Why we’ve decided to close comments

Moderating comments is a time-consuming daily task (PA)

When we first launched the Catholic Herald website in 1999, it looked a little different to today. It consisted of a photo of our front page on a garish orange background, with links to a handful of features.

The site was something of an afterthought following our “real work”: the weekly broadsheet Catholic Herald newspaper.

Nowadays, is no longer a mere shop window for our print edition. Today the site is at the heart of our mission. To serve our readers best we provide coverage of Catholic news as it happens. Readers looking for reliable, incisive analysis of Church affairs no longer have to wait.

Our online readership has grown much larger than we would have imagined. Last month we now have more than a million readers a month.

One thing, however, has remained consistent: we are a small team. Our three full-time editorial staff (including me) work round the clock with a little army of part-timers to produce an up-to-the-minute news site and a weekly magazine (we made the change in 2014, after 127 years as a broadsheet).

Inevitably, time is scarce. And that is why we’ve decided to close comments on our articles (in common with many other Catholic websites).

The decision has been a difficult one. Readers have, over the years, offered insightful, funny and heartfelt responses to our articles. But moderating comments is a time-consuming daily task. We believe that time could be better spent on offering readers more news and analysis.

This does not mean the end of dialogue with our readers. We know that this bond is vital. When major issues arise we will post items that allow for comments. Meanwhile, our Facebook page is always open for discussions.

Thank you for all your comments over the past few years. It is our ambition that, in the years ahead, our expanded news and analysis will give you greater insight into what’s really happening in the Catholic Church.

We hope that you will continue to enjoy the Catholic Herald – online, via our app and in print.