To blog or not to blog

This is surprising, to say the least:

A poll of U.S. Catholics indicates that while only 5 per cent of respondents said they read or follow blogs on the Catholic Church, faith, or spirituality, 33 per cent of those surveyed said they would like their pastor to have a blog.

To be more precise, the 5 per cent bit doesn’t surprise me. My own blog consumption ebbs and flows, and I can go weeks without reading blogs — much less blogging myself.

But the 33 per cent bit surprises me a lot. I wonder where the other two thirds of respondents sit? There must be a sizeable minority who think it’s a contemptible waste of time — a group I sometimes identify with myself. There are many ways to exercise the apostolate, and blogging isn’t at the top of my list.

Still, I’ll perservere. When I’ve got something interesting to ponder, I like blogging. But long gone is the naive resolution to post daily, or at least several times a week, just for the sake of maintaining an audience. That’s not a good use of time — for me, or for readers. The Oatmeal (a web cartoonist) makes a good point about this:

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In fact, the Oatmeal’s entire post about writing for the web is worth reading. His observations about web-based feedback is spot on. Here he explains why he disables comments on his blog posts:

Read the whole comic — more of a cartoon essay, really. It contains crude language, but it’s full of good insights, and it will make you laugh.

  • MuMu

    Fr John, if you take a scroll down your comments you’ll see that most of the interest and the energy is concentrated on discussing life issues and how to evangelise the gospel of life.

    This is a most urgent task, particularly for laity who perhaps have more natural opportunities in their working/social/family lives.

    If the gospel of life is quarantined, there’s no point in talking about ANYTHING else, because if a person is dead from contraception or abortion and the perp’s soul is in mortal peril, other subjects come across as asinine.

    The recent Respect Life Sunday publication from the Melbourne Archdiocese Office of Life, Marriage and Family was centred on the grief experienced by parents who have lost a baby through stillbirth, miscarriage and abortion. Given that Catholic women (probably NOT practising catholic women) abort at the same rate as non-Catholics, I was saddened to see that nowhere in the leaflet was there any reference to the healing benefits of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I suppose this would have meant giving the impression that abortion is a grave sin incurring automatic excommunication! I wonder how many Catholic post-abortive women are leading lives of quiet agony because no-one has told them they need to go to confession?

    • Anne

      Mu Mu the leaflet in question is trying to show that it is “woman friendly” and not religious and open to all.
      Only this morning we reached a stage in 2 differenet counselling relationships with two non practising catholics where I was able to say ” it would be good to go to confession, think about it, and if you would care for it I will organise for a priest to come to my office, I will go and have a coffee and you can confess” but this has taken a mammoth task of many months, of convincing these two ladies of God’s love for them and their baby and NO God does not HATE them neither does their baby. God is able to see the regret and sorrow.
      Also it isnt only Catholics who feel this deep anguish even women without a religious belief feel the anguish. We must not make post abortion grief a “religious” problem. This is why it is not taken seriously by the mental health profession. If it is related to the woman’s religious upbringing then its only a religious problem when in fact it is a problem related with a woman’s design and law written on the woman’s heart (Jer 32:31-33) And it is related to her feminine , receptive nature. Abortion is contrary to all the woman’s design and irrespective of religious belief, it is her inner being which rebels at having to accommodate something alien to her. The killing of her own child, the one she is mandated to protect.
      Both sides of the abortion debate play politics. Thats how come it has become so entrenched.

      • MuMu

        Anne, the vast majority of post abortive women do not have the luxury of the kind of counselling you give. And EVERYTHING to with morality is religious. Trying to help post-abortive women without “religion” or, as I would prefer to express it, to put their experience in the true spiritual context, with spiritual means to heal their wounds, would be an uphill battle, to say the least.
        I am still dismayed by the Respect Life leaflet’s failure to give women the best weapon to fight their despair and self-loathing: the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is quite simple and plain and vital. No amount of sympathy, compassion, understanding, ete etc will do for post-abortive women what an honest facing up to the truth of what they have done and seeking the forgiveness of Christ in the sacrament.

      • Anne

        Mu Mu I can hear what you are saying, but mostly the women dont want to hear what you are saying at least for a while. Again this morning I saw my “girl” who has been with me for a time, (not catholic) but was able to speak with her and she with me for about 1 1/2 hrs on the healing of Jesus and his love for her and The Father’s love for her, and I invited her to ask Jesus in her denomination for forgiveness. And today she said “Anne, I am a mum arent I” “yes you are darling but of a baby who lives with God and one day you will see him”
        It has taken a mammoth work to get to this stage. Week after week of ups and downs. Days when religion was “rubbish” (according to her) days when she didnt believe in God because she prayed for help and he didnt answer.
        And I worked with those words that He did answer, and sent her to me.
        This work has to be gentle and slow and thats why I dont charge a few (though fully qualified) because it is slow work with stop starts, but the eventual outcome and result can be an understanding that the grief is a Redeeming Grief”. Again as for the leaflet its intent is to show that their work is not for the religious only.

      • Anne

        Correction “dont charge a fee”

  • I was in a monastery for two months and did not have the Internet and therefore did not blog. I did not miss it or other blogs one bit. However, when I went before God and prayed, I clearly heard, that God’s people were starving for the truth and I need to share my two fish and three loaves. Feed my lambs, feed my sheep…that is what we are trying to do in a small but effective way. 5% is not a bad statistic. How many Catholics read the Vatican newspaper or leading Catholic periodicals? I am sure it would be less.

    Keep it up, Father. This ministry will not go on forever, anyway as our days of freedom are numbered.

    God bless you.

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