Washington D.C., Jun 8, 2021 / 13:01 pm
A Catholic technology company recently launched a platform for Catholic publishers, small businesses, and religious communities to reach customers and supporters.
Catholic Ventures announced this month the launch of Catholic.store, an e-commerce platform working with publishers and small businesses selling Catholic books, jewelry, art, and other products. The announcement said the platform will donate a percentage of proceeds to the Church.
Matt Meeks, CEO of Catholic Ventures, told CNA in an interview that “we live in the most disruptive time period in human history, and I don’t think we really recognize that, and that’s particularly the case for the Church.”
“We’re seeing massive disruption within every industry,” Meeks said. “If you look at hotels, you’ve got Airbnb, and taxis, you’ve got Uber, and retail and actually distribution, you’ve got Amazon.”
Meeks argued that digital forces are leading to consolidation in the private sector, “but the Church, because of its subsidiarity, is fragmenting between more and more websites and nobody is working together. For lack of a better word, we’re our own worst enemy.”
He said he was inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 World Communications Day message where the pope spoke about evangelizing a “digital continent.” Meeks described the line as a “missionary call.”
“We need truly Catholic platforms,” he said, “platforms that respect subsidiarity but operate in solidarity. That became the initial kind of motivation for Catholic Ventures.”
He pointed to a recent incident where the online retail giant Amazon de-listed Catholic author Ryan Anderson’s book that was critical of the transgender movement. Amazon later said it de-listed Anderson’s book because of the book’s framing of “LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness.”
While he didn’t address the content of Anderson’s book, Meeks argued that Catholic creators should not rely on retailers like Amazon when “our content is out of fashion or contrary to the public opinion.”
“So, basically in this idea of building platforms, we want to lift up our vendor partners so they can thrive,” he said, “so the idea is building a platform that can network all of these creators, making them more powerful, but respecting their uniqueness.”
Catholic.store recently went live with thousands of products available for purchase online.
Catholic Ventures is also announcing its project of Catholic Creatives, which it says is “an online community of makers, artists, engineers, musicians and creatives seeking to bring beauty back to the Church with planned initiatives in healthcare, education and technologies to support Catholic families and groups.”