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Last week I described our plan of selling Prime subscription credits. The full post is here. But the gist is this: We've built Prime as a premium version of TPM designed for our core readers. It allows us to create and fund things that aren't possible in the ad-supported part of the site. And it's also a critical revenue driver that keeps TPM stable, strong and thriving. (The fee is $50 a year or 14 cents a day.)
But not every reader can afford it. So we came up with a plan fits with our financial needs and also our values as a publication: a twist on the standard holiday season concept of getting people to purchase gift subscriptions. Instead of buying a subscription for your spouse or your niece or your uncle, buy one for someone you don't know and won't ever know. We'll take that credit - good for a full year's subscription just like the one you'd purchase for yourself - and assign it to another reader for whom the subscription fee would be a financial hardship.
(Of course, you may get to know the person as a fellow reader in The Hive, for instance. But the transaction itself remains anonymous to both parties.)
This is a quick description and it's sort of an outside the box concept. So if you're scratching your head trying to make sense of this, I really encourage you to read this fuller description here. You can buy one credit or two or however many you want and you can be certain that it's going to a fellow reader who would otherwise be excluded and helping support TPM and enabling us to do what we already do better.
Kudos, Josh Marshall, for an insightful essay today. Although you are not Catholic, you perfectly expressed what many of us are feeling: simple wonder and amazement about Pope Francis and his direct expression of Gospel values.
I'm from the demographic that the Pope's survey is talking about: a same-sex married person who is raising my adopted children as practicing Catholics. The little parish that we belong to is an oasis and an anomaly: we have been enthusiastically welcomed and supported, sacramentally and socially, with no questions asked. In return, we hold nothing back ... we actively volunteer, give financial support, participate in hours of religious ed and social justice committee meetings, and go to Mass with enthusiasm.
I am not religious, and in fact consider myself to be an atheist. But, I was raised Catholic - baptized, first communion, and confirmation and attending mass every Sunday was a responsibility, not an option. Even went to a Catholic high school. So, I have a pretty good understanding of the values of the church overall as well as the specific teachings.
For those of you following our discussion of Pope Francis's decision to remove arch-conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke from a key Vatican council charged with vetting would-be bishops for the Pope to appoint, check out this article. It's from the National Catholic Reporter and gives a feel for the backdrop to this move. The general thrust is the depth of entrenched institutional opposition to the Pope's proposed reforms of the Curia and particularly how vocal Burke himself has been in second-guessing the direction Francis is taking the Church.
I am a progressive, non-traditionalist Catholic, which makes me a little unusual because most of the people like me have left the Church deliberately or have drifted away. Francis was not first on my list of picks for Pope (like I get a vote or something!), but he was among the top few. The reason has nothing to do with the label "progressive" or "traditional" because I didn't know anything about his real positions. He looked to be a bit conservative for my tastes, but they all are in the wake of John Paul II and Benedict.
As an avid and long-time reader of TPM, I must commend you on your focus on the Catholic Church and Pope Francis. My reaction to your post has little to do with theology or catechism. I am reluctant to place too much emphasis on the supposed politics of Pope Francis’ move with respect to Cardinal Burke as it relates (or does not relate) to American politics. This is not really a victory for progressives versus conservatives. It is just great news for the Church.
Today is your last chance to submit your nominations for the 2013 Golden Duke Awards. So fer God's sake, don't miss your chance to be part of what is definitely the best annual awards program for conspicuous achievement in scandal and, admittedly, quite possibly the only one. For this year's category and instructions on how to submit your nomination for the 7th annual Golden Dukes, click here.
Special Sponsor Alert!: This year's Golden Dukes is sponsored by Media Matters and its annual Misinformer of the Year Award which will be announced on December 27th.