America Interviews Fr. Z

Sean Salai, S.J., a summer editorial intern at America, interviews Fr. John Zuhlsdorf on, among other things, Catholic blogging:

Do you expect to continue blogging after you finish your doctoral dissertation and go back to full-time ministry?

I don’t accept your premise.  Work in the blogosphere is ministry. Nearly every day I get an email from someone who says that, because of something he read on my blog, he went to confession for the first time in years, or that she and her husband are getting their marriage straightened out.  I can’t say how many notes I have had from people about how their experience of Holy Mass has changed because of the liturgical issues we have covered. Seminarians and priests have written that they have learned, or unlearned, many things by reading both the entries and the comments in the combox.  There are some smart and well-informed commentators who really contribute.

People have formed friendships through this form of contact. I know of couples who met and married through the various internet initiatives I’ve been involved with.  It is remarkable how much like a parish my corner of the blogosphere is.  There are all the same characters and many of the same dynamics.  It is a lot of work.  And, Deo volente, yes, I’ll keep at it.  As you touched on in your earlier question, the blog has more regular readers than the circulation of some Catholic publications. The blog has vastly more readers than the number of congregants who would hear a Sunday sermon, even repeated, in a single church, even a big one.  When we proclaim the Word from the roof tops, as the Lord asked, we use technology, the house and its height, to amplify the message.  When huge crowds followed Our Lord along the shore, He asked to be let out onto the water in a boat on the end of a line.  He used technology to increase the number of people to whom he could speak at once.  That was, by the way, the first instance of “online ministry.”  Will I keep going?  You bet.  I’m but one little priest.  My blog is my force multiplier.

Read it all here.

If you read this question with any closeness, you will notice that Fr. Z misunderstood it. The premise was never that blogging was not ministry, it was that dissertation-writing was not full-time ministry. Asked another way, it was “When you finish your dissertation, which is reason why you are not in full-time ministry, will you continue blogging?” This makes me wonder why Fr. Z felt defensive, projecting the impression that blogging was implied to not be ministry and basically repeating the assertion that blogging is a great deal of work, comparable to other ministerial duties.

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