Young Catholics have now taken possession of the Web to better communicate and be heard (Simon / Ciric).
Five years ago, the Catholic blogosphere, lost in the depths of the Web, resembled a small archipelago animated by a few isolated lay people and young priests happy to be able to publish their homilies and dialogue with society outside the forecourt. Today, this expanding galaxy has nearly 300 blogs in France, according to a study presented last weekend by blogger Marc Favreau, former communications officer for the Diocese of Orléans, during a meeting organized by the Conference bishops in Paris.
Admittedly, this figure should be put into perspective because, in view of the map produced by Marc Favreau from the number of comments published for each blog in 2010, only about fifty of them, who have managed to federate a regular community of loyal commentators. , have real vitality and visibility. In particular, in the “top ten”, the beige Salon, Koztoujours, Talker, Patrice de Plunkett, overseas political Thoughts, E-deo, Seen from Rome, A faith a week, Golias
But, more interesting phenomenon, the Catholic blogs – which like all blogs really exist on the Web only according to the number of links between them – are organized in networks. The accelerating element was the media storm of spring 2009 when the Church accumulated in quick succession the Williamson affair, those of the condom and of the Brazilian girl from Recife. Catholic bloggers have taken a stand in the public debate, mainly to defend the Pope, to publish alternative information to that of the general media. Some bloggers, already active but isolated, have come together. These virtual links, also fed by social networks and Twitter, have even given rise to very real encounters, over a beer in a Parisian bistro.
Generation John Paul II – Catholic
Unlike the political blogosphere, mainly located on the left and in the center, Catholic bloggers today represent (if we apply political terminology to these questions) a fringe rather to the right, even very to the right of the Church. “Apart from Golias’s blog, few are those who are critical of the institution,” notes Marc Favreau. They are more blogs in defense of the Church, of the Pope. In addition, social doctrine mobilizes little, on the other hand, the most popular themes revolve around moral doctrine ”.
These bloggers are young laypeople, senior executives aged 25 to 50, most – but not all – Parisians, Catholics who want to be uninhibited, the John Paul II generation. Koztoujours is the bridgehead of a network of blogs that tackle, alongside Church subjects, political and societal themes from a “Christian Democrat” angle. Le Salon beige for its part (20,000 visitors per day claimed) is linked to several blogs of “traditionalist” or “pro-life” tendency for some close to the themes of the far right. Around the blogs of La Croix (Seen from Rome and One Faith Per Week ) revolves around a group of bloggers specializing in religious subjects ( Life of priests, Hôtel Synodal de Marc Favreau, Edmond Prochain ).
Voices that matter? Hard to say. Because if some blogs receive a lot of comments, the majority of commentators are subscribers. “These are globally quite closed worlds on themselves”, analyzes Marc Favreau. The activity of these networks is also boosted by bloggers from these galaxies, who refer to each other. Particularly in the “trade” sphere, limited to ten bloggers. Still, many specialized journalists subscribe to their blogs because, very responsive, these religious news watchers are a valuable source of information. And their peaks in attendance at the time of media crises show that they are attracting beyond their usual circles.
Some bloggers have recently been invited to the French Bishops’ Conference. “They seem interesting to us to follow,” confirms Anne Keller, CEF’s Internet communications manager. They are involved in the communication of the Church. Others have more recently established contacts with the political world. With its visibility (1,500 visitors every day, 4,000 subscribers on Twitter), Koz is leading a drastic lobbying activity on Iraqi Christians, euthanasia, and Copts. “I actually now want to use my visibility to help make things happen on certain subjects,” he admits.