Commonweal welcomes original manuscripts dealing with topical issues of the day on public affairs, religion, literature, and the arts. Articles fall into three categories:

  • “Upfronts,” running from 1,000 to 2,000 words, are brief and reportorial, giving facts, information, and some interpretation behind the headlines. When considering a topic, please keep in mind that our turnaround time for articles is 6-8 weeks.
  • Longer articles, running from 2,500 to 5,000 words, bring new information or a different point of view to a subject, raising questions, and/or proposing solutions to the dilemmas facing the world, nation, or Church.
  • The “Last Word” column, running from 750 to 1,300 words, is a more personal reflection on some aspect of the human condition: spiritual, individual, political, or social. We do not accept “Last Word” submissions exceeding 1,300 words.

Commonweal does not accept unsolicited book or film reviews.

Articles should be written for a general but well-educated audience. While religious articles are always topical, we are less interested in devotional and churchy pieces than in articles which examine the links between “worldly” concerns and religious beliefs.

The best way to get a sense of what we’re looking for is to read what we have already published. Commonweal tends to be opinionated and engaged, but tolerant in tone, emphasizing reasoned discussion over sectarianism. This doesn’t preclude taking strong and controversial positions.

Please submit your article as a word document.


We welcome queries that outline an idea and an approach, though if we accept a pitch that does not guarantee publication. Please email your pitch to and include some information about your background or previous publications with your query.


Commonweal accepts poetry only during reading periods, due to the relatively limited volume of poetry we publish. We are currently still reviewing poetry submitted in the past year, and not accepting new poems at this time. Poetry submissions are not considered within the 6-8 week time-frame of manuscript submissions.

Please submit poetry submissions through the “Poetry Submissions” form.

  • Limit of five poems per submission
  • Due to the constraints of our pages, we cannot accept poems exceeding one page in length

“Closing Shot”:

We are accepting high-quality original photographs relevant to the topics and interests of the magazine. With the image, please submit a paragraph-length description/reflection on the photograph to be published alongside it.

Please note:

  • Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for a response to a manuscript, though occasionally response times may be longer, including over the Christmas/New Year holiday.
  • Payment for articles is made on publication, and Commonweal customarily retains the copyright on all published articles.
  • Due to the high volume of submissions, we will not be able to provide feedback on pieces we do not accept.
  • If you are submitting two or more articles, please upload them in separate forms.

Commonweal welcomes manuscripts in any of our three categories. If you think your manuscript falls into a particular category, please indicate this in your cover letter.