Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bloggers Meet at the Vatican

Bloggers Meet at the Vatican

You may have read that the Holy See--thru two of its dicasteries--invited bloggers from around the world to a conference on blogging in Rome on May 2. Something like 600 applied for the 150 slots. No, yours truly didn't apply.

As far as I know, only one SDB blogger did apply, Fr. C.M. Paul from Calcutta, who is currently working on his doctorate in communications at the UPS in Rome. While earning his master's in communications from Fordham back in the late '80s, he lived with us here at the provincial house and was a very happy part of our community. He blogged from the conference:

Here's the story that ANS ran on Friday:

Bloggers and Church, a promising dialogue

(ANS – Vatican City – May 6) – In the afternoon of May 2, 150 bloggers took part in an open meeting initiated by the Pontifical Council for Communications together with the Pontifical Council for Culture. The invitation from the Church to bloggers was a daring move.

The meeting took place in the headquarters of the two Vatican departments on via della Conciliazione. It was aimed at facilitating a dialog between bloggers and Church representatives so as to share experiences of those actively engaged in this field and to reach a better understanding of what demands emerge for such a group.

There was much variety among participants through diversity of language, geography, and type of blog represented (institutional, private, multi/single-authored). In addition to the 150 involved, a further 750 bloggers and social network users were also present, all of whom were currently connected with them directly through the Web.

Some current initiatives of the Church regarding the new types of media were presented, with special mention given to the involvement of young people who have shown an interest in the Madrid WYD through the Internet. The first part of the program was devoted to taking a closer look at a number of more urgent issues that have come out among the participants. Some bloggers, from a variety of language groups, aired specific topics that have impacts across the board. In the second part of the program some Church representatives with special responsibility for policy on communications spoke of their experience of working in the new media and of moves being made to establish an effective link between the Church and the blogging community.

At the heart of the contributions and the thinking of the participants was how to wed Church communication, with its hierarchical structure, with the spontaneity and freelance involvement of blog and social network. Both Facebook and Twitter were given great airing throughout the discussions.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Abp. Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and Fr. Federico Lombardi, head of the Vatican Press, also took part in the meeting.

Abp. Celli stated: “We are dealing here with a technology which shows clearly once again that our central concern is not technology itself, but people. We must then ensure yet again that it’s all about men and women communicating with each other; at the same time, as we look to the future, we must promote human values so as to be able to live, appreciate, and use these new technologies which can, if used wisely, serve to enrich and deepen our experience of human relations.”

The exchange of views between bloggers and Church representatives has shown that the Internet calls for a new type of pastoral presence and for some recognized “Web pastor.” Fran├žois Jeanne-Beylot declared: “If Christ were to come and preach to us today, he would not climb a mountain or get into a boat: he would go to Twitter or open a blog.”

Those who took part left with the hope that these beginnings of dialog will be followed up by further initiatives.

[See also Catholic News Service’s May 6 “Vatican Letter”:]

No comments: