A Guild of Catholic Bloggers is a terrific idea. Are we really too divided to form one?

Bloggers, including Hilary White, left, meet at an Irish bar in Rome (CNS/Paul Haring)

Blogging can get to you. Last Friday at Mass I misread the entrance antiphon and started to pray, “By your blog, O Lord, you have redeemed us from every tribe and tongue, from every nation and people…” It took me a few seconds to realise there was something not quite right about this; I checked again and saw the actual wording, “By your blood, O Lord…” It did cause me a distracted moment of amusement: God doesn’t “blog” directly, obviously – but he can inspire what people write on their blogs, just as he can inspire them in every means of communication.

I was mulling over this when a friend asked me this week to join a “Guild of Catholic women bloggers”. This would be a separate enterprise from the “Guild of Catholic Bloggers” suggested recently by Dylan Parry, aka A Reluctant Sinner, whose idea was highlighted by William Oddie. I declined the invitation. Why? Well, I think the idea of a Guild is terrific but to separate men and women would be divisive – and a lot less fun. I asked my friend why she wanted this. “The men are so traditionalist!” she replied.

I hadn’t noticed this myself (and would argue that women can be just as “traditionalist” as the men). Dylan Parry’s original idea was simply that “Any Catholic who is, or who is resolved to be, faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church is more than welcome to join any proposed Guild. The intention in setting it up is to form a society where those who blog can meet up in person, share ideas, organise workshops and attend an annual Mass together.”

I can’t recall if he suggested this Mass should be in the Extraordinary Form or not. At any rate, to circumvent the “traditionalist” criticism, Masses could be celebrated in either form. The essential point is to have a reverent and holy liturgy: as a child in the 1950s I have been to Masses in Ireland, where the traditional Latin Mass was often gabbled by the priest at breakneck speed, with nothing reverent about it; we would be in and out in barely 20 minutes. And we all know the abuses that can attend the Novus Ordo.

Reading all the dismissive posts under William Oddie’s blog was a depressing business. Are we Catholics so divided that we cannot form such a Guild? But Caroline Farrow’s post was heartening: she felt the proposed Guild should be for fellowship and support, the mutual exchange of ideas and that, allowing for legitimate liturgical preferences, we could all at least be united over life issues – abortion, euthanasia and so on. I hope so. As the nature of the internet is to be global, so should the Guild be also. We can meet in the blogosphere if not in person and Masses could be offered in either form anywhere in the world where there is a sympathetic priest-member. St Francis de Sales or GK Chesterton were suggested as patrons: why not have both?