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It’s Time to Pass the Torch

For the past couple of years, many readers and friends have expressed their concern, telling me, “You need to take a long break from all of this.” And by “all of this,” they meant covering the crisis in the Church. It was hurting me, and they could see it.

My response was always, “I know. I’m working on it, but I’m just not there yet.”

Today, I’m finally there.

Over the past seven years since I founded 1P5 with the idea of tackling the crisis in the Church head on by equipping Catholics with the requisite knowledge to weather the storm, it has been the dominant focus in my life. While it’s true that I’ve put countless hours of work in, writing nearly 1200 articles and producing nearly 80 podcasts and other videos, along with managing the excellent content from our many talented contributors, my family are the unsung heroes of this enterprise. They have sacrificed a great deal so I could do this. They weathered the lean times when I wasn’t making any money and we almost lost everything. So often when they needed my time, I was here at my desk working. There seemed to always be a breaking story or a technical issue or some new emerging crisis to tackle. My habits changed. I stop giving baths to my little ones and reading them bedtime stories. I showed up late for countless dinners. Sometimes I’d hit my office at 7AM and emerge 12 hours later, only to keep checking my phone on developments concerning things we’d published. I’ve never been great at striking a balance.

The events of the past year have shown me that my priorities needed to be adjusted. Among other things, the unexpected conception and birth of our eighth child, nearly six years after our last one, drove this home. It’s impossible to hold my newborn son and not see it: my family needs to come first again. My relationships with my wife and children, which have been too long neglected, will come first again. My spiritual wounds, too, need attention: time to heal, away from the ugliness of the infiltration in the Church that seem to always re-open or deepen them.  I realized upon the release of Traditionis Custodes that despite my deep frustration and resentment over much that has transpired, the emotional investment I have in these topics still runs deep, and it comes at a steep cost.

I’ve written here and elsewhere about the way the crisis in the Church has had an impact on my faith, and how I am spending a lot of my time wrestling with questions about things I once took for granted. It’s a deeply personal struggle, and one I didn’t ask for, but we don’t always have a say in such things. Regardless of how or why, it has diminished my effectiveness as someone whose job it is to operate and write for a publication like this. The longer I keep going, the more lasting damage it does. My role demands a level of passion and confidence I can no longer deliver, so it’s time to pass the torch.

As 1P5 begins its 8th year online on August 1st, it will continue under new management. I am handing over the reins to the good folks at Crisis Publications, under the leadership of my friend and colleague, Eric Sammons. Truth be told, when I saw that Eric was hired as Editor-in-Chief of Crisis Publications’ flagship magazine Crisis Magazine earlier this year, I was happy for him, but personally disappointed. First, because I knew Eric would probably no longer have time to write for 1P5, which he has done almost since the beginning—and he’s one of our best. Second, because I knew that Eric is the one guy I would choose to trust with the future of 1P5, and it seemed that was now off the table. Of everyone I’ve worked with over the years, I think he understands best my desire to strike a balance between an honest critique of the modern Church, a strong defense of tradition, and the need to welcome and educate—not alienate—those who have become attracted to traditional Catholicism during this pontificate. That was always what I hoped that 1P5 could be—a bridge between average Catholics doing their best and the beauty of the ancient, perennial faith that they had yet to discover. So when Eric became Executive Director of Crisis Publications and approached me about a possible acquisition earlier this year, I knew that the time had come, that the fit was right, and that I would be leaving the publication in good hands.

I’m not going to pretend this transition is easy. But I’m a writer. It’s what I’ve always been, and I won’t stop now just because this chapter in my life is ending. I will continue writing at my Substack, The Skojec File, even after my work here comes to an end, and probably make some cameos at various publications (including this one) as time permits. I have plans to start a new podcast soon as well, once the transitions I’m making this summer are squared away. For those of you who would like to join me for the journey, I’d love to have you. I’ll be writing more broadly, as I explore big questions and interesting themes not necessarily just within the politics of the Church, but in human nature and culture and existence itself. So far, it’s proven to be a more unfiltered approach to the topics I’m most interested in, and it’s made me enjoy writing again.

I can’t thank you all enough for making 1P5 such a huge success. My special thanks go to all of our financial supporters over the years, who taught me that it was actually possible to support a large family doing work I cared deeply about. It is my hope that in some way, what I’ve done here has enriched your lives. The fight for the restoration of the Catholic Church is clearly not over, so I hope, too, that you’ll continue to support 1P5 as it begins this new chapter.

Although I’ll be sticking around for a while to help Crisis Publications manage the transition, it’ll mostly be behind the scenes. If you want to reach me going forward, you can do so through the contact form on my personal website.

As always, thank you for reading, thank you for your support, and may God bless you all abundantly!


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