Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bloggin' Eminence

In a watershed development, beginning today the first blogging American bishop will be Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston.

The Capuchin prelate'll be posting on an ad experimentum basis as he makes his first trip back to Rome as a cardinal; the initiative is his own, a result of the interest he's had in the blogosphere for quite some time....
Following the lead of numerous political, entertainment, and sports figures who are flirting with new communication media in an effort to reach the public, O'Malley is planning to file items at least once a day during a 10-day trip to Rome that begins today and will consider making the blog permanent, depending on how the experiment goes.

``I am . . . looking forward to a new opportunity to communicate directly with Catholics of the archdiocese through my own blog," O'Malley, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston, said in a statement yesterday. ``While this is a new venture for me and for the archdiocese, I am eager to take advantage of the latest technology and mode of communication to share with Catholics of the archdiocese my experiences as I return to Rome and, more importantly, to share with everyone a sense of what it is that Boston's archbishop does on business in Rome representing the people of the archdiocese."

O'Malley is traveling to Rome primarily for a ceremony associated with his new status as a cardinal: On Oct. 1, he will formally take possession of his titular church, Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. O'Malley will have nominal administrative and financial oversight of the church, which is famous as the home of a provocative Bernini statue and as the setting for a particularly gruesome scene in the Dan Brown novel, ``Angels and Demons."

O'Malley will also be presiding at a Mass on Sept. 23 in San Giovanni Rotondo, in southeastern Italy, honoring Padre Pio, an Italian saint who, like O'Malley, was a Capuchin Franciscan friar.

O'Malley's spokesman said the cardinal, who has a computer on his desk and who uses e-mail for regular communication, would write his own blog items, but that a staff member would post them and upload photographs. The spokesman said the archdiocese has not decided whether to allow readers to comment or interact with the cardinal through his blog.
Congrats and welcome to the newest among us.