As I was pondering this, I got a report that a prominent Roman Catholic Cathedral (no, not in Rome) had recently removed its poor box for the St. Vincent dePaul Society. This is the same place that's sidelining its devoted parish volunteers in favor of unknown seminarians, because no matter how professional, seasoned and well-prepared one is, no matter the experience and fervor a layperson brings to an assisting role in liturgy, it's the mission of the church to boot them in favor of sems-come-lately because the latter wear a collar and, ergo, are closer to God and holier than laypeople.
That's usually called sarcasm, folks. But it's really happening, and it sure ain't funny.... Elevating the clerical and erasing the Christian, how ridiculously conservative. It's a rare double-whammy.
But back to the open case question and a bit of advice: if you know anyone who seeks fulfillment in writing about the Holy See and the Catholic church, do everything you can to talk them out of it. They'd be better off editing cookbooks or driving the getaway van for militant Filipino hostage-takers, if it pays.
That said, welcome to my quandry. You're reading the ultimate not-for-profit source of news and commentary on the toughest beat in the world to cover. But six months in, I'm at a crossroads. I'd love to grow audience and keep on top of the beat 24/7 at all costs, but I have to be realistic for once (I hate realism) and do some navel-gazing as to whether the market's there for this style, for this information in real-time. If it isn't, then I'll have to go drive the getaway van and won't be around for the next big appointment, and that would just drive me somewhere else....
Hopefully, you've come to see that I'm not the sell-out type. Many, if not most, of my peer-blogs have either advertisers, publishers or books to back them up and that they can flog. I'm not that lucky -- but then again, weekly advertiser "shout-outs" or turning this into a subscribers-only platform dilutes focus and inserts variables that don't belong in an open forum.
I have three firm beliefs for the future, whatever it may bring:
1. That this Loggia should be beholden solely to news, not selling anything.
2. That it should remain open to anyone with a salient curiosity, and
3. That it should be kept as a public trust.
But as job postings for Vaticanisti are few and far-between (and as I've beaten the ones who hold those jobs to several major scoops -- which you've gotten to see before the rest of the world), I'm praying I can keep on. Then again, prayers can only keep access to a working cellphone and internet account going for so long, a scenario which makes even hostake-taker bosses look appealing.
So quo vadimus, denizens? I'm eager for your advice -- this place belongs to you as much as it does to me, and your feedback has made me feel that keeping on with this is a worthwhile project. Now it's your call: where do we go from here? Please comment here or drop me a line with your thoughts.
Thanks for all your support and candor these last months, it means the world. Keep it coming!