Many a revolution is said to have started from the backroom of a bar. The bloggers who gathered May 3 in Scholar’s Lounge Irish Pub in central Rome are hoping for a very similar outcome.
“The real mission of the blogs is to evangelize a world that’s sorely in need of our Blessed Lord, the Truth and the Faith,” says keynote speaker Michael Voris of RealCatholicTV.com.
Around 30 bloggers from all round the globe had gathered for today’s event. Some had been invited to attend yesterday’s Vatican-sponsored blogging conference. Others hadn’t. Despite that, those behind today’s meeting say there’s no rivalry at play.
“A rival to the Vatican? Isn’t that silly! How can I possibly be a rival to the Vatican? If we were a rival event – or a counter event – I would have had it on the same day … and nobody would have come!” says organizer Hilary White of the Orwell’s Picnic blog.
“I had it because I knew that the Vatican meeting was going to be very formalized. I’ve been to lots of conferences and the best part of any conference is the break when you get together with people you’ve always wanted to meet and talk to them.”
Hence White's idea of having dialogue and debate over lunch and beer. The result seemed to be an atmosphere that was positive and a debate that was constructive.
“I think this was wonderful. I think this is what needs to happen,” says Voris.
“So many people on the blog who are good faithful Catholics and faithful to the Magisterium can sometimes feel individually isolated and marginalized due the different comments that come in. We all know we’re out there and just by talking to each other you realize this is, in fact, a community.”
Hopes were also expressed that local dioceses will now follow the lead of the Vatican in being relaxed about the existence of Catholic bloggers. The issue was discussed by a three-person panel which included Dorothy Cummings McLean of the Seraphic Singles blog.
“I think this was a very positive, intensely cheerful experience, the gathering of a group of Catholics who feel that they’re sometime misunderstood by the very people they like the most.”