May 20, 2011


Catholic bloggers meet

If you Google “Catholic blogs” on the Internet and click on “Catholic Blog Directory,” you will learn that there are 2,399 Catholic blogs.

That means that there are at least that many websites of people who write regularly about Catholicism. Most of them have clever names.

One blog that doesn’t have a clever name is Our auxiliary bishop and vicar general, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, has a blog. A link to it can be found at

Beyond blogs, other Catholic websites can be useful. Many diocesan websites, including, provide a wide variety of information. And many diocesan newspapers have good websites. The Criterion’s website can be found at

The point is that there are a lot of people out there using the Internet to report on what the Catholic Church is doing, or giving their opinions on what is happening, or trying to evangelize. Many of these bloggers are relatively young men and women who grew up with the Internet while others are fairly recent users.

Church leaders have learned that they had better become proficient at using the Internet if they are going to reach people age 40 or younger. That’s why the Vatican has its website, available to everyone at, and the U.S. bishops have a website at

However, that large number of bloggers can also present problems. Anyone can call himself or herself a Catholic blogger. How are we to know when a blog is teaching authentic Catholic doctrine or is just an opinion of the blogger? How can the Church learn from bloggers and work with them to get the Catholic message out?

It was those questions that prompted the pontifical councils for culture and social communications to recently sponsor a meeting of Catholic bloggers at the Vatican. The meeting took place the day after Pope John Paul II’s beatification since so many bloggers were in Rome for that event.

The meeting was announced—through the Internet, of course—and bloggers were invited to apply. The requests to attend were divided according to geography, language and whether the blog was personal or institutional, and then 150 names were drawn. It was a four-hour meeting.

Rocco Palmo, who writes the popular “Whispers in the Loggia” blog, called the 150 bloggers at the meeting “many of the finest professional communicators” working for the Catholic Church. We are inclined to agree. Palmo proves that daily. However, not all bloggers are as professional as he is.

Another popular blogger at the meeting, Elizabeth Scalia who blogs as “The Anchoress,” called for charity among bloggers. Too much of what is blogged is “us and them” on both the conservative and liberal sides of the Church, she said.

Thomas Peters, who blogs as the “American Papist,” asked that bloggers be included with traditional media professionals when important news is set to break. However, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said that only accredited journalists who have been vouched for by their employers and have pledged to follow journalistic ethics have that kind of access.

Father Lombardi went on to say, though, that bloggers often play a key role in clarifying mistakes and confusion that sometimes exist when the secular press gets a story wrong.

In addition to the blogs already mentioned, here are just a few other popular blogs:

“American Catholic” is the website and the blog of the Catholic magazine St. Anthony Messenger.

“All Things Catholic” is John L. Allen Jr.’s blog. He is widely considered to be one of the best journalists covering the Vatican.

“Reflections of an RSCJ” contains daily reflections for prayer and growth in the spiritual life. It is written by Religious of the Sacred Heart Sister Helen Rosenthal. It also includes a list of spiritual books.

“The Black Biretta” is written by Father John Trigilio Jr. He is also the

co-author of a couple of new books titled Catholic Mass for Dummies and John Paul II for Dummies.

“Standing on My Head” is Father Dwight Longenecker’s blog. This author and homilist is always interesting.

Then there’s “Desperate Irish Housewife” by Susan Vigilante, one of the bloggers who attended the meeting at the Vatican.

We encourage you to check out the Catholic Blog Directory. You will surely enjoy the names that bloggers have given to their blogs. Many of them play an important role in the Church, and undoubtedly will do so even more in the future.

—John F. Fink

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