The online edition of the newspaper USA TODAY features an article titled, “Vatican: Go Forth and Blog!” The piece, written to wrap-up the day-long conference hosted by the Vatican for Catholic bloggers, explains that the Vatican has made a concerted effort in recent years to engage technology and encourage its use among religious leaders. About 150 people, selected from among the 750 applicants, attended the conference that covered a variety of topics related to social media and the Church. According to the AP:
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told the bloggers that while Pope Benedict XVI “is a person who does not Tweet or have a personal blog, he is very attentive and knows well what is happening in the world” and supports Catholic media efforts, as seen by his Good Friday television interview and by his book-length interview with the German writer Peter Seewald.
It appears as though the Vatican “presented plans for a news portal to the bloggers, which is expected to launch at http://www.news.va.” This will certainly help disseminate documents and news from the Holy See at much speedier rate. However, I imagine that organizations like ZENIT and “insiders” like Rocco Palma might lament such access because currently they are the largest ‘retailers’ of church-related information and news online.
One thing is for sure, blogging and church engagement with social media is not disappearing anytime soon. So, those naysayers out there in ministry and church-related organizations, brace yourselves: this looks like an increasingly non-negotiable part of what it means to respond to today’s “signs of the time.”