Two years ago I approached OnePeterFive founding publisher Steve Skojec about Crisis Publications taking over the site. Steve, whom I consider a friend, had been publicly expressing his doubts about Catholicism in general and his anger with traditional Catholicism in particular, and so I felt it would be good both for OnePeterFive and for Steve if someone else took over operation of the site.
I was under no obligation to approach Steve, of course. But if I had not, and no one else stepped up, I think it likely that OnePeterFive would have soon ended operations. Readership was already significantly dropping, likely due to Steve’s public questioning of his faith, and, sadly, in the time since OnePeterFive changed owners, Steve has definitively left Catholicism. With this on the horizon he could not have continued running OnePeterFive for long. (No matter your opinion on Steve, one thing he can never be accused of is being disingenuous—you always know where Steve is coming from.)
I believed, however, that OnePeterFive had a worthwhile mission and I didn’t want to see it go away. This site’s tagline from the beginning has been “Rebuilding Catholic Culture. Restoring Catholic Tradition.” Aren’t those two things still needed? Right now too many high-ranking members of the Church are tearing down Catholic culture and destroying Catholic tradition; surely it’s important to form an organized resistance to that effort, and OnePeterFive has been on the vanguard of that resistance since the site’s inception.
I still believed in the original vision Steve had for OnePeterFive and wanted to see it continue. But that didn’t mean I wanted OnePeterFive to simply copy how Steve ran OnePeterFive during his time here. Most readers have probably noticed a difference in the site since Timothy Flanders took over as Editor-in-Chief of OnePeterFive back in August 2021.
Any magazine will naturally take on the personality of its editor, and OnePeterFive is no exception. While Tim shares Steve’s original vision for OnePeterFive to rebuild Catholic culture and restore Catholic tradition, he has a different personality than Steve and a different way of looking at the traditional Catholic movement. So the way he runs OnePeterFive differs from the way Steve did.
I think that’s a good thing. As one of Steve’s earliest writers (I started writing for OnePeterFive just three months after its August 2014 launch), I enthusiastically supported the mission of OnePeterFive under his editorship. I wrote almost 100 articles for OnePeterFive while Steve was at the helm! However, OnePeterFive did have a tendency to focus more on how Catholic culture was being torn down and Catholic tradition was being destroyed than explaining how these things can be rebuilt and restored.
Don’t get me wrong: traditional Catholics need to understand who our enemies are and what they are doing. But we also need to understand what Catholic culture and tradition really are—what are we trying to rebuild and restore? And that’s the shift in OnePeterFive since Timothy Flanders began as its chief editor. While we still will report on the troubles in the Church today, OnePeterFive focuses more now on highlighting how traditionalists can live as traditional Catholics and how we can spread the truth, beauty, and goodness of traditional Catholicism to others.
For example, since Tim took over we’ve established three lay sodalities to encourage a life of traditional piety in our readers. They include The Crusade of Eucharistic Reparation, The Fellowship of St. Nicholas, and The Icon of the Theotokos of Fatima project. We’ve also promoted the “Trad godfathers” (like Garrigou-Lagrange, The Coetus, Lefebvre, Dr. Plinio, and Hildebrand) to show how our forefathers in the Faith approached matters of Catholic doctrine, tradition, and piety. We’ve even challenged some trad assumptions, looking further back than Vatican II to discover the roots of our current crisis.
Now, a marketing expert might tell us we’re going in the wrong direction; after all, scandal sells. And it’s true that our most popular articles are typically pieces on what’s wrong with the Church today. But I’m happy to report that readership at OnePeterFive has increased since Tim took over compared to the final year under Steve. Yet we’ve not reached the peaks that OnePeterFive saw during 2018 and the height of the McCarrick scandal. Scandal does sell.
However, I’m fine with being less about the scandal-of-the-day here at OnePeterFive. Most Catholics know that the Church is in a deep and unique crisis today; we don’t need to remind you of that day-in and day-out. If you still think everything is awesome in Catholicism right now, you probably aren’t going to be reading OnePeterFive anyway. In our Traditionis Custodes era, it’s less about complaining about what’s wrong with the Church and more about what can we do to fix it. And that’s where OnePeterFive shines.
If you’ve read this far, hopefully you also believe in this important mission. I ask for your prayers for this apostolate, and I ask that you share our content to fellow Catholics. OnePeterFive just ended our Spring fundraiser and we didn’t raise as much as we hoped, so I also ask that you consider supporting us financially if you are able.
May God bless all our efforts to rebuild Catholic culture and restore Catholic tradition!
Eric Sammons is the Executive Director of Crisis Publications.