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Title: Katalikas
City: Chicago, Ill.
County: Cook
Available online: 14 July 1910 - 28 December 1916 (619 issues)

Katalikas [LCCN sn 00062053] was a Lithuanian-language Catholic newspaper published in Chicago from 1899-1916. Founded as a weekly by Father Matthew Krauciunas of St. George's Catholic Church and owned by banker John Tananevicz, it quickly became a mainstay of the Chicago Lithuanian community. The paper was created to directly oppose the nationalist Lithuanian-American paper Lietuva [LCCN sn 83045284] and its editor Anthony Olsevskis, who was the largest Lithuanian banker in the city. The Lietuva accused Krauciunas of extravagance, focusing on church politics over his own parish, and mishandling funds meant to build a new church. Fed up, the priest sued Olsevskis for slander in 1898, who countered with five lawsuits of his own. Kraucinunas established Katalikas shortly after, and it responded to these remarks by accusing Olsevskis of being atheist, immoral, and anti-Lithuanian. Unfortunately, Krauciunas's continued attacks on nationalist societies and their members—at times threatening them with excommunication—alienated much of his parish.

Around 1900, John Tananevicz brought his brother Stanley on board to serve as the paper's editor. The paper was consistently religious, but its politics drifted from the right towards the center-left, supporting strong education and condemning the US war in the Philippines. As time went on, the brothers became more active in political affairs: Stanley donated to public safety commissions and argued against arms manufacture, while John joined the Progressive Republicans' state committee. He resigned in 1912 over differences about Governor Deenan, giving his notice to former Chicago Tribune [LCCN sn 83045111] owner Joseph Medill McCormick. The paper transitioned to a daily edition in August 1914, but by March 1916 had gone back to being a weekly; something Stanley Tananevicz blamed on how spread out Lithuanian communities were and priests upset with how progressive the paper was becoming.

Katalikas' downfall began in the mid-1910s with the arrest of Krauciunas and the Bank of Tananevicz's insolvency. In 1915, Krauciunas was accused of stealing $15,000 from the recently-deceased Father George Kolesinskas and arrested on the steps of his own church. He was released before long, but the string of legal struggles took their toll: he would retire in early 1917. The Bank of Tananevicz, which was in the same building as the paper's presses, relied on 2-3,000 Lithuanian- and Polish-American depositors. This reliance on the community proved a hindrance in October 1916, when flyers allegedly published by John Tananevicz's enemies were distributed around local neighborhoods, causing a run on the bank and revealing that it was in financial distress. The bank quickly closed and was turned over to a trust company, but the damage was done: the Lithuanian community had lost $500,000. Neither the Katalikas nor Tananevicz Savings Bank ever recovered. The paper ended two months later, and John Tananevicz was later tried and sentenced to three years in prison for accepting deposits after the bank closed.