Founded in 1931, The Clergy Review was established to communicate to and fulfill the reading needs of the diocesan Catholic priest. With the number of priests reaching around 6,000 in the 1960s, The Clergy Review - and its increasing circulation - had become the much-read 'trade journal' of the Catholic clergy.
However, with a number of changes over the next two decades - the declining number of Catholic Priests and the re-focusing of the role of the laity following the Second Vatican Council - the journal adapted to meet the evolving needs of the Church, and became more 'inclusive'.
To reflect this new understanding of the priesthood of all believers, the journal was re-named Priests & People in 1987 under the editorship of Fr Bernard Bickers of Ushaw College, Durham. Then in 1991 a new editor, Fr David Sanders was appointed. Fr David Sanders, the first ever religious order priest to edit the journal - was student master of the English Province of the Dominicans in Oxford.
He took Priests & People onto the next stage of its journey, and under his editorship the journal produced a quality range of articles from a wide circle of first-class writers - its aim to make good theology accessible in order to nourish those working in pastoral situations within the parish. With the statement 'Pastoral theology for the modern world' as a sub-title, this theme took the journal through to the next stage of its 14-year journey.
In the autumn of 2004, following the retirement of Fr Sanders, a new editor, Rev Dr Michael Hayes was appointed to take the journal - re-titled The Pastoral Review - into its next phase. 'With the ever-evolving needs of the Church, The Pastoral Review aims to reach all those actively involved in all aspects of pastoral responsibilities within the Church.
By listening to what the Spirit is saying to the Church through the reflecting on the scriptures (Revelations 2:7), considering new pastoral initiatives and engaging in issues that impact on pastoral ministry, The Pastoral Review seeks to be a resource for the Church today. 'With a strong focus on liturgical seasons, reflections on daily reading and catechetical material, The Pastoral Review will bring timely, authoritative articles to its readers. And drawing from the academic experience and expertise of an editorial board of leading theologians, each bi-monthly issue of the journal will bring the reader a strong mix of articles which can be applied into pastoral situations.
The Pastoral Review celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2006. To mark that milestone the journal moved to a full-colour cover - and subsequently full-colour text pages too.