Robert Mickens, the Rome correspondent of The Suppository
, decided, last week, to indulge in a little petulant whining:
"...it is extraordinary that ordained ministers can find so much free time and energy to "feed a blog". Is it possible that they have no housebound, hospitalised or imprisoned parishioners in need of their presence and ministry? It is also extraordinary that their bishops allow this. But then again we are living in extraordinary times."
I know that The Suppository, like most tabletista-oriented organisations, hasn't quite caught up with the idea behind the whole interweb thingy... they expect people to pay to read their online drivel, for heaven's sake! But this comment from Mr. Mickens is really pretty pathetic...
Anyone who actually blogs knows that it doesn't take very long at all to type up a post or two. You only need one or two posts a day to keep the stats up. Obviously, one has to have something interesting to pass on, or at least something mildly amusing, or no-one will bother to read the blog. The content also has to be reasonably well-written: poor grammar and poor punctuation get pretty short shrift from fellow bloggers. There is a whole world of would-be sub-editors waiting to catch you out.
But the point about blogging is that it's a minor diversion: it isn't one's whole life. If it were, one would soon run out of anything original to write, and no-one wants to read a mere re-hash of what everyone else is saying.
As for Mr. Mickens bewailing the lack of ministry to housebound, hospitalised or imprisoned parishioners, well, it's obvious he's stuck in some sort of parallel universe. Very few people appreciate being called on unexpectedly, and visits before 9am or after 8pm would, in my estimation, probably be as welcome as a dose of 'flu. In a similar vein, hospital nurses are apt to get shirty with visitors outside the hours of 9:00am - 8:00pm unless the patient is actually in extremis. And, somehow, I suspect that prisons are not too keen on out-of-hours visitations...
...computers and the internet, on the other hand, actually work pretty well outside office hours, and if one is clever enough to have mobile broadband, they work pretty well just about anywhere.
The comment is rather obviously directed at our more high-profile priest-bloggers, so I strongly suspect that a few journalistic knuckles may have been rapped after the Blackfen blunder