Skip to comments.Catholics Are Blogging On the Internet ... to Evangelize
Posted on 06/29/2002 9:34:14 PM PDT by Polycarp
Catholics Are ´Blogging´ On the Internet ... to Evangelize
by Tim Drake
| June 12, 2002 / If you haven´t yet heard of blogging, you soon will. The latest Internet trend in personal journalism, it is currently undergoing an explosion among Catholics, connecting lay Catholics, priests and seminarians across the country.
Blog - short for Web log - is a cross between a traditional Web site and an online diary. Web logs allow individuals or groups of users to post news, links and commentary on an hourly or even minute-by-minute basis - free-of-charge and without the need to understand complex HTML language. The ease of the technology makes it possible for almost anyone to publish.
"It´s impossible to keep up with them all, but we estimate that there are more than 500,000 Web logs," said Evan Williams, CEO of Pyra Labs, the San Francisco-based company that designed the Blogger Web-based software in the fall of 1999. "There are approximately 1,000 new Web logs created every day," he noted.
In the beginning of the year, a couple dozen self-identified Catholic blog sites existed. That number quickly escalated following a news story on Vatican Radio. The Catholic Blog for Lovers lists three times the number that existed a month ago - blogs with appropriate Catholic names such as Nota Bene, Annunciations and Gregorian Rant.
Why the recent upsurge? In addition to the attention from Vatican Radio, many think the clergy sex abuse scandal is a primary factor contributing to the increase in Catholic blogs and has contributed to the majority of the Catholic blog chatter.
"People are feeling a lot of strong emotion about the clerical sexual abuse scandal and people want to speak up," said Catholic blogger Peter Nixon of Concord, Calif. He oversees the Catholic blog site Sursum Corda.
Kathy Shaidle of Toronto is one of the pioneer Catholic bloggers. She started her site, Relapsed Catholic, in 2000. She said she has seen a 30% increase in the number of visitors to her site since the clergy sexual abuse stories broke. "I´ve been told that I´ve inspired others to take up blogging, to express their thoughts on the scandal," Shaidle said.
Beyond the scandal, however, individuals are finding distinct ways to use their blogs. Some use them to advance their work. Kathryn Lively of Come On, Get Lively uses her blog to highlight publishing projects of her FrancisIsidore Electronic Press. Amy Welborn uses her blog to work out ideas for her writing. Pete Vere, a defender of the bond for a diocesan marriage tribunal in Florida, uses it to address readers´ canonical concerns on his site, Clog.
"In a time when the Church is experiencing a shortage of canonists, blogging allows me to interact with average Catholics and address their concerns pertaining to canon law. It allows me to clarify certain rights Catholics have within the Church, correct misconceptions and show the faithful they have nothing to fear from canon law," Vere said.
Others, such as Tom Kreitzberg of Silver Spring, Md., use their blogs to offer political or social commentary. Kreitzberg quoted P.G. Wodehouse by saying that "people become authors when their hopes of getting letters to the editor published are frustrated." This explains the motivation behind his own blog, Praying the Post.
"There are people who blog to promote themselves professionally, there are people who blog to promote themselves personally, there are people who blog to promote their ideas or perspectives," Kreitzberg said.
While Catholic blogs might not be receiving the sort of numbers advertisers notice, the statistics are still impressive. Emily Stimpson of Fool´s Folly receives as many as 500 hits per day; Mark Shea receives upwards of 800 visits per day.
In spite of the trend, not everyone is enamored with blogging. "There seems to be a lot of narcissism," explained blog reader Tara Conway, a communications consultant in Washington, D.C. "Some of the posts are so mundane that a reader is left with a ´Who cares?´ reaction." Other bloggers are so prolific, she said, she wonders when they get their day-to-day chores done.
Yet they cannot be ignored. Mainstream media have even begun quoting blogs. "I check what they are saying before I check the Washington Post," admitted Rod Dreher, a senior writer with National Review Online. "I trust their insights more than I trust the insights found in most secular newspapers."
Still others think blogging is building a virtual Christian community - one that Catholic bloggers themselves have taken to calling "St. Blog´s parish."
"What a blessing and inspiration Catholic blogging has been," said Jeanine Webb, a 70-year-old grandmother from Eugene, Ore. "Eugene is the capital of alternative-lifestyle types, so it´s been reassuring to be able to read and communicate with faith-filled, active, intelligent people of my faith. It´s helped me to be more active too," said Webb, who after reading a suggestion from a Web log decided to call her local parish to schedule a prayer vigil in mid-June.
Conway conceded that reading others´ blogs has helped her to feel as though she "knows" them. "I can foresee the day when bloggers might well hold mini-conferences just to get together to meet one another and talk in person," she said.
Said Kreitzberg: "Catholics always have something to say to the world - and lately about what the world is saying about Catholics - and there is a great deal of what Catholics have to say being said in the Catholic blogging community."
Tim Drake writes from St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Reprinted with permission from the National Catholic Register. All rights reserved.
Here are some Catholic blogs - filled with bits and pieces of information, slices of life, the struggles and joys of our beloved Church, and often enough lots of fun. Of course, I do *not* agree with all that is blogged! ENJOY!
In no particular order--
A Catholic Blog for Lovers -- Gerard Serafin (that's me!)
In Between Naps -- Amy Welborn
Catholic and Enjoying It -- Mark Shea
In Formation - Steve Mattson (seminarian)
Nota Bene -- Sean Gallagher
From the Anchor Hold - Karen Marie Knapp
Ad Orientem -- Mark Sullivan
Catholic Light -- Steve & John Schultz
Dappled Things - Father Jim Tucker
Oak Leaves - Bill Cork
Disputations -- John DaFiesole
Annunciations -- Michael Dubruiel
Relapsed Catholic -- Kathy Shaidle
The Blog from the Core - Lane Core
Just Your Plain Catholic Guy -- John Betts
Summa Contra Mundum -- Karl Schudt
Fool's Folly -- Emily Stimpson
Sursum Corda -- Peter Nixon
Betternet.com -- Domenico Bettlinelli
From the Middle of the Storm -- Father Bob Carr, from Cathedral in Boston
Veritas -- Chris Burgwald
Goliard Blog -- Kevin James
Musings of a Catholic Seminarian - Todd Reitmeyer
Pompous Ponderings - Dave Pawlak
Perpetual Ephemera -- Louder Fenn
Gregorian Rant -- Chris
The Cranky Prof - Michael Tinkler
Thrown Back - Father Rob Johansen
Nihil Obstat - St Blog's Official Proofreader
A Saintly Salmagundi - Father Bryce Selby
Minute Particulars -- couldn't find a name!
Mallon's Media Watch -- John Mallon
Stream of Consciousness -- Tim Drake
The Widening Gyre -- Joseph de Feo
Heart, Mind, and Strength - Gregory Popcak
It's A Mystery -- James Wood
My View of the River -- a Catholic mom, wife, daughter, sister
The Elephant -- Dennis Logue, Jr
The Christian Conscience -- Thomas Joseph
Kairos -- JB
Care and Feeding of a Catholic Church Choir -- Steve Schultz
The Thoughts of Halstrom -- Benjamin Halstrom
Enemy of the Church? - Mike Hardy (no longer updated - since June 3, 2002)
Integrity -- Jack
Praying the Post -- John DaFiesole
Capax Dei -- no name
Oremus: Adventures in Orthodoxy - Alexandra Baldwin
E-Pression -- Zorak
Holy Weblog -- Joyce Garcia
CLOG: A Blog for Catholics and Canon Lawyers - Peter Vere
Between Heaven and Hell - Kevin Ho, Esq.
Veni Sancte Spiritus -- Anthony Marquis
The Old Oligarch
Lethargic IITian - Kensey Joseph
Come On, Get Lively - Kathyrn Lively
CHUD's Miscellaneous Thoughts -- Chris Hudson
A Religion of Sanity -- Maureen McHugh
Xavier+ - Francis Mooney
The ArisBlog - Frank Palmer Purcell
I Should be Reading -- Mike Shirley
Mystique et Politique -- Mark Cameron
Quid Novi? - Pat Tyler
The Provincial E-Mails - Terrence Berres
Biblical Babylon - Timothy Mason
All But Dissertation - Lady of Shalott
Verus Ratio - Thomas Fitzpatrick
Man Bites Blog - John McGuinness
Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor - TS O'Rama
St. Cecilia Was Here - Jay Ricketts
Bro. Leo - Father Leo Sprietsma, Franciscan Friar
Communio - Mark Adams
Guilty Bystander - Michael Goodin
Zounds -- Martin Farkus (inactive since June 13)
Ono's Thoughts - Ono Ekeh
CruxNews.com - assorted contributors
Catholic Surfer - Betty G.
man with black hat - David Alexander
NorBlog - Norris
the reader **NEW**
Life with St. Francis de Sales **NEW**
Diocese Report - Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Exposed - Brian Barcaro **NEW**
Ordinary Time - Woodeene-Koenig-Bricker **NEW**
SOME ORTHODOX BLOGS
Orthopraxis -- Father Nectarios Trevino
Notes from a HIllside Farm -- John Bell
Radioblog -- Jeremy (well, almost Orthodox!)
From Another State -- Chris A.
The Illuminator - Graham Pardun
Paradosis - James Ferrenberg **NEW**
Frankly I wish those bloggers would join us here. (maybe some of them already have?)
Maybe I'll start my own Banshee Blog ....
Honestly, I'm convinced we DO have a better set up right here!
This forum is the perfect set up for just the kind of communication real Catholics need at the present time.
Any ideas how we can promote a greater Catholic presence and interaction here?
Yeah. But no matter what we post, it always winds up in "Religion" limbo. There are a lot of Catholics on Free Republic. Perhaps we need a blogspot of our own with a reply box. It might work for starters. I dunno...I guess the Catholics who WANT to have already "rallied 'round."