TORONTO – Going into its 21st year as Canada's right-leaning, conservative journal of ideas, Catholic Insight is writing a new chapter in its history. But the man writing that chapter promises it will be just like the first chapter.
Biologist, academic and pro-life crusader David Beresford has taken over from Father Alphonse de Valk as editor of the Toronto-based monthly magazine. The founding editor, de Valk, 80, retired last month.
On the job since Aug. 15, Beresford landed the position by promising to do the conservative thing and keep everything the same.
"I happen to be a big fan of Catholic Insight and said I didn't think it needed to be changed," Beresford said in an interview.
Beresford will seek to modernize software and internal processes, but the final product will continue to look not much different from the first issue back in January 1993. With a subscription base of just under 3,000, the big challenge will be to grow circulation.
Beresford's experience in publishing includes a position as contributing editor to Gilbert Magazine, the publication of the American Chesterton Society. He also once published his own newsletter expounding distributism – a turn-of-the-20th-century Catholic response to Marxism that arose among English intellectuals.
The 50-year-old father of seven lives with his family on a farm in Dummer Township, Ont. and teaches science at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, a non-accredited Catholic liberal arts school in Barry's Bay, Ont.
With a PhD in evolutionary biology, Beresford said his passion for Catholic ideas is rooted in his scientific training.
The mission of Catholic Insight is to encourage Catholics to engage with the world, Beresford said.
"Every generation of Catholics gets the opportunity to be apostolic," he said. "The previous generation doesn't hand us the job half-done or even finished. We get to start at ground zero again, to do it in the same way as the apostles."
Where many Catholics seem to be overwhelmed by negatives in media, Catholic Insight is trying to point out the positives, he said.
"I want to encourage Catholics. The world is not as bad as the media portrays it. There's a lot of really good, hardworking things happening in the Church," Beresford said.