Friday, 5 August 2011
Will There Be Another Vatican BLOGFEST? The man who masterminded the Blogfest at The Vatican Part Four
In the days immediately after the Blogmeet there were 17 million pages devoted to it on the internet. According to Rouse, one of the best fruits of the event was that “bloggers came together with that desire for community”. Rouse also says that he noted a contrast between talking to bloggers who may spend too much time online and some Vatican staff who never touch a computer.
I tell Rouse that, as a Catholic blogger, I get correspondence from people asking why I’m Irish and “still Catholic”. I ask him if he thinks Catholic blogs may be a route for people to get to know the faith and he replies: “Absolutely.” He explains that “people outside the Church perceive that they can ask questions on blogs without judgments, because the reality of blogging isn’t a hierarchical community.”
But Rouse is careful to note that “some things should appear only in the confessional and not on the blogs”.
I’m interested to know if Catholics in particular should set a good example in the blogosphere. Rouse says: “We’re not superior. Everyone has a duty to behave properly.”
Yet, with regard to the English Catholic blogosphere, Rouse notes that there are “a lot of good stories and positive developments that are not being told” and “you just have to think about all the great work done by Catholic teachers; but all you read about are the headline-grabbing problems, crises and campaigns, such as the Cardinal Vaughan School debacle. We need to remember that bloggers play a part in shaping public opinion. What about the great Catholic charities, hospices and hospitals that don’t receive a mention in UK blogs and subsequently not in the mainstream media?”
Rouse himself is very grateful to his own school, Our Lady and St Werburgh in Clayton, Staffordshire, which gave him his early formation in faith. He now sings with the Sistine Choir, and acknowledges his debt to the Irish Mercy nuns who taught him to sing.
Will there be another Vatican Blogmeet? Rouse says no, explaining that it “served its purpose... and showed that the Vatican is aware of the influence of blogging”. But he thinks that similar conferences may take place in individual dioceses. He is clear that “this may not be right for every diocese, and not right for every blogger”. But nonetheless the bigger picture is that the Blogmeet, and post-Blogmeet projects such as Cardinal Ravasi’s efforts to bring people closer to the Bible through Twitter, are “all part of the same
This is from an article I wrote for The Catholic Herald for its August 5th Print Edition.