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Christopher Korzen ’98 and the Catholic Democracy Institute

By Kathleen S. Carr ’96

John Hartz '98, Christopher Korzen '98 and Lisa Merlini '98

Chris Korzen ’98, the executive director of the Catholic Democracy Institute in Somerville, Mass., recently launched the Catholic Media Report, an online media tool that tracks the reporting of Catholic issues in the United States and in the international press.

After graduating from Holy Cross, Korzen studied theology at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass. During the 2004 presidential election, Korzen decided to create a Web site for Catholics in the United States. The result was votingcatholic.org, which compared the political candidates running for office and outlined where they stood on the issues.

When the site was launched in August 2004, Korzen worked with John Hartz ’98 to write and issue a press release to inform the media. Within 15 minutes, the Associated Press contacted Korzen and, as a result, tens of thousands of people used the Web site. After the election, Korzen incorporated the business as a non-profit, did some fund-raising—and the Catholic Democracy Institute was born. There are three Crusaders on staff—Korzen, Hartz and Lisa Merlini ’98. All were involved in the First-Year Program as students at Holy Cross.

Korzen emphasizes that Catholic social teaching revolves around a wonderful message that preaches hope for the future and love for our neighbors. The Catholic Democracy Institute is determined to make sure that this hopeful message does not get obscured for political gain; to that end, Korzen created the Catholic Media Report as a media monitoring tool. Edited by Merlini, the report allows individuals who are interested in Catholic dialogue to track how it is being reported in the press. It has emerged as a tool for media who are reporting on these topics.

Korzen describes Catholic social teaching as “the church’s best kept secret.” Currently working on a strategic partnership with Pax Cristi USA, he aims to continue his mission of building a community for Catholics interested in social justice issues.


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