Monday, May 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

“Beyond doubt, it is impossible to ignore a reality that ever more assumes the characteristics of a "cultural movement," able to intercept and interact with the public in uncontrollable ways. We can say that we are in new squares and new cathedrals -- virtual spaces, to be sure, but ones inhabited by people who communicate, express ideas, tell stories, ask hard questions and expect answers. We can not, then, avoid this call to dialogue, taking into account that it entails a fluid world, a complex, articulated one in continual movement....

The desire that governed us in organizing this event was, then, to welcome, understand, and listen to the requests, hopes, fears, doubts, the aspirations and challenges of this most vast community that follows the life of the church more than we could possibly imagine.

From this appeared the need, expressed clearly during the meeting, to decipher the mentality, the culture and philosophy that animates the bloggers, so that the church might be able to undertake a new evangelization and spark public opinion, learning itself to be interactive and not anchored only to a pyramidal style of communication that is foreign to the culture of our time. It can overcome a merely one-directional communication, without possibilities of dialogue and exchange, something destined to leave an impression of rigidity and self-reference.

It remains an indisputable given that the culture and the philosophy of bloggers needs to be decodified, surpassing the prejudice that speaks of an unthinking, instinctive communication. On the blogs we don't solely find a pigeonholed postcard at digital speed, in which news emerges in real time and everyone affirms what he wishes and as he wants, like an online newscast in which all can find, for free, their own information and receive it in exchange. Surely, this is an aspect of the blogosphere, but above all, the cultural dimension of the phenomenon needs to be singled out: we are in the presence of a "way of life." In fact, the weblog (the original word for blog) is a chronicle in electronic format that doesn't just list facts but comments on them from one's personal sensibility, so it is a reflection on daily life and, in a certain way, an interpretation of existence....

The encounter of 2 May has made us understand that a new reality is growing that communicates emotions, sentiments, impulses of the spirit, opinions and stories in an unedited way that [Marshall] McLuhan himself would never have expected.... Let us seek, then, to reflect on the ideas raised in this dialogue, even the most suggestive, interesting and even slightly provocative, to highlight the necessity of not letting this meeting of bloggers remain only one event to be consigned to the annals of history, but that it becomes the first step of a long path of listening to the many people who wish to speak with us.
--Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi
President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
"Between church and bloggers, a successful face-to-face"
L'Osservatore Romano
22 May 2011

Three weeks after the Vatican "Blogfest," lest any doubt remained, the place is still standing, and everyone got out alive -- and, for that matter, un-excommunicated.

Memorable and sweet as it was, the experience has made for quite a lot to process and reflect on since, so a couple thoughts from this end should finally see print over the next few days.