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Convivium was a project of Cardus 2011‑2022, and is preserved here for archival purposes.
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The Mission ContinuesThe Mission Continues

The Mission Continues

Convivium publisher, Ray Pennings, writes the last Convivium column as a tribute to this unique platform, expressing the gratitude we feel for all of you who have breathed life into it for over a decade.

Ray Pennings
4 minute read

Whenever we need to make statements of conclusion, we’re tempted to say, “mission accomplished.” We’ve done what we have set out to do, so the job is finished.

As publisher of Convivium, I need to let you know that this will be the last Convivium column. Cardus, the think-tank that powers Convivium, will be discontinuing this platform. While this will be a disappointment to some, this isn’t the end. The mission and the work of Convivium will continue in other forms.

Cardus launched Convivium in 2011 with Father Raymond De Souza as editor and long-time journalist Peter Stockland as publisher. For the better part of a decade, this duo provided needed commentary and context for “faith in public life,” which was Convivium’s tagline. Their excellent work gave meaning to that tagline in two distinct ways. It highlighted “faith” as a noun—Convivium’s subject matter; we wanted to fill the media vacuum for stories of faith and faith institutions. It also highlighted “faith” as a verb, which results in action and becomes our shared life together. This involves Canadians who identify with a faith tradition living alongside those who don’t, examining and discussing the core principles and institutions that form the building blocks of society.

Convivium started as a print magazine. Since 2016, it evolved with changing technologies and reading habits to become a digital publication. We look back through all that time with pride. During Convivium’s sojourn, it has published signature interviews with Canadians of distinction. It produced ground-breaking stories other media ignored (and sometimes followed later). And it built a voice that was distinctive in the Canadian media landscape. Our mix of long-form journalism, interviews, reporting, and opinion writing (not to mention features about faith institutions in the public square) all had their place and served various audiences well. We told stories of the highs and lows of faith institutions as they made their contributions to Canadian society. We highlighted the challenges they faced.

It would be impossible to list everythingConvivium covered and achieved whether in print or online. But some specific highlights come to mind:

  • Convivium convened Mark Carney, then governor of the Bank of Canada, and Roger Martin, dean of the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, at the Toronto Board of Trade to discuss economic realities almost five years after the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Convivium broke the story about Universities Canada working behind closed doors to exclude faith-based institutions from membership.
  • Long-time journalist Rex Murphy contributed an entertaining romp of an essay about the troubling cultural trends on Canadian university campuses.
  • The magazine carried unparalleled coverage of the trials and tribulations of Trinity Western University's campaign to start a law school.
  • Father Raymond De Souza was at his pastoral best following a horrific bus crash in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.
  • Peter Stockland offered unique, long-form reporting on the state of palliative care in Canada in the wake of the legalization of medical assistance in dying.
  • Convivium dove into the issue of Indigenous reconciliation, fearlessly highlighting a range of views on the spiritual dimensions of the issue.

And this list only scratches the surface of the work Convivium produced. I'm proud of that record, just as Father De Souza and Peter Stockland have every right to be.

When Peter Stockland indicated in 2021 that he would be moving on to become the publisher of the Catholic Register, Cardus reevaluated where Convivium fit within the range of our activities as a think-tank. We concluded that much of what Convivium accomplished could continue under other platforms where Cardus had made an investment. Our research reports often match the investigative long-form journalism of Convivium. We continue to provide perspectives on current affairs through op-ed articles published in various media outlets. Our events and webinars bring together faces and places from around the globe in new and innovative ways. And we continue publishing our thought journal, Comment, which is now at a stage of needing significant new investment.

I want to thank especially Father De Souza and Peter Stockland (both of whom continue as Cardus Senior Fellows) as well as the regular group of contributors who have made this venture possible. Of course, I thank each of you, our readers, for making Convivium’s decade-long run possible. The fruits of your commitment will remain online as an archive of what we have achieved together. We’re confident the long tail of the arguments made will continue to have positive impact. So, while we’re sad about discontinuing Convivium, we’re also excited about the opportunities that lie ahead in the various other platforms Cardus is cultivating.

The Psalmist talks about plants rising up and living for a time, respectful of and responsive to the seasons. Convivium sprouted, thrived, and finally flourished in the decade just concluded. We trust God to continue to bless these efforts, also through the seeds it has planted, into the future.

So, no, this is not “mission accomplished.” Rather, the mission continues through Cardus alongside other organizations as we continue to tell the stories of faith and ensure that Canadians still learn about stories of significance, albeit through different platforms.

Thank you for walking with us in this journey. Please do continue to do so by signing up for our other platforms through the links below.

Sincerely,

Ray Pennings

Cardus Co-Founder/ Executive Vice-President

Cardus Weekly (A weekly update on all things Cardus)

Cardus Monthly (A monthly round-up of all things Cardus)

Cardus Insights (A Saturday morning newsletter with reflections from Ray Pennings on the week that was in faith, business, and public life)

Comment Magazine (Public theology for the common good)

Comment Weekly (Receive fresh, thought-provoking articles once a week right in your inbox)


Convivium publishes texts that do not necessarily reflect the views held by Cardus, the Convivium team, or its editors. In the spirit of discussion, dialogue, and debate, we ask readers to bear in mind that publication does not equal endorsement. Thanks for reading. Join the conversation!

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