In recent days, residents of at least four U.S. states have received newspapers in the mail bearing variations of the name Catholic Tribune and featuring mostly pro-Republican articles along with quotes from U.S. bishops, among other Catholic-oriented content.
“[Democratic Sen. Mark] Kelly Co-Sponsored Bill Bishops Call ‘Most Unjust and Extreme…Ever Seen’” reads one recent headline from the Arizona Catholic Tribune.
Their names and Catholic-focused content suggest the papers are locally published — and possibly affiliated with the Catholic Church. But that’s not the case, and bishops in Arizona, Iowa, and Michigan have come out with statements in recent days denying any connection to the publications.
In addition to Arizona and Michigan, the papers have also shown up recently in mailboxes in Iowa and Pennsylvania. A similar newspaper was mailed to residents of Wisconsin in 2020 just two weeks before the presidential election. Catholic Tribune sites for Minnesota and Florida both exist online, too, although it’s not yet clear if physical newspapers have been mailed in those states.
Bishops in several states have stressed that the papers are not affiliated with the Church and have reiterated that Catholics should vote based on their own well-formed consciences, and not necessarily for or against any particular person or political party.
The Diocese of Phoenix said in a Nov. 1 statement that it is “in no way affiliated with or supportive of the ‘Arizona Catholic Tribune’ publication that many have received in the mail or may have seen online in recent days.”
The statement continued: “Catholic organizations and ministries in the Diocese of Phoenix do not engage in partisan politics and do not endorse candidates or parties during any election. The Diocese of Phoenix does encourage voters to prayerfully inform themselves about the issues on the ballot this November, form their consciences well, and vote accordingly.”
In Michigan, the Diocese of Grand Rapids said it had been notified that the Michigan Catholic Tribune, “a newspaper purporting itself to be Catholic,” is being mailed to parishioners within the diocese and that the paper made use of a quote from Bishop David Walkowiak.
“This publication and its accompanying website are not endorsed by nor are they affiliated with the Diocese of Grand Rapids or the Catholic Church,” a statement from the diocese reads.
Read on to learn who is behind the papers.