VATICAN CITY (C.M. Paul) – As the first ever blogger meet starts off at the Vatican, participants are milling in. Meeting is scheduled for 4 pm Rome time.
I met three other Asians, one from Sri Lanka keeping a blog in Tamil and another from Indonesia and a third from the Philippines. Sri Lankan Fr David Ratnarajh is doing Masters in spirituality at Angelicum Rome, while Indonesian Fr Alfonsus Widhiwryawan is doing masters in spirituality from Gregroianum Rome and has his bi-lingual blog in Italian and English.
Third Asian at the meet is Fr Louie Rivera Coronel from Manila in the Philippines. He is doing masters in Church History at the Gregorianum University Rome.
I am still at the Salesian University Rome pursuing a PhD programme in the Social Communications faculty.
It seems that I am the only one from India, though I had mentioned earlier we were two from India. But the second one I thought was from India because of his Tamil blog happens to be from Jaffna Sri Lanka.
Also, I have the distinction of being the only Salesian among the 150 bloggers who are participating the first ever Vatican sponsored blogger meet..
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The meeting had two major sessions. In the first session six panelists shared their blogging experience. In the second part six panelists shared the institutional component in the use of new media by the Vatican.
President of the PCCS Abp Claudio Maria Celli inaugurated the meeting. “Get more familiar with each other. It is not a meeting of the Catholic bloggers and new media practitioners, he said. But is an occasion as pope Benedict 16 said to start a “respectful dialogue of other people’s truths.” We are here to promote faith and dialogue with all cultures. That is why two Pontifical Councils of Culture & Communication came forward to organize this meeting.
Not a theoretical meeting
How can a hierarchical community meet and dialogue with a bottom up community like bloggers? It is not a Vatican publicity stunt. One combines a certain fear, familiarity, courage and prudence, at the same time, one has to cope with being misinterpreted. The meeting was not to set moral codes for bloggers. Also, not a meeting to replace journalism but to give blogging its rightful place… the participants constituted a symbolic representation of the entire blogosphere… to express fears and anxieties… and help church to walk with bloggers as person..
Rocco Palmo (whispers) said, we started blogs because we believed. This is something only the Holy See could do… to confirm our faith. For each one here, six people applied and could not be present!
Andres Beltramo, (Mexico) of Sacro et Profano blog (Spanish) role of Catholic journalist who engages with media and internet… viewing Catholic Church as a significant player in the media… to cover Church with a critical mind, deal with thorny issues related to catholic Church. Today there is a strong demand for additional information coming thru non traditional sources. As bloggers we should engage in debate, emphasizing issues to be better understood.
Elizabeth Scalia (USA) B16 urged priests, religious and lay people to blog for Catholic clarity with a measure of charity. Internet has no genuine borders… it is a force for disorientation. The Ego can get disoriented in the echo chamber of the same people, by travelling in the farthest margins of your own imagination, of the mainstream. Creation of an illusion of us and them. Catholicism contains fractious multitudes. Bloggers duty to avid the narrowness of thought of the “echo chamber.” We have no business fostering enemies. When ego is ignited we sacrifice charity.
Matia Madasco. (Italy) Blogging has become part of me. Read other blogs too. We all can play a role in the web. Even if we don’t want a role we can be free to do what we want. I continue blog out of interest. Church should get more involved and be more daring in this sector. New generation believes it to be an important area.
Fr Roderick Vonhogen (Holland) blog on star wars, 15 years ago ignited his using of new media. Sharing faith with people who did not want to hear about it. How do you shepherd sheep who don’t want a shepherd? Before you can communicate faith you need to have a common language (common points of interest). The image I use is “fishers of men”… You need good bait: worm for fish and grass for sheep, not vice versa! Fellow priests criticize about my use of new media… as a priest I use new media to reach out new people.
We need to understand what people are looking for… talk about Gaming… Farmville, because it is the biggest online gaming… that brings people into the community. Bloggers thrive on comments. Without comments on the blog you feel alone. We blog because we want connection. Build a world wide parish of interest and friendship.
Dutch press criticized the beatification of JP2 beatification. Ask questions via Twitter and give YouTube answer on the phone in a personal way during the beatification from St Peter’s Square. You are there for them. Faith is all about personal connection!
François Jeanne-Beylot (France) from 2005 blogger. Image transformation for church thru the blog. It can take away the aging image of the Church. We are not using internet to its full scope to reach out good information and truth. Often I debate issues with Protestant colleagues on Immaculate Conception and other such dogmas. Some times I get other Catholic blogger who has a more convincing argument.
CNS Carol – Taking copyrighted material into blogs. Blogs should explain more and give more news… thus contribute more… We should not see blogger and journalist in conflict. One is paid, other, not. Blogger express one’s own opinion.
Changing blogging styles. Go Twitter in 140 character… you become an excellent communicator. Blog is not to promote ego… If you want to last in the blogosphere, you should write interesting stuff.
Blog is what it is… Those who read it should discern. It is a very democratic sphere.
Fr Antonio Spadaro
Blogging is grass root based and bottom up communication… The Vatican has people with institutional role. Blogger community. Vatican is opened to the reality of professionals, other than Catholics. Pope’s man… what message he takes to the Pope.
SMS from the pope to the WYD. Also on YouTube. Pope will talk to the astronauts… in the coming days.
Three things to tell bloggers.
1) Important for Church and society. Public opinion in the church. Communio et Progressio mentions Church should cultivate a Public Opinion… a dialogue with P.O. and faithful of the church. That does not mean that ministers loose their leading role. Faithful too have an opinion… this should be further developed and realized. It has not been done in the last few decades. Blogs can participate in the new dimension. Hence repsonsibiity in the church if how opioons are formed.
2) Inter activity… we are part of the institutional communication. From centre to the periphery without their being sufficient listening to the feedback and review. Hence the emotional messages that arrive after the news or message, that helps the church to communicate with the faithful.
3) We work in the communication of the church, there is always there is an expert blogger that monitors other bloggers, at 7.30 am how the day is going to be. You can help interpret and understand what happens in the blog sphere.
Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, Spokesperson for the Holy See.
Fr Luois RUIZ SJ Argentina ( head of the internet office of the Holy see) JP2 created it 15 years ago. Mons Celli worked with it right form the start. Our basic idea as Holy see what does our work mean? What services we need to provide and communicate Vatican to the world. The institutional site does not have facilities web 2.0 offers.
Thaddeus Jones (USA) PCCS project development of a web portal for media convergence. NEWS.VA (A preview at the “Vatican Blog meet” world news at the Church being in dialogue with the world. Social media for Vatican media and broadcast live events. Android and Ipod applications. www.intermirifica.net online catholic media net work around the world.
Eva Janosikova (Slovakia) WYD social zone 2.0 mobile bus social n email@example.com. The question: what are we going to do with all the WYD people from the social network?
Marco Sanavio (Italy) social media is changing the face of our diocese. The web pastor. Launch an institutional site. What happens in a diocese with the social network. Distance Learning… network. The peace network… raised funds for charity. Reaching 450 parishes thru distance learning… so Bricks and Clicks…
The Vatican Law on copy right…. To pay attention to the integrity of the content. To enhance the need to ensure the content when picked up is correct.
Pls chk UCAN report: http://www.ucanews.com/2011/05/03/asian-bloggers-meet-at-vatican/