|Okay, apparently this priest |
WANTED to go to Siberia...
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Why Priests Should Blog
I know that there are a lot of priests who blog – as well as a few bishops. I don’t really know anything about the prevalence of priestly blogs out there, but I don’t think it’s a high frequency occurrence. It is certainly not in my diocese.
Now, if you’re an orthodox priest with a “liberal” bishop,
you might have a problem. If you blog about current issues from the standpoint
of the Church’s teachings, your liberal parishioners will complain directly to
the bishop, and you might get sent to your diocese’s version of Siberia. We all
know it’s happened before – as in Fr. Michael Rodriguez of the El Paso Diocese
P.S. If you’re a priest with a liberal bent, don’t blog. Times are a-changing, and your unorthodox teaching will become more public than you want it to. And sooner or later, it will be the heterodox priests who are relegated to “Siberia”, and the orthodox pastors will reclaim their flocks. Bwaaaa-haaa-hah!
But I think it’s something parish priests should consider. There’s a lot of potential in a blog, I think, especially on the parish level. So much can be posted there: any last-minute update or change in the parish bulletin; reminders about upcoming events; a good homily; important current events erupting in the news media; even some discussion of issues can be allowed via the comments section.
I’m convinced that parishioners would read a blog by their priest on a fairly regular basis – especially if it’s updated frequently (daily is best).
Yes, yes, I can hear priestly voices right now saying, “Where would I ever find the time?!”, and I can practically see those priestly eyes rolling! Some are thinking, “I’m just not a writer” or “I don’t use the computer that much”.
But there are answers to these objections!
Objection #1: time. Yes, a blog takes time – but think of the pay-off in terms of number of people reached. Suppose it takes an hour to write and publish a post; well, that’s an hour spent preparing a message that may reach dozens of people. How many parishioners could the priest meet with individually in his office in that same period of time? The blog can also save time for the priest: if hot parish issues arise, the priest may be able to forestall some phone calls and maybe even complaints by addressing that issue on his blog.
Objection #2: writing ability. The priest complaining that he’s “just not a writer” might consider finding a parishioner or two to help him. I guarantee you that there are people in every parish who would love to write something for the parish blog. Let them write, and then the priest can edit and/or approve or disapprove the post. Similarly, most priests don’t actually write the parish bulletin each week; the same principle applies. Delegate!
Again, think of the potential!
Suppose, Father, that you have prepared a stellar homily for a daily Mass, because the Gospel reading just struck you in a way that brought inspired thoughts to be passed on to the faithful. It’s practically a certainty that you don’t have as many parishioners at daily Mass as you do at Sunday Mass, and your words of wisdom will reach only those who attend Mass that day.
Enter: The Blog.
Your stellar homily can be reproduced as a post on the blog! Now those who can’t attend daily Mass will have the opportunity to
read those words of wisdom. They will have a dose of spiritual reading and
edification that they would miss otherwise. I know there are people who find
other websites for this very purpose; many would just as soon be reading their
own pastor’s words.
Suppose also that important political events are occurring, which have a profound effect on the Church. Take, for instance, the fast-moving events around the initial announcement of the HSS contraception mandate. A blog offers the priest the opportunity to spread the word about important events, even as they are “breaking news”. And shouldn’t the faithful keep up with Catholic current events…and current events that impact the Church?
Let’s face it: most people who come to Sunday Mass will not come to any other Church-related event during the week. They may drop the kids off for RE on Wednesday nights, and there are always the handful of women having a Bible study on Thursday mornings. A lot of folks will show up for something where food is offered…
But by and large, the priest’s chance to reach his flock is at Sunday Mass. And you can only cram so much into that space of time. The fact that the printed bulletin is read at announcement time in so many parishes attests to the lack of confidence we have in people’s willingness to actually read the bulletin. Part of the reason for that problem is that the bulletin is often pretty much the same week after week after week, especially in a small parish; people read a few entries and think “same old stuff” and miss the one new item buried in the midst of the reruns.
A blog, though, could and should move fast, and it can highlight upcoming events in a way the parish bulletin simply can’t.
Of course, there’s one problem with a blog: the priest behind it
might absolutely will get criticized. By parishioners. By people who
don’t even live in his parish. By the Bishop.
Oh yeah…the Bishop.
But now is the time to be bold and brave and true to Holy Mother Church. We – the lay faithful – really need courageous priests who will tell us the truth, help us reclaim our Catholic identity, and encourage us to grow in holiness rather than mediocrity.
And if you’re criticized by parishioners? Well then, YOU will grow in holiness.
And there are only so many “Siberia’s”, right? If many priests start blogging the truth, an unsupportive bishop will run out of places to send you all.
On that cheerful note…