Friday, 5 January 2007

On Catholic Blogging

As many others have noted, Auntie Joanna has done a great service in writing about blogging in the British Catholic press this weekend. Not only does it make the wider Catholic community aware of the phenomena, but it provides some wise maxims for the blogger. I particularly like: ‘a lot will happen in your life that you need not, and should not, discuss with the rest of us.’ This is especially relevant for priest bloggers – for example, yesterday was an interesting day for me ‘pastorally’ but I had to resist the temptation of posting anything about it since it would not be appropriate.

Joanna also calls for charity in the blogosphere, criticising those who ‘are very happy denouncing one another and pronouncing gleefully about how awfully dreadful everything in the Church is.’ Of course, it’s fine (and sometimes necessary) to make valid criticisms but there’s something wrong if that’s all a blogger writes about – and, besides, since a blog is in the public domain, what sort of an image of the Church does it present to the curious non-Catholic visitor? Except for noteworthy exceptions, I prefer to keep personal rants to the confines of an evening spent with friends over a glass of sambuca rather than in front of the entire world.

The article also lists the ‘downside’ of Catholic blogs:

A slightly tiresome clubbability, use of jargon, jokey references to other bloggers and a sense of superiority: here I am, announcing my views, which by implication are definitely well worth hearing.
Yes, that can be true, but I wouldn’t completely condemn ‘jokey references to other bloggers’ or ‘clubbability.’ And a blogger is not necessarily arrogant, though you do need a certain self-confidence to start a blog in the first place.

I hope some readers of the Catholic Herald will follow the instructions in the ‘How to Create a Blog’ section. People sometimes say to me that blogging must be time-consuming (the sub-text being: shouldn’t you be visiting parishioners rather than sitting in front of the computer?) but it needn’t be and I don’t normally spend more than 30 minutes blogging each day, assuming I have an idea.

As Joanna says, blogging in all its diverse forms is generally worthwhile and good for the mission of the Church - 'most of what you find in the blogosphere has a fresh and vigorous feel...[Blogging] has opened up to many of us some of the treasures of the Church: lives of the saints, good music, inspiring reading, news of today's heroes in parts of the world where being a Catholic requires real courage.'

By the way, somebody asked me recently why I called this blog ‘Roman Miscellany’ – partly because of its miscellaneous nature and partly because of this book about the English in Rome published a few years ago, which I thoroughly recommend (apologies for the plug):

Labels:

5 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

Interesting post, Father.

I noticed this bit:
"‘a lot will happen in your life that you need not, and should not, discuss with the rest of us.’ This is especially relevant for priest bloggers – for example, yesterday was an interesting day for me ‘pastorally’ but I had to resist the temptation of posting anything about it since it would not be appropriate."
--I found this interesting, because there's plenty in my work that I cannot discuss with any of my readers. However, I fear that sometimes readers will find my posts boring because they don't contain enough me? I suppose this is something people have to weight up and battle with, lest they get, as you say, tempted to share the wrong stuff.

Thanks,
Mark

7:56 pm  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

I guess it's a question of balance - personal posts can be fascinating, even if complete strangers will be reading them.

Keep up the good work (I've just put a link to you on my blogroll).

11:38 pm  
Blogger Jeffrey Smith said...

Don't be so confounded modest. I'd like to hear more about the book.

1:49 am  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Well, the book is a collection of articles on the English in Rome originally published in the journal of the English College, Rome - including Eamon Duffy on William Cardinal Allen, Bishop Foley on the Cause of the English Martyrs, Judith Champ on Philip Cardinal Howard, me on the Cardinal Duke of York, Abbot Hunter-Blair on Edward Cardinal Howard, Fr Jerome Bertram on Newman in Rome, Carol Richardson on the Pugins in Rome and Fr Richard Whinder on the Papal Zouaves. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor wrote the Foreword and there is a sermon on Cardinal Allen by Cardinal Hume. So, very much a Roman Miscellany!

8:40 am  
Blogger Augustinus said...

I bought the book some while ago - long before I was a reader of this blog. It contains very interesting articles on the varying, but related subjects Father lists above. I would certainly recommend it to anyone interested in this important aspect of English Catholic history.

8:52 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>