BY MICHAEL MULLINS
A few bloggers are fascinated by Père Michel-Marie, the 53 year old lounge singer turned priest from Marseilles who is also known as the Curé of Canabière. A role model for Country Priest:
It’s all there. His “street apostolate,” his rosary, and above all (simply because it lends itself to the YouTube medium), his liturgical piety.
Sandro Magister describes Père Michel-Marie’s parish on Rue Canabière,
which leads from the old port through ramshackle houses and shops, with many homeless, immigrants, Rom, where tourists do not venture to go, in a Marseille and in a France where religious practice is almost everywhere at the lowest levels, Fr. Michel-Marie has made the Catholic faith blossom again. ...
The affable priest of Canabière is a rigorous priest. Why take so much care with the liturgy? "I want everything to be splendid around the Eucharist. I want that at the elevation, the people should understand that He is here, truly. It is not theatre, it is not superfluous pomp: it is inhabiting the Mystery. The heart too needs to feel."
David Timbs’ latest blog is also a plea for priestly rigour, and his is critical of some priests of Country Priest’s generation who lack rigour in their homily preparation, showing “little evidence of having actually studied the texts” on which they are preaching. Consequently “Catholics are increasingly feeling isolated and alienated from the Word of God”. The problem, Timbs suggests, is that priests are preparing homilies but sourcing them from the Internet.
Some rather disturbing anecdotal evidence indicates that in the US especially but probably elsewhere, increasing numbers of preachers are becoming extremely lazy, are down-loading homilies and delivering them as if they were their own work. A commenter, for example, in Cathnewsusa has reported just recently that he and his wife heard the exact same ‘homily’ at two Masses on the same day in two different cities, 110 km apart.
There’s been much blogging about Pope Benedict’s own use of the Internet, as tweeter @pontifex, though he has not yet begun tweeting. Stephen Bullivant at The Tablet hopes that his use of the medium is more dynamic than that of the Vatican’s news service @news_va_en service, where he has guest tweeted before.
Pundits found in @news_va_en's monologic 'inviting followers, but following no one' approach, so alien to the web's current thinking, a metaphor for the Catholic Church itself. And as my brother remarked on Facebook after watching the official video of the Pope's maiden tweet: 'If it takes five aides to show you how to make one touch on an iPad and whilst doing so you look confused by the whole ordeal, you're still some way from joining the digital age, your Holiness.'
Brandon Vogt is more optimistic, offering “5 Suggestions for a Tweeting Pope”. These include providing value (“if you only tweet information that can be found elsewhere, that's not value”), engaging in dialogue (“Twitter is one big conversation. So if you're simply pushing out information, you're not using its full potential”), and being funny (“They don't just want to learn. They want to laugh and connect with a real human being”).
Pilgrims are also increasing their use of the Internet, but with online diaries more than tweets. Christine Hogan has been blogging from the CathNews pilgrimage, and Sentire Cum Ecclesia is doing the same. He has now moved from the Holy Land to Istanbul, and been struck by different interpretations of history in the museums.
It is useless today to try to point out that the invasion [and sack of the city in the 13th century] was not carried out by the Latin Church (Pope Innocent III condemned the action of the Crusaders) but directed by the Venetians (who were not under the pope’s control). After 800 years, this remains a blight on the good name of the Catholic Church in this area both among the Greeks and the Turks. it is a reminder to us that the horrific scandals of the Church (including the present scandal) will never, in a sense, be “over”. History cannot be obliterated. It can only be faced honestly and without censureship [sic].
Michael Mullins, founding editor of CathNews, compiles this 'Blog Watcher' column every week.
Disclaimer: CathBlog is an extension of CathNews story feedback. It is intended to promote discussion and debate among the subscribers to CathNews and the readers of the website. The opinions expressed in CathBlog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference or of Church Resources.