About this collection

Welcome to the Catholic News Archive! Our site has thousands of newspaper pages, from different cities, over multiple years and the collection is growing! You can search across the entire collection, a specific city or national paper, or even a select period of time with our powerful search, browse, and download capabilities. The Archive is crucial for scholars examining social, economic, or religious history in the United States. This fully searchable text helps anyone see data of interest, and to see it in the context of the newspapers' editorials, pictures, and advertisements.

The Archive is a project of the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA), a non-profit alliance of archives and libraries collaborating in support of the mission to provide enduring global access to Catholic research resources. The Archive is a critical component of the CRRA's Catholic Newspapers Program. Our ambitious goal is to provide access to all extant Catholic newspapers.

The CRRA is supported by member and partner contributions and by a generous grant from the Catholic Communications Campaign, of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The platform is provided to you by Veridian™ digital library preservation system. For more information about this system please contact us at www.veridiansoftware.com.


We are building a Catholic newspaper experience that is ...

  • Fully Searchable – With rich article level access in most publications
  • Free to Audiences – Like students, scholars, archives and the public
  • Enduring – High standards of digitization and a sustainable archival model
  • Curated – Tag your discoveries, helping highlight great content

To learn more, please contact any of us!

Jennifer Younger, CRRA Executive Director - jyounger@catholicresearch.org
Patricia Lawton, CRRA Digital Initiatives Manager - plawton@catholicresearch.org
Todd Jensen, CRRA Digitization Manager - tjensen@catholicresearch.org


The Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA) initiated the Catholic Newspapers Program in 2011. The goal of the program is to provide access to extant Catholic newspapers published in North America. An important part of this program is the implementation of a shared repository which is why this site and collection was created (thank you for using it!). Another part of the program is to provide a current listing of all digitized or born-digital Catholic Newspapers. Please follow this link to explore even more historical Catholic newspapers. Catholic Newspapers Online


Historic Catholic newspapers are an important resource for scholars and researchers. The Catholic Research Resources Alliance is founded and funded by an impressive list of Universities, colleges, seminaries, diocesan archives, and religious order archives (follow this link for a full list of member institutions).

University level uses are not the only extent of use for education. It is our passionate conviction that these historic newspapers can provide motivation for reading and discussion. They are vast, diverse and primary source documents that can:

  1. Connect students to recent history.
  2. Make learning fun!
  3. Offer flexibility and adaptability to all curriculum areas and grade levels.
  4. Bridge the gap between the classroom and the “real’ world.
  5. Give everyone something that’s interesting for them to read (news, sports, weather, editorials, and comics).
  6. Design lessons with relevant interactive digital activities to engage learners while creating historical awareness.
  7. Foster and facilitate independent learners using free and open source electronic resources to strengthen Catholic identity.


Introduction: The Catholic News Service has a rich history of journalistic professionalism and is a leader in the world of Catholic and religious media. With headquarters in Washington, offices in New York and Rome, and correspondents around the world, CNS provides the most comprehensive coverage of the church today.

History: The United States bishops founded CNS in 1920, and it was clear from the start that they wanted it to be an authentic news agency. The founding director was Justin McGrath, a veteran journalist and managing editor of the San Francisco Examiner who also had worked at The New York Times and other dailies and was Washington bureau chief of the Hearst papers. McGrath brought in a team of editors and reporters from leading U.S. dailies to cover the turbulent news of the 1920s, such as the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan, the candidacy of Al Smith as the first major-party Catholic nominee for president, the story of communist persecution in Russia, the civil strife over British rule in Northern Ireland and the work of the American church in helping Europe recover from the ravages of World War I.

Bishop Philip R. McDevitt of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, chairman of the bishops' press department, summarized the news service's philosophy in 1927. He said its main purpose was to provide Catholic newspaper editors with "full and accurate reports of happenings of interest to Catholics." He also said that because Catholics had freedom of opinion on "many subjects outside of the specific and definite teachings of the church," the news service should be providing subscribers with factual information to help them "deal intelligently with questions which are open."

Meeting the needs of Catholic newspaper and magazine editors – the main subscribers to CNS – has been the chief goal of the news service, both then and now. In those early days, the news service was called "a godsend to the Catholic press" by the president of the Catholic Press Association of the U.S. and Canada, itself a fledgling organization in the 1920s. That strong partnership between CNS and the Catholic Press Association continues today.

A great asset of CNS is its Rome bureau, which provides what many regard today as the most complete Vatican coverage available from any news operation in the world. At the outset of World War II, much of the European Catholic press had "been largely silenced or muffled" by Hitler's onslaught, according to one report. After Italy and Germany declared war on the United States in 1941, the news service was the only American news agency with a correspondent working in Rome -- an American priest who also served in a Vatican post.

In the years leading up to and during the Second Vatican Council, CNS was the leading English-language news service providing daily coverage of the council deliberations and subsequent documents. Its Council Daybook remains today one of the most valuable historical chronicles of that historic three-year event.

Through the years the news service's expertise has also led it to develop other breakthrough products, such as Origins, the CNS documentary service that since 1971 has been chronicling the history of the church through full texts of speeches, encyclicals and other documents. And in the digital age, CNS is showing a new audience the accuracy that has always been its hallmark with its video journalism and documentary production.

By Katherine Nuss,
Information and Archive Services
Manager - USCCB Communications