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):