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Periodical Literature, Austria

Periodical Literature — Austria

The Catholic Press is represented in Austria by 140 newspapers and 152 other periodicals. Of the former, 79 are in German; 22 in the Czech, or Bohemian, language; 16 in Polish; 3 in Ruthenian; 8 in Slovenian; 5 in Croatian; 7 in Italian. The 79 German newspapers are distributed as follows: Lower Austria, 22; Upper Austria, 12; Salzburg, 3; Styria, 6; Tyrol, 13; Vorarlberg, 3; Bohemia, 9; Moravia, 5; Silesia, 1; Carinthia, 4; Carniola, 1. Of the Czech. newspapers, 12 are published in Bohemia, 10 in Moravia; the Polish are published in Silesia (4), Galicia (11), and Bukowina (1); the Ruthenian are all published in Galicia; the Slovenian, 1 in Carinthia, 4 in Carniola, 2 in Görz, and 1 in Istria; the Croatian, 4 in Dalmatia and 1 in Istria; the Italian, 3 in the Tyrol, 2 in Görz, and 2 in Istria. The other periodicals are distributed as follows: Lower Austria, 33; Upper Austria, 8; Salzburg, 5; Styria, 7; the Tyrol, 11; Vorarlberg, 4; Bohemia, 31; Moravia, 18; Silesia, 5; Galicia, 26; Bukowina, 1; Carinthia, 1; Carniola, 11; Görz and Gradisca, 1; Istria, including Triest, 5; Dalmatia, 1.

The distribution of the Catholic daily papers is as follows: Lower Austria, 4, of which 2 appear twice daily. Of these the "Reichspost" (Dr. Funder, editor-in-chief) is issued twice daily, and prints 16,000 copies to each edition; "Vaterland" (P. Siebert, editor-in-chief), two editions daily of 2500 copies each; "Neuigkeits-Weltblatt", August Kirsch, owner, 5000 copies to each edition; "Neue Zeitung", 50,000 copies to each edition. All these papers are published at Vienna. Upper Austria has the "Linzer Volksblatt", 4500 copies to each edition; in Salzburg, the "Salzburger Chronik", 3500 copies; in Styria, the "Grazer Volksblatt", 8500 copies; the "Kleine Zeitung", 26,000 copies to an edition, the last two published at Graz. In the Tyrol 3 daily papers are published: at Innsbruck the "Allgemeiner Tiroler Anzeiger", with an edition of 3000 copies, and the "Neue Tiroler Stimmen", with an edition of 1500 copies; at Trent, the Italian "Trentino", with an edition of 5000 copies. At Bregenz in Vorarlberg is published the "Vorarlberger Volksblatt", with an edition of 3500 copies. Bohemia has only one daily in the Czech language, the "Cech" of Prague, with an edition of 3800 copies; in Moravia, the Czech "Hlas" is published at Brünn, 2000 copies to an edition. Polish papers are the "Czas", published at Lemberg, 5000 copies twice daily; the "Gazeta Lwowska", 2000 copies to an edition; the "Gazeta Narodova", published at Lemberg, 4500 copies; the "Glos narodu", published at Cracow, 8800 copies twice daily; two other papers at Lemberg are the "Ruslau" and the "Przeglad", each 5000 copies to an edition. At Klagenfurt in Carinthia is published the "Kärntner Tagblatt", edition of 2000 copies; at Laibach in Carniola, the Slovenian "Slovenec", edition of 3700 copies; at Triest, the Italian "Giornale". In Dalmatia the "Hrvatska kruna" is published in Croatian, with an edition of 9000 copies.

The local Press, weekly and monthly, is very large; this is especially the case in the Alpine provinces and northern Bohemia. The learned periodicals show work of high quality. Among them should be mentioned: the "Kultur", published at Vienna by the Leo-Gesellschaft, and the "Allgemeines Literaturblatt", also the "Correspondenzblatt für den Clerus", edition of 7000 copies, the "Theologischpraktische Quartalschrift", published at Linz, edition of 12,000 copies; "Anthropos" at Salzburg, "Christliche Kunstblätter" at Linz, "Kunstfreund at Innsbruck, "Immergrün" at Warnsdorf, "V1ast" at Prague. As regards illustrated family periodicals the non-Catholic Press is decidedly in the lead.

The actual condition of the Catholic Press in Austria is far from satisfactory, though by no means hopeless. Its defects are fully recognized by those who are best able to remedy them. The daily papers, in particular, suffer from the lack of funds. There is no wealthy Catholic middle class, the prosperous city population being to a great extent (politically at least) anti-Catholic, while most of the zealous Catholics are found among the rural population, who, in Austria, care little for newspapers. This state of things renders Catholic journalism an uninviting field for business investment, and the dearth of capital employed in Catholic journalism as business enterprise is only inadequately supplied by donations from the nobility and clergy, who have neither the inclination nor the experience to secure an advantageous employment of the funds subscribed by them. Subsisting on these slender contributions by supporters of the party, the Catholic papers are unable to make any efforts for their own improvement or for the increase of their circulation by advertising; they are party institutions, not business enterprises, and have to be satisfied with keeping their expenditures down to the limits of the party contributions. At the same time, the conduct of the papers is in the hands of persons who, besides having no pecuniary interest in pushing them as enterprises, generally lack journalistic training. This technical inferiority, indeed, affects the whole working value of the Austrian Catholic Press; the remuneration of contributors, as well as of editors, being considerably below the standard of the Liberal Press, the best talent of the country avoids Catholic journalism and enlists itself in the service of the opposition. Lastly, its financial weakness places the Catholic Press at a serious disadvantage in regard to the supply of scientific matter and foreign news, both of which are abundantly commanded by the affluent Liberal Press.

These enormous difficulties are to some extent counteracted, it is true, by Catholic zeal and self-sacrifice, but the strain of ceaseless effort necessarily results in a lack of effective force. External difficulties aggravate the disheartening conditions. The control of public affairs by a Liberal Press lasted so long that the whole reading public, good Catholics included, became habituated to it, and this acquiescence in a wrong state of things resulted in intellectual inertia. Only in the first decade of the present century did the more practically Catholic elements begin to realize that those aristocratic-conservative influences which are popularly regarded as reactionary are not necessarily the most favourable to Catholic interests. The Christian-Socialist popular party has taken up the Catholic programme and thus opened a way for it among the masses; a spirited agitation resulted in diminishing the political power of the Liberal Press; but, in spite of all this, the public, long accustomed to the style of Liberal journalism, find Catholic periodicals lacking in piquancy.

One more external difficulty with which Catholic periodical literature in Austria — in contrast to the conditions of United Germany — has to contend, is the multiplicity of races and languages among the populations of the empire. The national rivalries are not always held in check by the profession of a common faith. The Catholics of each race insist upon maintaining distinct Catholic periodicals in their respective languages; hence a large number of periodicals each with a circulation far too small to ensure success. This difficulty has recently increased rather than diminished. The "Vaterland", e. g., a Vienna periodical, formerly read by Catholics throughout the Austrian crown lands, irrespective of their own national languages, has now had its circulation curtailed through this cause. And in general it may be said that no Catholic paper in Austria can count upon a circulation among all Catholics under the Austrian Crown; a separate Press has to be organized for the Catholics of each language.

The result of all these internal and external difficulties is the present embarrassed position of the Catholic Press of Austria. Attempts have been made, with the best intentions, at various times, by individuals, corporate bodies, and congresses; all, however, have failed of lasting success, because they lacked system and organization. It is greatly to the credit of some that this defect was finally recognized, and an effort made to correct it, by the Pius-Verein. As attempts to obtain money for the Press from the few rich have failed, a constant appeal is made to the great mass of people of small means, and large sums are thus collected. In this way the question of means is to be settled. By constant agitation, or by frequent meetings, local groups, and confidential agents, the apathy of the people is to be ended.

Although the condition, taken as a whole, of the Catholic Press in Austria is not prosperous, still the great efforts that have been made of late years and are still making with ever-increasing zeal, at the present time, justify the hope that the apathy of large sections of the reading public may be overcome, an appreciation aroused of the importance of a Press that is honourable and steadfast in the Faith. Only when this is attained will the sacrifices in money and labour that have been made for many years for the sake of the Catholic Press bear fruit, and a powerful press will be the strongest protection against the opponents of the Church in Austria.


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