ASICS: Itâ€™s an independent journal of opinion edited and managed by lay Catholics. Twenty-two issues a year; usually 32 pages. Offices in a building on Manhattanâ€™s Upper West Side with a good view of the Hudson River and beyond.
CONTENT, RANGE: No soccer scores, no recipes, no crosswords. But lots of politics: e.g., health-care reform, budget-balancing, Israel & Palestine, China & Tibet, Iraq & Afghanistan... And plenty of ethics-talk: gay marriage, death penalty, euthanasia, abortion. Plus a miscellany: womenâ€™s ordination, science & religion, the high cost of college, Social Security, who exactly was/is Jesus?
STYLE, STANCE: Commonweal publishes editorials, columns, essays, poetry, reviews of books, movies, plays, the media, a selection of apposite and/or funny cartoons, & lots of letters to the editors. Liberal? Conservative? Depends on the issue & the writer. From its founding in 1924(!), the journal has held that America has much to learn from Catholicism, and vice versaa core belief that has survived severe testing in disputes over the Spanish Civil War, civil rights, Vietnam, Humanae vitae...
CIRCULATION: Around 20, 000 on a good day; readership around 60, 000. So itâ€™s a "little" magazine, meaning that if you subscribe you may well be the first on your block.
INFLUENCE: Hard to measure, but the magazine is much quoted, reprinted, anthologized, and cussed at.
OWNERSHIP, FINANCES: Nonprofit corporation controlled by an independent board of directors. Loses money on operations, kept afloat by reader contributions (about 25 percent of revenues).
KUDOS: Historian Rodger Van Allen describes Commonweal as "perhaps the most significant lay enterprise and achievement in the history of American Catholicism." Every year our peers in the Catholic and religious press affirm that verdict by granting the magazine awards for "Best Article, " "Best Review Section, " "Best Cover, " "General Excellence, " etc. We do not dispute these judgments.