Happy New Year! (Or New Year’s Eve, depending on when you’re reading this.)
2019 was a big year for Where Peter Is. We started this site in early 2018 as a handful of Catholics who had never met each other in person, spread around the world, connected by our shared Catholic Faith and our support for Pope Francis. We weren’t sure where all this was headed when we began; we simply published a few posts a week during our spare time in our attempt to defend the Holy Father and to help advance his mission and vision. We began with a small trickle of loyal readers and commentators, and now we have thousands of views every day.
In 2019, we published (by my count) 257 posts by 19 writers. In the last 3 months—by far our most heavily-trafficked—we’ve averaged more than one post per day. Our articles have been shared in national and international Church publications including The Tablet, The Catholic Herald, Commonweal, National Catholic Reporter, and The Irish Catholic. We’ve been cited in The Atlantic, NPR, and the New York Times. We’ve been featured in numerous local and diocesan publications, as well as many blog posts (including some that have been critical of our content). Our Tweets have been shared by numerous bishops and archbishops and at least two cardinals.
Most of our feedback has been extremely positive. We frequently hear from our readers that we are an “oasis” in a Catholic media culture that is often extremely reactionary and agenda-driven. It seems odd that in our 24-hour media-saturated culture, so few Catholic communications outlets aren’t motivated by ideology or partisan politics. We haven’t been perfect, but I know we’ve been honest. Even though our most widely-shared posts are those than have been classified as “hit pieces” (for example, those on Archbishop Chaput, Cardinal Burke, and Raymond Arroyo), we’ve avoided making personal attacks and addressed their ideas and statements. We truly believe that in the end, our approach of calmly applying reason and documentation to defend the Magisterium will be successful.
We have big plans for 2020, and we hope to implement some of them soon. We’ve been talking about launching a podcast since day one, and hopefully this will become a reality in the next couple of months.
We’ve also begun to explore the possibility of finding funding for the site (and if you know of any potential sponsors, we’d love to hear from you). Up to now, the WPI has been an entirely volunteer enterprise, but we’d like to continue to grow. Several people I’ve spoken to are astounded at what we’ve accomplished on virtually no budget—including Twitter trolls who think we are funded by the Vatican or freemasons or George Soros. Compared to many professionally-run websites (including those that regularly attack the Holy Father and try to undermine him), I am astounded and grateful myself.
More than one person has described the site as a “labor of love.” It truly has been. All our writers and editors are motivated by love of the pope and love for the Catholic Church. I am grateful to each of them. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to every single contributor to this site. It would have been impossible to do this without you.
On that note, I would like to share a piece from each of our 2019 contributors that really captures the spirit of what we’re trying to accomplish with WPI. These were my selections, and for some contributors there were many to choose from. In those cases, I tried to pick something that many of our readers may not have noticed before.
Dan Amiri – Grief and Miscarriage
John Cavanaugh O’Keefe – Water in Togo: 500 Years Late
Joe Dantona – The Motherhood of God
Rachel Dobbs – The Ship of Peter
Claire Domingues – Tagle: A missionary from and to the peripheries
Robert Fastiggi – Pope Francis and Mary Co-Redemptrix
Paul Fahey – What did Pope Francis say about rigid priests?
Pedro Gabriel – Following Christ, but not His Vicar
Mark Hausam – How the Infallibility of the Church Works
Brian Killian – The Harmony of Amoris Laetitia and Veritatis Splendor
DW Lafferty – The Pope-less Church of Tradition
Mike Lewis – Followers of the Imagisterium
Daniele Palmer – Is It Time for US Bishops to Push Back Against TFP?
Adam Rasmussen – Pope Francis and Grand Imam sign joint statement on Human Fraternity
Nate Tinner-Williams – Catholicism at the Intersection of Blackness and Self-Discovery
Nathan Turowsky – Loneliness Today, Part II: Youth Un(der)employment
Toni Vercillo – Who Art Thou, O Immaculata?
Stephen Walford: A Warning from History: St Paul VI, the Magisterium, and Theology
David Wanat: How the pope’s critics sound like Luther
On behalf of all the contributors for WPI, I wish you all a Happy and Blessed New Year!
Please keep us in your prayers, as you will be in ours.
And God bless Pope Francis!
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Mike Lewis is the founding managing editor of Where Peter Is. He and Jeannie Gaffigan co-host Field Hospital, a U.S. Catholic podcast.