So after the SSPX quickpost, I just caught a whiff of this, initially thanks to The Deacon's Bench at Patheos, but the original source is CNA (Catholic News Agency):
In summary of the article, The Pope has placed a bit to get the domain name (e.g. like .com, .gov, .org) "dot Catholic." Head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Msgr. Tighe, quotes this in the article as to why the Vatican is taking this cool new step:
"Controlling the top-level domain "will be a way to authenticate the Catholic presence online," Msgr. Tighe said. The Vatican plans to allow "institutions and communities that have canonical recognition" to use the extension, "so people online -- Catholics and non-Catholics -- will know a site is authentically Catholic."
This I must say is a very important step for the Vatican. Sadly, the majority of "Official" media for the Catholic Church, is still print publications like newspapers and such in dioceses. While the Vatican's website has been a great start, lately the biggest monster to hit the social communications atmosphere in the Church, is the work of websites, especially bloggers (including yours truly). Whether they be a little young (but old) soul like me writing anonymously, or a more powerful entity in the Catholic Blogosphere, like e.g. Rocco Palmo the "Church Whisperer" or Fr. Zuhlsdorf for the Traditional Catholic side of things, we collectively are having a powerful influence on the Faith.
Considering that this year is dubbed "the New Evangelization" and the next Bishop's Synod is devoted to it, plus web-based media is the thing now in terms of social communication, it is a great joy to see the Vatican under Benedict XVI taking an active role in doing so. 75 year mandatory updates isn't going to cut it anymore in our technologically fast-paced world that has a new Iphone every 1-2 years.
Further, speaking on behalf of my generation that are fatihful practising Catholics that actually care about our faith, the 3rd post Vatican II (and it's havoc that the "Spirit" of the council unleashed into the world), we have learnt (and/or are starting to learn) the True Catholic Faith and teachings. We've mostly encountered this not thanks to our watered-down school systems and our print media and our clergy (of whom the majority are infected with the "Spirit of Vatican II" that hold major positions of power, not the new young bucks of the JPII and B16 generations of seminarians) but rather we were smart enough to bypass them and get the majority of that truth from websites and blogs. Some prominent examples include: www.vatican.va/ containing all the documents of Vatican II, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, other writings of prior popes and the Roman Curia, etc.; www.catholic.com/ the world's largest online apologetics organization, and other YouTube channels for various dioceses (content variable in orthodoxy) or independent efforts like Fr. Barron's Word on Fire ministry. I am not alone in this journey or my means of coming back to my faith. My fellow Canadian blogger, Optimusmastro, also shared this *sentiment with regard to another issue in his diocese, but it pertains here, with my emphasis in bold:
".... We moved beyond VCR's to Tevo, beyond analog to digital, ...Its just the next logical step... From a personal standpoint, it was throught the online community that most of my generation who practice their Faith were introduced to actually learning it. At times, the diocesan newspaper was nothing more than a mouthpiece for the 'spirit of VII' poltergeist promoting syrupy stories, a leftist agenda and absolutely no call to action. As that little old lady from the commercials in the 80s used to say,..'Where's the beef?!?' Sooo, the JPII generation when we wanted to be fed, by passed the out of date models and headed straight for the Vatican website, straight for Catholic Answers, EWTN, and recently Real Catholic TV...The internet and social media is now producing a generation of fervent believers, ready to defend the Church and ALL Her teachings!
So as a blogger myself, I am glad to see the Vatican taking a crucial step in this matter. This will especially help when it comes to the "wired" youth of my generation and the Millenials somewhat below me. Also, I do generally approve the concept of a regularized front of web sources monitored by a central governing/certifying body, because in our credential-sick world, nothing impresses people (and sadly on both sides of the spectrum including liberal "c"atholics) more than getting the Vatican's seal of approval to say "my stuff is valid and should be listened too."
HOWEVER, I have two MAJOR sticking points where I feel the Vaitcan is being stupid about this. These are BIG howevers.
1. Who will play the role of "Big Brother?"
I am concerned for the majority of the Catholic web, more on the context of the old saying "who is watching the watchers?" See it's all good and well to have this official organization so to speak and bring governance to the Catholic web to reign in those nutjobs that make the faith look bad. However, as many of us who do traverse the Catholic web and blogosphere know, not all is well in the Vatican, and there is much politics and power playing a foot. Most of the current prelates .... do not seem to be on the side of the Holy Father. They are still sick with the "spirit of V-II". Slowly B16 is trying to bring back order to the hierarchy of the Church with prudent and wise elections of new prelates and bishops, but this is not always the case, and it is likely that he will die before the entirety of his generation does. And who knows who will take over? (I'm currently hoping and praying for Collins despite my last couple of postings, cause I still want Canada on the Catholic map lol!)
Also, I don't know whether Tishe's leans pro-Benedict and pro-Tradition or if he's a spirit of Vatican II-er in disguise. Thus I ask, will be the central head of this domain? What will he do? I would feel more confident if the Holy Father or those known to be his allies were governing this. Why? Because what if one of those "liberals" becomes elected under Benedict's rule, while poor B16 is weak and tired and slowly declining in health and mental acuity. Everyone comes flodding in to be a part of the elite club of .catholic sites. However, say optimusmastro and I band together and form a hypothetical "young adult" online apostolate under their guidelines and is approved by his bishop in his Quebec diocese. Well, we're pro EF and we speak our minds. Mr. V-II spirit master and his horde of elected "yes men/women" decide we are not "fit" for the mandate of the .catholic club. But he lets in sister-reiki-pantsuit's religious order site and Fr.AverageNiceGuy's website for the diocese of AverageCatholic and on those sites, there is no Catechism references and the usual reflections with "jesus loves everyone" secular humanism garbage or more New Age garbage, of which is indicated in Vatican writings and the Catechism not in conformity with the Magisterial teachings of the Church. Thus, under the main body of authority in the institutional Church in the Vatican, once again, as usual, true faithful Catholic dioceses and organizations will be discriminated against through another form of social media so that like the pigs in Aminal Farm state "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." And seeing as religious orders are part of it, what happens when the SSPX become canonized? Their stuff is already contested and somewhat anti-Novus Ordo Church on some of their regional websites. Even if they clean everything up post-canonization, will Tishe or whomever is "big brother" reject them, despite Ecclesia Dei or the Holy Father's canonical OK?
So this is my first worry.
2. THE BLOODY BLOGGERS ARE BEING IGNORED!!!!!
My gosh, really Vatican? Why are you being so inept with this effort? Considering you just had a "blogmeet" to try and see the effect we Catholic Bloggers have on the internet and how to incorporate us (due to our major driving force amongst the Catholic laity, at least electronically), Why are you imposing this bloody restriction!!!!!!:
"The Vatican does not plan to allow individual bloggers or private Catholics to use ".catholic," Msgr. Tighe said. Use of the domain would be limited to those with a formal canonical recognition: dioceses, parishes and other territorial church jurisdictions; religious orders and other canonically recognized communities; and Catholic institutions such as universities, schools and hospitals."
This has got to be one of the stupidest moves they've made with regard to tackling the Blogosphere. Why? First, not all institutions that are "Catholic" act like their Catholic. Most Catholic institutions, be it a hospital or school, has rejected Catholic teachings and even official Vatican documents or binding principles (e.g. most Catholic schools do not abide by "The Mandatum", Catholic hospitals have abortions on site and likely even Catholic doctors perform them). So you guys are only going to further "OK" dissent against your own institution and the True One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church? What hypocrisy! For crying out loud the CDF just had to BAN a textbook being promoted by a dissenting "religious" sister that WAS being used in classrooms in school (E.g. http://catholicnerdwriter.blogspot.ca/2012/06/from-someone-who-actually-read-book.html) and you want to give them OFFICIAL APPROVAL!!! Second, we bloggers are a crucial force to be reckoned with. We are likely to me more faithful to the Church's teachings, support the Holy Father in his efforts, and anything you want the Church to do, but fails at institutionally. Yes, we tend to not filter ourselves at times, but think of this way: Why should we be punished for obedience to the Church's teachings, and disobedience rewarded? This clearly makes no sense when you look at parents that have done so in their rearing of their children. By rewarding their children's selfish behaviour, they become self-serving individuals who place themselves either in financial or physical harms way after being brought up like that and pass it on to other people. So why are you excluding us from this golden opportunity? Third, the average Catholic or secular youth do not mostly give a rat's behind when it comes to dioceses, parishes, institutions and religious organizations. They will not be turned on by the faith when they view "St. regular's Catholic Church" and all the "services" we offer (unless there's a tempting offer to gain mandatory community service hours to graduate high school/Confirmation). Maybe they might clue into the youth ministry, but that's about it. Most youth and adults the New Evangelization seeks to reach don't even come to Mass post-Confirmation (at 13 years old), heck forget that, don't even come at all except for major Sacraments. So why would they be impressed by a website for their parishes. These people, even if they did come, don't even participate in parishes. And also, take a cursory look at most parishes' websites. How many of them are promoting Catechism teachings? Their dioceses' pastoral letters (certainly my dioceses' parishes arent!)? Sprirtual reflections that aren't "general fluff" or, dare I say, urgent action when our civil and religious liberties are threatened or a Q&A on a major moral/ethical issue?
When you put the above, and our watered-down to non-existent "catholic" education in schools," all into perspective, It's the bloggers (in addition to major apologetics websites) that are doing the gruntwork in trying to teach youth and others the answers to their faith that have been solely lacking from the regular forms of education/Catholic social media. Leaving us out is a big mistake, unless the Vatican is following up separately on that conference from last year around this time.
Overall, I'm happy that the Vatican is taking this crucial step to "get in with the times" when it comes to social media and communications. Think about it, when the printing press grew mainstream, books and print became huge and was everyone's source of main media. If people didn't adapt, they weren't listened to. Most people these days have their own smartphone/Iphone and are scanning the internet and web like no tomorrow. I've even witnessed children in elementary school having their own "Crack"berrys. If the Vatican doesn't get in the game, as well as dioceses, they will lose out on a crucial way to spread the Gospel and the True faith to many. And if they don't pick up on it, Satan and those who unwillingly/willingly do his work will.
However, keeping this to just major bodies and institutions is a crucial mistake on the Vatican's part. Our major institutional bodies are sick and ill with heterodoxy, and many of them will not be True to the Church's teachings, or are so ill equipped to even perform that role. Further, who will be letting people in and kicking people/organizations out? Who will investigate each organization's institution? Worse, because they may not listen to "those bloggers," they are often times missing out crucial information on the institution/organization's anti-Church stance, and once they are in, they are in and are extremely hard to kick out. Plus they are undervaluing our role in the Faith. Wasn't there some kind of emphasis post-Vatican II on EVERYONE in the Church participating in the roles of "Priest, Prophet, and King?" Properly taken, everyone is responsible for the proper and true dissemination of the Catholic Faith to the world. I just wish the Vatican was considering this more deeply.
If anyone has any crucial information to this effect, please fill me in! I'll update this post for sure.
Pax Tibi Christi, YCRCM.
* I differ from my colleague, in that
1) I consider myself part of the B16 generation, as I didn't think JPII was that great overall and had an active impact. To me he was more intellectual as a pope with his Catechism and Theology of the Body. Also I disapprove of his greater allowance of other cultures and religions pervading Catholic religious Masses and other Vatican things e.g. Assisi I and II. Also I reverted to my faith during the reign of B16 and I prefer people who have a balance of action and intellectual writings when it comes to my Church Saints and political figures.
[EDITED: June 12, 2012, 223PM.]
2) I will not promote actively RealCatholicTV- Now to be named ChurchMilitant.TV (due to the diocese of Detroit's disgust with them.) The awesome Optimusmastro has filled me in a bit more. It's not Bishop Vingeron (?) that's the culprit, it's the fools running the chancery! Boo laypeople in power, boo!!! While Voris does say what needs to be said at times, overall I've found with my experiences with him online led me to a spirit of anti-Vatican and anti-Clergy, especially any non-traditional bishops and the majority of the Novus Ordo Church (think along the lines of the sheep in Animal Farm: "Vatican II and Novus Ordo bad, EF and pre-vatican II good!" "All Vatican II clergy bad, all Ef clergy good!") The approach I've had to take with his stuff is caution: Watching what is necessary or intriguing when needed, and avoiding what I know will trigger my other 1/2, so as to keep my spirit in a state of theological Charity. However, obviously this is my personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect those who have had close contact with Voris, or work under him at ChruchMilitant.TV. Also as a side note, THANK GOD for Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa.