The Vatican is hosting a blog conference. Sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture and Social Communications, the invitation-only meeting, scheduled for May 2, will “allow for a dialogue between bloggers and Church representatives, to listen to the experiences of those who are actively involved in this arena, and to achieve a greater understanding of the needs of that community,” said the council in a statement.
Not a moment too soon. The Catholic blogosphere is an immensely powerful tool for evangelization. The best blogs point Catholics to news items that might be otherwise overlooked, to resources that might be underappreciated and to personal stories from Catholic individuals that can inspire, challenge and provoke. At its worst, though, the Catholic blogosphere is an arena for a self-appointed magisterium to engage in snarky commentary, judge without evidence and condemn with nary a thought for a person’s reputation. One wonders when reading these condemnations: I seem to have missed the conclave that elected you as pope. Or: When were you appointed to the CDF? Some Catholic blogs are also so vituperative that they barely seem Christian, and hardly present a good public face for the church. Who would want to join such a group? What’s more, a few bloggers seem solely interested in “inside-baseball” Catholicism (I'm guilty of this myself sometimes), which the Pontifical Council has noted. “One of the things we are a little bit aware of is that sometimes the Catholic blogosphere can become a bit of a ghetto…rather than engaging in the world outside,” said Richard Rouse, an official from the Pontifical Council.
So two good goals for Catholics bloggers (and for us here at "In All Things" of course!): Engage the world outside, be charitable to the world inside. Actually vice versa is pretty good advice as well.