Catholic media empire acquires National Catholic Register

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) EWTN Global Catholic Network, the Alabama-based international media enterprise founded by Mother Angelica in 1981, has signed a letter of intent to acquire the National Catholic Register newspaper.

"I am very pleased and excited that the Register will now be a part of the EWTN family," said Michael P. Warsaw, the Network's president and chief executive officer.

Warsaw said EWTN will provide "the stability that the Register needs at this time" and "give it a platform for its growth in the years ahead" after being run by the scandal-scarred Legionaries of Christ.

Under the terms of the transaction, no cash will be exchanged between the parties. EWTN will take over the ongoing operational expenses of the Register and will assume the paper's future subscription liabilities.

EWTN will take full control of the newspaper on Feb. 1, according to a story on the newspaper's website. The story quoted a newspaper official saying that "Due in part to the fallout from revelations regarding the congregation's founder, the Legion of Christ did not have the resources to bring the previous turnaround efforts to fruition."

Last year, the Vatican denounced Legion founder Marcial Maciel Degollado, who died in 2008, as "immoral" after allegations that he molested as many as 20 teen recruits and was supporting a secret mistress and children with ministry funds. The Legion of Christ took over the newspaper in 1995.

The acquisition of the Register is the latest in EWTN's efforts to expand its news presence in the global Catholic digital and multimedia market. In 2010, EWTN entered into a partnership with the Catholic News Agency, a Denver-based independent Catholic news media outlet with bureaus in North and South America and Europe.

EWTN Global Catholic Network, which operates in 140 countries, transmits nine separate television channels in several languages. It also operates multiple radio services including a network of hundreds of AM and FM stations, a Sirius satellite radio channel, and a global shortwave radio service. The National Catholic Register grew out of Denver's Catholic Register, which began on Aug. 11, 1905, with the first national edition appearing in 1927.

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