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Monday, 3 December 2012

Holy See compares bloggers to bakelite plugs

A cheeky metaphor for bloggers

As you all know, the Holy See has today launched the Holy Father's Twitter account @pontifex. At the time of writing, he has garnered over a quarter of a million followers in less than twelve hours without even writing a tweet. Viva il Papa!

And what a launch! Archbishop Celli and Mgr Tighe, President and Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, of Vatican Radio, and of the Vatican TV station, Professor Vian, Director of Osservatore Romano, and Dr Burke, Media Adviser at the Secretariat of State were all there - in the same room. Clearly peace has broken out among these departments which cynics insisted were at loggerheads with each other. "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb" and all that. I think there is room now for a new Pontifical Secretariat for Senior Communications Personnel of the Holy See - headed up by someone entirely new.

In the explanatory announcement, there is a cryptic endorsement of the likes of you and me - whether we are to be counted public Church figures or individual believers:
The Church is already richly present in this environment – there exist a whole range of initiatives from the official websites of various institutions and communities to the personal sites, blogs and micro-blogs of public church figures and of individual believers. The Pope’s presence in Twitter is ultimately an endorsement of the efforts of these ‘early adapters’ to ensure that the Good News of Jesus Christ and the teaching of his Church is permeating the forum of exchange and dialogue that is being created by social media.
My reading of the text is that there is a subtle hint to us to keep up with the times. Speaking of us as "early adapters", the suits (and/or cassocks) at Social Communications, Osservatore, Press Office (and Radio and TV) and the Segreteria are hinting that we will need to adapt and survive, perhaps also including a subtle reference to the need to explore new materials as they are invented.

The Italian translation speaks of "pionieri" which is obviously a mistake since the English version is the original text. They mistook the English as though it read "early adopters." I don't buy it. We are being compared to bakelite plugs and there is no shame in that.
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