Tuesday, 13 November 2012

"Facebook is the new parish hall"

A meeting between the US Bishops and Catholic bloggers has produced some interesting results so far.

One statistic that has been bandied around is that, in the USA, less than 5% of Catholics read Catholic blogs.

Hmm...that figure seems depressingly small....except that, in the US you have something like 77 million Catholics which means over 3.8 million of them read the blogs....can that be right?
Apply that to the UK with 5 million Catholics and you have 250,000 blog readers.

Well, all I can say is that they have not found their way to this blog.

But this meeting of minds with reference to the new communications technologies is incredibly, vitally important.

Firstly, a gold star to the US Bishops who went along with this meeting and, secondly another "well done" for
coming to terms with what is undoubtedly going to be the new means of evangelisation.

Imagine for one nano second that you are back in the 15th century and that you are witnessing the first book rolling off William Caxton's press - mass production of the written word, a new world of learning opening up for millions.
Well, multiply that impression by, say, several hundred millions and you have a crude idea of the enormity of the social media and how it may be used as a force for good.

I can imagine a world of nearly 4 million blog readers in the USA where, it has to be said, many of the blogs are of a high academic standard.
But I cannot reconcile a figure of 250,000 blog readers for the UK.

More like 2,500 I suspect. And that only goes to show that British bloggers (or, rather, readers) are a bit behind with things.

If our Bishops decided that it would be a good thing to emulate the Baltimore meeting, what format would it take?

Do many of them even know what a blog is? I suspect some might even go along with the priest that emailed me about 18 months ago stating that, in his opinion, all Catholic bloggers should be jailed.

But they would do well to look west and observe the goings on there.

The internet is a potent tool and blogging will, in the future, be a force that will bring down governments; ignore it at your peril.

As one famous American blogger, Mary De Turris Poust, put it: "Facebook is the new parish hall"

If any parish priest reading this (unlikely I know) is not already on Facebook - Carpe Diem!

A report on the US Bishop meets Blogger event is here.....



  1. Well Richard, could be that if a comment disagrees with the blogger it gets deleted or attached to the wrong blog thus taking it out of context. Hardly a basis for open discussion. Sound familiar?

  2. I really don't do any blogging any more but when I did you'd be surprised how many people in my parish were aware of it. I got comments and questions all the time when we saw each other. The same was true for people in the town I live near. Blogging has a measurable impact here in the States, especially among traditional/conservative Catholics.


  3. Anonymous, no, it doesn't sound familiar. I, along with many other bloggers, have a policy of removing all anonymous comments.
    Stick a name on your comment or, even a pseudonym and it stays in place provided that it's not abusive.


  4. Catawissa, yes I miss your blog and, yes I am sure that holds true for the States. Not in the UK though, don't know why really, it needs addressing. Richard

  5. If any parish priest reading this (unlikely I know) is not already on Facebook - Carpe Diem!

    Meet the unlikely priest. I am an associate in a large semi-rural parish. I have two (actually three) websites, AND I ALSO have a Facebook page, ROMAN CATHOLIC HOMILIES.

  6. There are too many bloggers and no impramaturs. We need to read authentic documents. FB is unmanageable, it has far too many meaningless entries. Computers were originally designed to save us time. The social media devices are time bandits.

  7. Do you find any irony in the fact that you are reading AND commenting on a blog, anonymous?

  8. I do love the 'net for the 'blogs (such as this excellent one), news, weather, and easy of writing to friends, but I'll skip the MySpaceFaceBook thing, at least for now. They are fashionable, and I refuse to be fashionable.

    - Mack in Texas

  9. I'm with you, Mack. I do have a Facebook account but only friends that I actually know are my friends on it. We all use it mostly for talking politics, religion and just keeping up. I've renewed some old and valued friendships with people I haven't seen in a long, long time.

  10. I've just been disowned by my cousin's daughter in America who had me down as 'family' up to yesterday because I dared to 'write on her facebook wall' a link to obama and his PP funding friends
    and this great Catholic sista at http://www.catholicsistas.com/2012/06/21/a-war-of-words-the-hhs-mandate/

    My relative is over the moon to have been 'talking' on the phone to her hero along with 30,000 others who he was 'thanking' for their volunteer support to re-elect him. She's very upset with employers who reject giving to the HHS mandate, thereby 'preventing poor people from getting health care'.

    Not only do liberals like her and most of my family in North America and Ireland not know the other side of the story, they do everything they can to make sure they never know! So much for dialogue.

    Prayer is the only answer. My recent experience with Catholic laity and clergy in the UK leads me to the same conclusion. There's no real heart to stand up for Catholic teaching on life issues. One could get very bitter - prayer is the only answer!


  11. Fr Larry, please come to the UK and speak to our priests.God bless. Thank you Mack, Catawissa and Epsilon - I would add 'action' as well as prayer.