the move, others were were supportive and hopeful. DC-Laus Deo reminded readers, “This is not the only high profile effort the Knights of Columbus have done to preserve and spread the faith. The Knights of Columbus bought the struggling John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. for $27 million in 2011 and converted it into the St. John Paul II Shrine.”

This is going to be an interesting “marriage” to witness from a far. Some are saying that Allen will bend right, while others believe the KofC will allow him to truly operate independently. One of the major criticisms of Crux has been its willingness to report on the ongoing sexual abuse crisis involving Catholic clergy around the world. DC-Laus Deo blogged this analysis of a now former columnist, “[Margery] Eagan’s departure may be fortuitous, as traditional Catholics have been irked by some of her thought pieces, particularly on homosexuality and the Church.

U.S. Catholics would be served well if they were able to have a reliable balanced source for news and discussion about the Church and its role in global society.