You’ve heard of Commonweal Local Communities, if not weeks, months, or years ago, perhaps just recently in the comment section regarding the launch of our new site. In many ways, the virtual community you’ve formed here on the blog is precisely what we hope to offer folks around the country (and perhaps eventually around the world): a forum for civilized, intelligent, expansive, and sometimes even long-winded conversation. In the comment section on the post "Note to Our Readers" below, there’s testimony to the interdisciplinary nature of the commentary this blog has hosted for many years; there are stories of friendship forged through insights, vulnerability, and deep engagement with the most pressing ideas in our church and world. Quite naturally, we hope for all our readers—and their friends, and their friends—to have such an experience of conversation and community.
The decision to integrate the blog into the rest of the site and to remove comments is not, as some have implied, merely out-with-the-old; in fact, we’re pouring some of our resources into the very oldest kind of exercise in civilized discussion: local community. We have new groups springing up all over the country—many are already up and running, and even more are in formation. I highly encourage you to sign up for the CLC in your area, where you are sure to meet the kinds of people you’ve also met here: folks of all ages, from all kinds of backgrounds, who wrestle intelligently with Catholicism, modernity, politics, literature—everything.
And I was going to wait until the fall, but we also intend to roll out a virtual CLC, created with readers in mind who may live in rural communities with a low density of Commonweal (or Commonweal-minded) readers, for individuals who are homebound or dislike travel for one reason or another, or even those who travel quite frequently and may be unable to attend a monthly meeting with regularity given his or her schedule.
I have yet to work out all the kinks of this virtual CLC, but if you want to continue your conversations, and you want to continue in the particular community you’ve developed here on this blog, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment on this post (I can get your email address through our site’s database) and—if you’re willing—you can be a part of extending the forum for conversation in this brand new way.