A Question of Survival
The lockdown and restrictions placed on societies in efforts to arrest the spread of the Covid-19 virus will cause great economic hardships on many people.
For many — companies, small businesses and individuals — these measures, necessary though they are, will be ruinous.
Our parishes are going to suffer as well because they will have to do without the proceeds from Mass collections. These usually form part of the parish’s budget, along with the Planned Giving — which in many churches is handed to the parish during collections at Mass.
The People of God, the parishioners, must now step up to help their parish to pay its monthly bills.
The suspension of Masses will also have a potentially devastating effect on your national Catholic weekly.
Sales at Sunday Mass are the main source of The Southern Cross’ income from circulation. As it is, that revenue barely covers printing, distribution and overheads. Without it, and even with the temporary suspension of printing, we will struggle to meet the costs of keeping The Southern Cross afloat.
We will have to dig into our already depleted reserves just to tide us over the coronavirus crisis.
We have asked parishes to reach out to The Southern Cross readers in their communities, to ensure that they will somehow have access to their weekly Catholic newspaper at this time. To those who have done so, we are grateful.
The suspension of public Masses presents The Southern Cross with another crisis.
Our mandate is to bring Catholic reading material to the faithful. Even and especially at a time when Catholics have more access to Catholic writings — some good, some bad—than ever before, there is a need for Catholic newspapers which curate reliable Catholic news and originate informative and edifying news and views.
This social communications apostolate is compromised when our primary outlets by which the newspaper gets into the homes of Catholics are closed.
But we will not let this virus silence us. In its almost 100 years of existence, The Southern Cross has been published every week without fail — through the Great Depression, World War II, the upheaval of apartheid and the disruptions of loadshedding. We will go on until God decides otherwise.
We know that many of our readers will grieve the absence of their weekly Southern Cross.
So we have taken the radical decision to give away The Southern Cross in its digital version entirely for free, for the duration of the Mass suspensions.
Since we will not charge the cover price or any fee for these free editions, we ask those who read it online, or download it as PDF files for consumption on mobile devices, to support us by voluntrary donations.
This can be done via the various payment options on our website.
We leave it up to the individual to decide by how much they would like to support The Southern Cross. We are aware that some people will not give anything — by choice or because the available methods of donating are unsuitable. That is the nature of the Internet.
At the same time, we hope that there will be many who love what they are reading so much that they will make offerings to compensate for those who don’t.
Of course, there is also the option to join our Associates Campaign.
But this initiative is not all about raising funds to ensure our survival in this 100th year of existence. It is also an expression of the responsibility we have towards our loyal readers.
And we hope that our offer to the whole Catholic community will attract people who have never read The Southern Cross. We hope that they come to love it as much as so many other Catholics do.
And then, we hope, they will subscribe to the newspaper, or ask their parish to stock it for them in better times.
When The Southern Cross was founded almost 100 years ago — also at a time of a global pandemic — its slogan was “A Catholic newspaper in every Catholic home”. The Covid-19 crisis is providing a digital opportunity to make that slogan a reality.