Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Catholic Priests Encouraged to Blog by the Pope

The Pope is encouraging priests worldwide to blog. This is a significant announcement from a relatively old international organization that traditionally is very conservative. What about teachers in your school? What about students as they complete assignments for classes? Who is blogging with the formal endorsement and support of school officials? Perhaps school officials in your area share concerns over the transparency which blogging can provide. According to NPR’s report Monday:

“If people live in cyberspace then the Church ought to be in cyberspace” says Father Brian Paulson S.J. a Jesuit priest in Chicago. Paulson will soon head up a community of about 80 priests and seminarians, some of whom blog, and one of his concerns with the Pope’s mandate is quality. He worries that blogs that don’t pay close enough attention to the Church’s teachings or are written poorly will turn people away rather than attract them.

If priests are blogging heresy they are almost certainly preaching it too. I’d offer that sort of transparency is instructive and helpful, rather than undesirable.

Open the windows. Bring forth thy blogs.

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4 responses to “Catholic Priests Encouraged to Blog by the Pope”

  1. Steve Ransom Avatar

    Absolutely. And if people (students) live in cyberspace, then the ______________ (schools, teachers, people of influence,…) ought to be in cyberspace… in meaningful ways, of course. In addition, when there’s a lack of “meaningfulness” or transparency in what is made public online, then one may question what is going on off-line. I don’t think that can always be applied, though, as having an online presence takes additional time – time that many teachers don’t have in their day. However, this may be partly due to the fact that their online world is merely an “addition” to their analog world and not an integral part of it (integration vs. integral).

  2. umbahli Avatar

    I’m all for it! Hearing a sermon in church seems to entail more of a power relationship. Reading a blog puts the reader in the driver’s seat to determine what they want to read or reread or skip! I’m all for deconstructing hierarchies and providing access to ideas in an equitable arena!

  3. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    Well, I don’t think the Pope was thinking about “deconstructing hierarchies” when he suggested priests need to blog. The empowering nature of social media is a key characteristic of it, however, as you point out. Social media certainly does offer the potential for traditional power relationships to be challenged and, over time, to change.

    I’m mainly hopeful about the transparency aspect, which you highlight Steve. The point about time is critical to acknowledge too, however. That NPR article includes some quotations from very overworked priests who don’t have any time to add virtual activities to their list of duties. That is, as you say, very similar to how many teachers feel.

    Blogging isn’t for everyone. But it should be available to everyone, and I think it’s good we have an authority figure like the Pope acknowledging that to be relevant in today’s world, we need to increasingly participate in digital as well as face-to-face conversations.

  4. […] genesis of this problem does not lie with Facebook or social media more generally. As I stated in Wednesday’s post about the Pope encouraging priests to blog, in many cases “transparency is instructive and helpful, rather than undesirable.” That is the […]