And thanks to my new best friend, reporter Jennifer Brinker, for such a nice story about the Saint Louis Catholic blog in this Friday’s Review. The article is part of the Living Our Faith section this week, which focuses on using technology to spread the faith.
St. Louis Catholic uses blogging to share his love for the Church
When a local Catholic man launched his blog a little more than two years ago, he initially found it a way to share what he was thinking “without forcing it on anybody.”
But as he quickly learned, St. Louis Catholic (stlouiscatholic.blogspot.com), has developed a following among those who love the Church and her teachings and desire to defend the faith.
St. Louis Catholic’s sole author uses the pseudonym “The Timman.” He’s asked not to be identified for this story. What he does identify on his blog is that he attends St. Louis Francis de Sales Oratory, the largest church in the St. Louis Archdiocese that celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass.
St. Louis Catholic was launched after encouragement from a friend, he said in a recent interview with the Review. Some of his initial postings were focused on his support for Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, former St. Louis archbishop and now prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome.
“My purpose in starting this was basically to support the archbishop and defend the faith and sacraments,” he said. “I love the Church and I want to defend and support her. Basically, I deal with Catholic issues of morality and political interaction as it touches on the moral law.”
In addition to sharing his views and information on the archdiocese and the greater Church, he also injects his commentary — often laced with a dose of good humor — into secular news stories on issues including abortion, stem-cell research and political figures who identify themselves as Catholic but don’t follow Church teachings.
At its beginning, St. Louis Catholic attracted about two dozen people a day. Two years later, the blog receives about 1,000 unique visitors a day, The Timman said.
“When anything happens with Archbishop Burke or the Institute (of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, which administers St. Francis de Sales), or the local Church, I can pick up about 10,000 (people) a day.”
To encourage people to come back and keep reading, The Timman said he tries to post at least one entry a day.
He also spends a part of the day checking comments submitted by readers, which are posted below each blog entry. Often, those will develop into a deeper discussion, sometimes even with readers disagreeing with one another.
In some ways, that dialogue has the ability to form what he called a “virtual parish” community.
“For someone who is really trying to be Catholic, they have the ability to bolster their faith and go out and share it with others,” he said.
The Timman stressed that while he communicates with others about the faith online, “anybody who knows me sees that when you talk to me, I don’t stop being a Catholic face-to-face. The computer, to me, adds to the number you can reach.”
But most importantly, he noted that while Catholics can use blogging as a venue to share their faith with others, they also must keep in mind that the Church alone has teaching authority.
“I am not part of the Magisterium,” he said. “I would want to be corrected if I am wrong. I don’t want to be the Internet pope.”
“The Timman” at St. Louis Catholic shared several favorite blogs that he regularly visits. They include:
Rorate Caeli, which offers the latest Church news from Rome: rorate-caeli.blogspot.com
New Liturgical Movement, which focuses on the liturgy and liturgical arts: www.newliturgicalmovement.org
Southern Illinois Catholic, which reports on news in the Belleville, Ill., Diocese and beyond: soilcatholics.blogspot.com
Catholic Key, the blog of the newspaper of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese: catholickey.blogspot.com
Rome of the West, which features photography of local churches: www.romeofthewest.com