Friday, March 8, 2013

Conclave Talk and Social Media: Interview with Msgr. Paul Tighe, Pontifical Council for Social Communications

I'm seeing on Twitter that all 115 Cardinals are now in the Vatican so we will likely hear today when the Conclave will begin.  Watch my Twitter feed.  Also, since I cannot live blog everything that is happening, I recommend checking in at New Advent daily or several times daily for updates.  Kevin Knight runs the site and pics up much of the breaking news quickly and offers links to some interesting commentaries.

Listening to EWTN as a I worked the other day, I was able to hear an interview Joan Lewis of EWTN did with Msgr. Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.  The Holy See has really been diving into social media which is a good thing.  Radio, television, and print journals were once the sole avenues of mainline communications, but with the birth of social media, many are turning to blogs and other tools like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, among others.

If you think it is just young people who are using these "new media," you are mistaken. I know many seniors who use social media to varying degrees.  Not long ago, a 104 year old woman discovered a problem with Facebook in that the age field could not handle 3 digits - LOL.   People of all ages are using the internet and social media tools to share information. No longer is a mainstream press able to filter news through a particular lens. Older media are not going away any time soon, but they are not the exclusive means of information flow.

One real advantage of new media is that much of it is "on demand."  A second key advantage is that you no longer have to wait for the 6:00 news, or the next day's paper to find out what is going on.  Social media often has the news before it makes the news.  News junkies find their fill especially at Twitter.  In fact, I often see professional journalists picking up information at Twitter, just as I do.

The Holy See takes the use of social media seriously.  One of the more interesting tidbits to come out of the Vatican in this interregnum period is that high-end bloggers and others who have large followers on certain social media, are being accommodated with media credentials. He said they wanted to allow some of the most well-followed bloggers in on the process like other media, in recognition of the fact that this is how many get their information.  But, he says they are also screening them and using some discretion, saying, "we know who they are."  Msgr. Tighe discusses all of this in the interview below (start the video at around 12 minutes, 30 seconds, if you cannot watch the full interview.  That discussion goes on for about 2-3 minutes.


One blog has been given credentials that I know of, and that is Rorate Caeli.  They sent this tweet out last night:

Click to go to the link in Rorate Caeli's tweet.

It looks like Catholic Vote has someone there covering - John Shimek.

If anyone is aware of other bloggers or social media users going, please let me know and I'll update this post.  These will be good sources to follow, along with other Catholic news sources.

Some bloggers you might expect to be there, can't for various reasons.

Rocco Palmo of Whispers in the Loggia, reportedly won't be going as it is too cost prohibitive at this point.  Basically, there is no place to stay without very high costs at this point.  I'm disappointed for him as he offers a very interesting take.  Rocco's blogging specialty is the episcopacy.  He really does his homework and provides very detailed posts that have use, like the one he did on Archbishop-designate Sample of Marquette, now going to Portland to head that archdiocese.  Some have taken jabs at such work, because it doesn't focus on the poor, or the challenges of the Church. I think that is as unfair of criticism as it would be to criticize other blogs that focus on other areas of Catholicism. People miss this point: One of the advantages of following different blogs is that each blogger has a different interest. Just as the Church has needs for theologians, philosophers, and historians, the Catholic blogosphere has needs for such diversity of interests.  Add them all up and you get one broad picture.  The web would be boring if every blogger covered the exact same things.  While it looks like Rocco won't be among those covering the selection of a new Bishop of Rome, from Rome, he will undoubtedly be covering from home, which I'm sure will be well done, given ease of access of information.  It's not required for one to be "on the ground there, and I think that may even be a hindrance considering how overloaded that network in Rome will be.

Likewise, I'm not expecting Father Z to be in Rome since he is the main speaker at the Retreat at Sea by Church Militant TV from March 10-17. Undoubtedly, he will be doing all he can to get information just like the rest of us, but from a cruise ship.  That should be interesting.  I enjoy Father Z's take on all things Rome, so I hope he can squeak some posts in, but I wouldn't be surprised if Zuhlsdorf's Law kicked-in (either the ship's internet connection will present challenges, or the weight of traffic to his blog may, unless he was able to boost things to handle the load).

Update: I was just messaged that Father Z has bowed out of the Retreat at Sea, given the extenuating circumstances. It looks like he will be in Rome! Let's pray the blog issues don't hinder his work there.


Msgr. Tighe also talked about the new Pope App.  I have the Pope App on my iPhone (also available for Android), and I am amazed with how well it is done.  Msgr. Tighe said they pushed it ahead and so there may be some glitches. He said if people run into problems to let them know so they can be fixed. I don't know if the app has a reporting tool for problems, but if it doesn't, they should add one.

The Pope App was made by - a site that is all things Vatican, all the time.  It is well connected to all forms of social media, so if you are on Twitter or Facebook, you'll want to follow this particular site.  Look for your language in the upper right.  The Pope App has everything from news to streaming video, and live video when something is happening.  One more thing is that it is free.  Msgr. Tighe said it would be counter productive to charge for use of the app.  The social communications office is working hard to make sure that everything is at anyone's finger-tips at a given moment, especially as the Cardinal-electors head into Conclave.


Bishops, and even some cardinals have opened twitter accounts.  Of course, many of you are aware of the @Pontifex twitter account, currently sitting as vacant as the papal throne at the moment.  It is waiting for the next Pope.  For those who don't know, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI's tweets have been archived at the Vatican website.  I know others have raised some eyebrows at the thought of the Pope having a Twitter account.  I have no problems with it, and I think it is good.  It takes all of a few seconds to send out one or two tweets a day.  Some cardinals use it to quote from Scripture daily,  or from the Divine Office; others use it to pass along pastoral letters, or to discuss local events.  Of those in other countries, some are starting to tweet in multiple languages.  I have Twitter lists for Cardinals, a list for U.S. Bishops (including Cardinals), and one for Non-U.S. Bishops (including Cardinals).  If you are on Twitter you can subscribe to these lists (see the left side bar in each link).

Even some offices in the Holy See have taken out Twitter accounts, including the Vatican Secretariat of State.  This twitter account was there, but inactive some weeks ago.  Today, it went active with a tweet sent out in many languages. With the click of a button, I re-tweeted (seen with the green in the corner).

Click the pic to get to the Twitter account shown

If you open a Twitter account just to follow others, you can do so privately, or openly.  You can find other sources to follow by looking at who some of your favorites are following.  One word of caution is that many, including myself follow not just faithful Catholic sources, but we follow some less than faithful sources, and even outright dissenting sources, just to see what they are saying.  I'm not following the New York Times because I enjoy what they write; I just like to look through their garbage.  Sometimes, I might find something useful, but must of the time it's just trash, and I might want to point out what trash it is.


If you haven't done so yet,  please click the pic and go get yourself a cardinal to pray for.  Many language options have been added since I first blogged on it.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

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