After the silencing of a Catholic blogger in England, this is an important topic.
An editorial in the Catholic Herald makes the point that the “emergence of the Catholic blogosphere is one of the most significant developments in the 21st-century Church.” Blogs and bloggers should be embraced.
…Blogs not only provide a new space for the free exchange of Catholic opinion but also take the Church deep into the online world in which increasing numbers of people spend most of their waking lives. Catholic blogs, at their very best, have a kind of prophetic dimension. Of course it’s unpleasant to be denounced by the Jeremiahs of the internet, but if they help us reflect critically on the way we use whatever authority we have in the Church they are performing an important service.
Blogging has proven to be more than a noughties fad. Throughout this century people’s views of the Church are likely to be shaped by what they read in the Catholic blogosphere. This presents a challenge both to bloggers and bishops. Bloggers need to up their game, striving to uphold the basic media standards of truth, fairness and accuracy, and reflecting constantly on whether they are presenting the faith appealingly to non-Catholics. The bishops, meanwhile, should consider embracing the Catholic blogosphere. The best way to do this would be through face-to-face meetings with bloggers in their dioceses. Misunderstandings could be resolved and bloggers encouraged to bring bishops’ messages to a vast new audience.
No doubt this is a risky, potentially bruising path. But in a pluralistic, internet-saturated century we have to use every means available to bring the message of salvation to a largely agnostic public.