Nearly five years ago, I started a Catholic blog that has been modestly successful. The high-point was when I was invited to the Vatican Blogmeet in May 2011. During those exhilarating days of Benedict’s pontificate, bloggers raised their voices in support of the German Pope.
Now the voices are going quiet. Talking to my fellow bloggers, they say that their minds are occupied with spiteful thoughts on Church politics. Some have taken an unfair personal dislike to Pope Francis, and this aversion has coloured their blogging to such an extent that they fall into two categories: blogging to critique the Pope or not blogging at all. If Catholic blogging is limited to Vatican politics and the personality of the Pope, then it will always run out of steam.
In response to the “there’s nothing to blog about” grumble, why are some grand occasions being ignored outright by the Catholic blogosphere? For instance, just over a week has passed since August 16 when Pope Francis beatified 124 Korean Catholic martyrs. Their beatification was not given adequate attention on the blogosphere.
Martyrs will make a difficult subject if you don’t like writing about blood-spilling. There’s always the alternative of blogging about saints who were not put to death because of their faith. Even in modern time, saints like St Therese of Lisieux have a remarkable popularity. Showcasing the good works done by Catholic saints also helps improve our image and grabs the attention of non-Catholics who, for example, might urgently need prayer for an illness.
My most successful blog posts have not been about papal politics but about Padre Pio. There are times when I find it hard on my nerves to write about Padre Pio because had he met me, I don’t think he would think well of me. But readers continually say they are “very grateful” because they find that reading about Padre Pio helps them cope with their personal hardships.
As regards bloggers who are “low on inspiration”, perhaps they could devote their energy to myth busting? This takes patience and fortitude, but surely there is little excuse to be idle when by and large our society has such bewildered ideas about our faith. We have a missionary faith, and the Church exists for the aim of saving souls. Being Catholic means doing what we can – including using our blogs to bring back the lapsed and attract converts.
Ironically enough, Catholic blogging will have to become more richly Catholic to survive.
The Catholic Herald comment guidelines
•Do not make personal attacks on writers or fellow commenters – respond only to their arguments.