Bishop John England Award

Bishop John England was a renowned defender of religious liberty and a prodigious journalist and publisher who founded the first Catholic newspaper in the United States in 1822, The United States Catholic Miscellany, when he was bishop of Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1992, Catholic Press Association, now the Catholic Media Association, president Arthur McKenna inaugurated the Bishop John England Award for the Defense of Religious Freedom. The concept for the award originated with Father John Igoe, editor of One Voice, the diocesan newspaper of Birmingham, Alabama, who suggested that the CMA honor publishers who use the Catholic press to defend the rights of religion and individuals in a free society.

Nomination Criteria

The recipient of the Bishop John England Award should clearly have acted in their role as publisher of a CMA member publication and clearly have acted in defense of the publication or used their publications, in accordance with its mission, to defend the First Amendment rights of the publisher, the institution owning the publication, and/or the Catholic Church as a whole. The award recipient may or may not be a cleric.

Make a Nomination

The nomination period for the 2024 Award has not yet been announced.

Selection Procedure

Any CMA member can make a nomination during the submission period. Once the nominating period is closed, a committee made of all living CMA past presidents will select up to five candidates to bring forward to the membership for voting. CMA members vote on the final candidates. Members choose both a first place and second place candidate. These scores are unweighted. The candidate with the most first place votes is the winner. In the event of a tie, second place votes are used to determine the winner.

Most Recent Winners

2020: Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, The Tablet
2019: Monsignor John E. Kozar, ONE Magazine
2018: Most Rev.Gerald F. Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson
2017: Thomas C. Fox, National Catholic Reporter
2016: Greg Erlandson, formerly of Our Sunday Visitor

View a complete list of those honored with the Bishop John England Award.