Reality Magazine is ceasing publication

It has recently been announced by our Redemptorist superiors that Reality Magazine will cease publication at the end of the year, after over seventy years as a monthly magazine of the Redemptorists. It is no surprise. All aspects of print media are finding life difficult, and this is especially so for religious magazines.

But for me there is a certain sadness in this announcement. I was a regular columnist for the magazine for many years. And of course it was one particular article, written in 2011, that drew the ire of the Vatican down on me. I wrote that article in the midst of clerical abuse revelations here in Ireland, and specifically in the immediate aftermath of the publication of the Cloyne Report, on abuse and cover-up in that diocese. The particular sentence that caught the attention of the CDF was: ‘I believe that priesthood as we have it today is certainly not as Jesus intended’. In the context in which I was writing the article that seemed like an obvious and fairly incontestable sentence. But not so to the Vatican. (Nowadays it is accepted by many scholars that Jesus didn’t initiate any priesthood.)

Anyway, that finished my involvement with the magazine. During those years the editor was Gerry Moloney, and he was excellent at the job. His editorials were always worth reading, and were often picked up by other media outlets, which greatly helped sales. But, as a result of my censoring, restrictions were also put on Gerry in relation to his editorial content. 

He struggled along with that for a couple of years, but eventually, he either resigned or was moved out — I am not sure which. Maybe it was a bit of both.

One thing sure was that the magazine lost a lot of it’s edge, and became more bland and churchy. Inevitably the readership declined, and now it has reached the end. 

In a way it is a pity. Now with so many interesting developments currently in our Church, mainly in the area of Synodality, I think Gerry and myself would have a lot of interest to say, clarifying what exactly is happening, and doing a worthwhile critique of it all. I think we would still be able to produce a viable magazine.

Or am I suffering from an illusion of old age?