.- The first ever Vatican sponsored gathering of Catholic bloggers is being hailed as a success by participants.
The conference was hosted by the Pontifical Council for Culture. It drew a large amount of interest with over 750 bloggers applying to attend and over 9 million Google hits on the subject over the past five weeks alone. Logistics determined that only 150 could take part, so organizers held a drawing, deciding who could attend.
At the end of the event, organizer Richard Rouse seemed delighted.
âIt went really well. Iâm really glad we had this meeting. It was completely uncontrolled and uncontrollable so Iâm glad that itâs taken place. I thought the best thing was the meeting face to face of different bloggers. That was great.â
Most bloggers in attendance seemed to feel that the Vatican was genuine when it said it didnât want to control the Catholic blogosphere. There was also a general welcome for the Vaticanâs own attempts to overhaul its online presence. Reservations still remained, however, about the local level.
âAt the Vatican level Iâve been assured that theyâre thereâs no interest in regulating bloggers - and I believe them. These people donât lie,â says Rome-based Canadian blogger Hilary White of the âOrwellâs Picnicâ site.
âWhat I think is that they (the Vatican) are trying to do today is to send out a message to the national bishops conferences to say âlet them go, bloggers are here to stay and that theyâre going to keep saying things that people donât want them to say and theyâre going to keep looking under rocks that nobody wants them to look under'.â
As the meeting broke up, there was enthusiastic talk of another similar gathering or even more localized versions of the get-together.