The Web Magisterium and Other Weighty Matters

Tonight, after first vespers of SS Peter and Paul, the pope is going to launch the long-awaited Vatican news portal, If the sneak preview we were treated to at the Vatican Blognic is anything to go by, it will be worth waiting for. Benedict XVI is not perhaps the most naturally web savvy of men, but under him the Vatican has made strenuous efforts to improve its online presence (in the case of the Vatican web site the verdict must be ‘could do better’, but at least it’s a start).

I was mulling over this when I found on my Twitterstream a link to Fr James Martin’s reflections on what the Church is/is not doing online. Taken together with the same author’s Ten Dos and Don’ts, and the wise words of Pete Phillips on engagement with social media, we have a helpful summary of how best to make our web presence constructive. Needless to say, Digitalnun nodded her head in agreement over most of it and wondered whether we, as a community, come anywhere near to living up to the ideal. Is there scope here for a seventy-fourth chapter of the Rule?

One particularly eye-catching phrase used by Fr Martin was ‘the web magisterium’. What a perfect way to describe a phenomenon most of us have encountered from time to time (and maybe even been guilty of ourselves on occasion): the self-appointed guardian of the Church, who knows how to castigate what is wrong with bishops, priests and religious; who has the solution to other people’s problems and believes in ‘speaking the truth in love’; who is blissfully unaware of his/her own feet of clay and regards disagreement as a form of martyrdom. I’m not sure which is scarier: the liberal or the conservative manifestation. All I can say is, I thought about it a little, and trembled!

Finally, a sad day for bloggers: Mouse is hanging up his laptop for while, to concentrate on Mrs Mouse and the Baby Mice. We shall be the poorer for his loss, but children grow up fast, so perhaps he will return to the blogging scene earlier than we realise. Hope so.


5 thoughts on “The Web Magisterium and Other Weighty Matters”

  1. Thanks for links to James Martin but one of your links is broken: it’s the wise words of Pete Philips !

    The magisterium – ah yes….
    In the last few days I have had requests from a few people who I have never met from Opus Dei to follow me on Twitter. Is it a coincidence or a subtle form of potential thought policing ?

  2. Thanks for this – I’ll bookmark it – it looks good.
    Thanks also for kind comments on my blog- I really appreciate knowing you like it !
    (As for Opus Dei I am still wary of this !)
    By the way- did you write that article for The Times yet?
    I would love to read it if you have a copy.

  3. Yes, Terry, just shows how up-to-the-minute blogging is these days, transcending the usual limitations of time!

    Alas, Phil, I just didn’t have time to write the article. Monastic life got in the way. (Readers who don’t do the English sense of humour/irony, please note this may not mean what you think it means . . .)

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