Are you are a Catholic news junkie? Check out the most popular Catholic news apps. They are popular for two reasons: either they are top primary news OUTLETS or content-rich news AGGREGATES. Do you prefer to have timely, up-to-the-minute original source material for your news? Look to news outlets which collect and distribute news with their own reporters, photographers and videographers. Do you want to skim just the top headlines from around the world, the Vatican and/or the United States? You need a news aggregate. If you’re a hard-core Catholic news junkie you may want to select apps from each category.
Catholic News Service (Free) iOS, Android, Kindle. Billing itself as the “top Catholic news outlet in the world,” Catholic News Service offers a mobile app to keep you even more connected with what’s happening in the Universal Church along with cultural issues which affect Catholics. Like its web site, this is a simple news feed app which also provides video reports and news photos covering “fully, fairly and freely […] the involvement of the Church in the world today,” as the service describes its mission. CNS is a respected news source operating under the auspices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for almost 100 years. While its web site is content-rich, its app is not; only four stories were posted on the day we reviewed it. The CNS app offers links to its Facebook and Twitter feeds, conveniently packaging its digital content in this single app. As much as the mobile app is sparse in content, the CNS Twitter feed will positively overrun your Twitter scroll, as most news outlets are prone to do.
Catholic News Agency (Free) iOS, Android. Established in 2004, CNA is one of the fastest-growing Catholic news providers to the English-speaking world, according to developers. The mobile app gives you access to not only its news texts but also to video reports and news photos. This app delivers lots of daily content, and it segments that content into four categories: World, USA, Vatican and Americas. For major events like a papal trip, CNA will segment those news stories in a separate category. In addition to news, CNA provides daily Mass readings and Saint of the Day. This gives the app a smigit more value. Like Catholic News Service, Catholic News Agency covers the Church with its own reporters stationed around the world. With its Facebook and Twitter links included, the app operates as a single portal for CNA’s digital output. News outlets tend to overtake your Twitter feed; this one is no exception.
News.va -The Vatican’s official news agency. This isn’t an app, but the web site is mobile friendly and links you to all the Vatican’s news outlets including Vatican Radio, the Vatican Press Office, CTV and L’Osservatore Romano. We threw this non-app in here because it’s, well…the official Vatican network.
Catholic News Live ($.99) iOS and Android. Read through all the latest Catholic news and opinion from around the world through this news aggregate. You can view the news in a list or on a map, and share stories with your friends through Facebook, Twitter, and other services. You can even send stories to Instapaper or Read It Later if you’d like! CNL culls news from hundreds of different Catholic websites on your mobile device, and lets you view and share news and blog posts directly from the source. The news feed includes some of the more popular Catholic blogs. Content is biased towards Catholic orthodoxy in adherence to the teaching Magisterium of the Church in unity with the US Catholic bishops and the Pope.
Catholic News Feed (1.99) iOS only. This is a terrific one-stop-shop for all your PRINT Catholic news because it bundles a wide selection of Catholic news sources (text only) all at your fingertips: Catholic News Live; EWTN News; National Catholic Reporter; Catholic World News; National Right to Life News; Catholic News Agency and its segmented news outlets covering Catholic News USA, Vatican Daily News among others. This app is strictly utilitarian in interface–no trendy logos or elegant navigation features. We cannot quite get that last field on the main menu to be operable for selection on iPhone 5. It is regrettable that the links to CNA’s stories take you to the full web site and not CNA’s mobile version. Other than those operational glitches, the app overwhelms you with news and commentary from sources leaning on both sides of the orthodox spectrum, left and right. Anytime you see EWTN News and National Catholic Reporter together in a mix, you know you’re getting a spectrum of thought in gathering news and commentating upon it. Granted, most of those news sources can be accessed FREE on the internet. The two bucks you plunk down for this app pays for the convenience of having those sources bundled together within a single app icon on your mobile device.
EWTN News (Free) iOS, Android, Kindle Fire We are familiar with EWTN’s live (and on demand) radio and television broadcasts which include its news product. But the EWTN news division also includes in this app news in text format (primarily from its affiliation with Catholic News Agency) segmented into US Catholic News, Vatican News, World Catholic News and Catholic News in the Americas.
Pewsitter (Free) iOS and Android— this is an app portal to the popular Catholic news website that relies upon user generated content and traditional media sources, both Catholic and secular. The site features audio, video and print news items. Based on the ground-breaking Drudge Report format, it offers an aggregate of up-to-date news, sometimes within minutes of it occurring anywhere in the world. This is a preferred news app for the person who only wants a quick look at the most important stories from around the world and at home. That’s because it sorts news from a variety of sources (Catholic and secular) and only offers stories of greatest interest to most Catholics. From Developer: “Pewsitter is the largest Catholic news site on the web. We are a world wide news portal for information about the Catholic Church, religion in general, and about the culture wars of the day. Updated several times daily, we sort more than 2000 stories per day and publish only the most relevant and up to date articles on the site. The Pewsitter app provides convenient access to the stories on Pewsitter in a format optimized for your phone or other mobile device.”
However (and this is a big “however”), not everyone in Catholic-world is impressed with Pewsitter’s particular take on news as it does lean caustic at times as one Pewsitter critic documents here and here, for example. Another drawback is the excessive uncharitable commentary on Pope Francis placed in lead news headings. That particular type of click bait is interesting content, but not “news.”
Pope App (Free) iOS and Android For up-to-date (even live!) content connecting you with all things papal in the palm of your hand. This app was developed by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications utilizing Vatican News Service as an all-access pass to Pope Francis with official papal-related content in a variety of formats: Twitter feeds, news and official speeches, galleries with the latest images and videos, access to his calendar, and links to other services of the Holy See along with video (live and on demand) of important events. Get timely ALERTS and links to top stories coming out of the Vatican’s many news outlets.
Content does NOT just center on the pope. All the Vatican news outlets are linked using their mobile platforms so you can keep up with the major stories and documents of the day (The Vatican Press Office, News.va, L’Ossrvatore Romano, Vatican Radio, Vatican Television Center and Agencia Fides). The interface is similar to Facebook’s mobile app, so it is intuitive to those users.The 6 Vatican web cams stream live too. 5 languages: English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish. Despite our praise, we acknowledge a few significant mis-steps with this app. We would prefer that the major writings from the pope be delivered in full (Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, was a partial download!!) and that the major writings be left on this app for easy access. As it stands, material only remains for a period of time on the calendar. Complete review here. Requires internet service to run this app. See a video of the 2.0 version here.
Vatican.Va App (Free) iOS and Android. If you’re looking for a more institutional app than the Pope App, the Vatican.Va App is supposed to cover the entire Holy See (as it advertises). Sure, it offers Press Bulletins, but generally they are minimal and in Italian only. If we look under the tab, “Latest,” we would presume a broad spectrum of material would be offered. Instead, we get exclusively papal product in the form of audiences, speeches, addresses etc. that we can get on the Pope App. “Words of the Holy Father” tab gives you the complete list of everything the pope ever wrote or proclaimed. That comprehensive listing is missing from the Pope App, so having all those documents just a couple clicks away is a great reason to procure this app. But don’t lean on it for comprehensive news. The Pope App probably has all the links you need.
Vatican.Va App is divided into two distinct regions: the papal material (which we covered) and travel services. Yes. If you travel to Vatican City, a segment of this app is at your service offering location map guidance; virtual tours of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Square (VERY COOL); FAQs covering General Audience tickets, museum hours and information, links to web pages covering all the many places open to tourists, hours of operation and much more.
The default language is Italian, so you will need to go into settings to change that to English.
Clearly, Vatican-produced apps need to reorganize. A travel app is a great idea (and we love those beautiful virtual tours!), but they need to be separated out: Pope, News, Travel. And news needs to be just that–timely and translated as well as comprehensive across the Holy See, not just covering the pope.
Missio (Free) iOS and Android Launched by Pope Francis (on May 17, 2013) and created by the Pontifical Mission Societies, MISSIO is designed as a Catholic news aggregate for for staying up-to-date on the latest Catholic news from the Vatican and around the world with daily news reports and videos offering a Catholic perspective on world events, according to developers. The mission society’s app collects news from Rome, stories and photos from the missions and other material, according to developers. Available in English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic.
Radio Vaticana (Free)- iOS, Android, Windows Phone. You get three basic functions: Radio, Pope’s Agenda, and News. Radio has 5 channels, 70 programs in 40 languages. Follow Pope Francis in real time with text and audio of his various public appearances. The world news portal contains an international news feed and links to mp3 audio of the reports if you want to access news delivered in that format. Enjoyable, enlightening reports and interviews from the geographic center of the Catholic faith with coverage around the world.
iMissal ($4.99) in iOS format. Android and Blackberry Contains a Catholic news feed in addition to the complete Roman Missal (English 3rd Edition), big collection of prayers and daily Scripture readings. Requires internet access for the news feed.
The Truth & Life Dramatized audio Bible New Testament ($19.99 or separate books $1.99 ea; Download Free version includes the Gospel of Mark on audio and a complete Bible text, RSV-CE translation). iOS, Adroid, Windows PC, Kindle Fire, Nook. This app comes with the Catholic News Agency app imbedded. Get news from the USA, Vatican and around the world along with links to compelling commentary. You should have a Bible loaded onto your mobile device anyway. Why not select this app and get a reliable Catholic news app to go with it?