The Catholic Church needs active members who blog, but Catholic bloggers also need the church, especially to remind them of the virtue of charity needed in their writing, said participants at a Vatican meeting.
The meeting was sponsored by the pontifical councils for culture and for social communications. The councils accepted requests to attend, then drew the names of the 150 participants once the requests were divided according to geography, language and whether the blog was personal or institutional.
The Vatican meeting was not designed as a how-to seminar, and it was not aimed at developing a code of conduct, but rather to acknowledge the role of blogs in modern communications and to start a dialogue between the bloggers and the Vatican.
Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of Pontifical Council for Social Communications, welcomed the bloggers to the Vatican and told them the Vatican wanted to begin “a dialogue between faith and the emerging culture” that is the blogosphere.
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.
“Bloggers are important” for forming and informing church members, Father Lombardi said, but anyone who influences what Catholics think must recognize the responsibility that brings with it.
Father Lombardi said he had to thank bloggers for the times they acted to explain and spread church teaching and the thought of Pope Benedict.
But he also said that the whole question of bloggers’ self-centeredness and “ego” is “one of the problems which is worth reflecting on,” because while it is a danger for all communicators, a communicator who calls him- or herself Catholic must focus first on serving others.