Monday, 9 July 2007

A tag, sir, a palpable tag…

Mac has tagged me to write about blogging.

1. How did you start blogging?
Well, really, because a good friend, also a blogger, persuaded me. I didn't really think I would stick with it, and that is why I was so reluctant to begin. I have been writing (under my own name) occasionally for the Catholic Herald over the last dozen or so years, and enjoyed the experience of the exchange of views. I think I'd have like to have been a journalist, in a different world. Blogging gives me a larger audience than my own parish. I love my parish very much, but there are hardly any people who see things the way I do, which is a rather lonely place to be. Through the medium of the blog, I can interact with lots of people and share views with many who understand where I am coming from. Those who don't will self-select and surf on to other sites.

2. What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful?
My blog is intentionally different to, say Fr Tim's or Fr Ray's. Both of those are quick with the news and to provide reflections on it. Unless I get a real scoop, I don't see much point in going over the news yet again when it has been done better elsewhere. What you will find on Nova et Vetera is simply my take on the world. What I find interesting or worth comment, in other words. So I make no apology for writing about supermarkets, Fr Ray, and likewise I make no apologies for not giving everyone yet another full text of the Motu Proprio (a topic in which, though, I am passionately interested); why reinvent the wheel?
In that sense, my blog is really a sort of on-line diary, not an Ecclesiastical Reuter's.
As to whether I have been successful, well, that isn't for me to say, really. I mean, in the sense that I have written quite a lot of what I am thinking, then yes, it has been successful. As to whether anyone else is interested in it, well, you tell me.

3. Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?
Well, yes. I don't write about my parish on Nova et Vetera, for reasons which some of you will understand. That saddens me, because really the parish is the most important single element in my life, and you, the reader, are seeing only a two-dimensional image of me.

4. What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?
How some people will twist and maliciously use what one writes. How nasty people can be under cover of anonymity. But that's good for me; it toughens me up. I have always said that every priest should pray for two things; a tender heart and a tough skin.

5. Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?
I don't really have much family any more; I'm an only child, and my cousins have their own lives and families which I'm reluctant to disturb. No doubt if I had a wife and children of my own, that would be different, but I suppose it's a bit embarrassing for them to have a priest in the family. Not that they've ever said anything of the sort; it might just be my imagination. I think one cousin used to read a different blog of mine occasionally.

6. What advice would give to a new blogger?
Be a bit circumspect about what you write; not all readers will be friendly. Just look at Damian Thompson's blog to see how nasty people can be in the comment box. But if you put your thoughts out there, you must be prepared to see them being shot down, and you must be prepared to take criticism, and post all fair comment even if it doesn't agree with your opinions. However, don't be afraid not to publish every comment you receive; sometimes people will be unfair, or even malicious, and it's okay to edit these out. Fair comment is one thing, unfair is another.

So there we are; I may have written more openly and honestly than I should. But that's blogging!


Anonymous said...

Thank you, I was touched by your honesty and openess.

Ma Beck said...

No family??
You have one billion children, and I am just one of the daughters who reads your blog!

Anonymous said...

"As to whether anyone else is interested in it, well, you tell me."

I very much enjoy your quick wit and humor; and will add your "two-dimensional" self outshines many three-dimensionals!

Matermari said...

".. there are hardly any people who see things the way I do .."

But there are those who are prepared to undertake a 40-mile round trip to attend Mass in your parish,consider it a privilege to do so and never fail to come away uplifted and spiritually refreshed. And who, if necessary, wouldn't hesitate to defend you from scurrilous attacks.

Fr Justin said...

40 miles? I wonder who that could be.

Matermari said...

Well, about 18/19 miles in each direction, and usually only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Unfortunately we have other commitments on Sundays ...

the owl of the remove said...

Father - great point about praying for a "tough skin" - that was a prayer request of mine a couple of years ago on retreat, because I felt I needed it badly, priests can receive alot of very unpleasant criticism. I was given (by the Lord, I hope!) the answer at the end of my retreat - the episcopal motto of Blessed Clement Von Galen, the great Bishop who stood up to Hitler: "nec laudibus, nec timore" - for the non-latinists "not for praise, nor out of fear." Hope that helps!