Understanding that, bloggers and social media entrepreneurs have a duty to avoid the sort of narrowness of thought that is endemic to the echo chamber; we are fortunate to have a pope who has proved himself, in his book-length interviews with Peter Seewald and elsewhere, to be willing to put any idea throughout the wringer of Catholic analysis, because he is confident that a thorough discussion, rooted on the truth of Christ, will always lead us to the ends of Catholic orthodoxy, and so Pope Benedict is fearless and open, and in Christ's truth, we can afford to be, too!
We do nothing to speed glory to the Body of Christ if we are selective toward whom we will and will not reach out.
We have no business fostering factions and enemies among ourselves, and I say this while admitting fully to my own failings.
Let's face it, when the ego is ignited and the passions are galloping, we all too easily ignore our own better angels, and sacrifice charity for the satisfaction of a what we consider to be a well-deserved jab at some poor misguided "other" blogger.
Need I say, I go to confession a lot more frequently since I have been blogging. Bless me father, for I have sinned...it's that damned editor at Commonweal, again...
And so it is a true gift, and a very wise thing for our hosts today to act on the urgings of the Holy Father in developing a relationship with bloggers.
The church needs us, to assist in evangelization; she needs us to disseminate information and especially to correct information which can often become distorted in the press, as when Pope Benedict discussed a very specific instance of condom use and the headlines blared, "Pope says condoms okay!"
The church needs us to be where the sheep are grazing, so that we may help them find the better pastures.
But you here in Rome, we need you, too—to keep reminding us that there is a wideness in God's mercy; that conformity, if and when it comes, must always begin first from a place of freedom, because Christ freely died for us, and that faith wrought without freedom is worthless in the face of his gift, freely given. We need you to remind us that we are called, ultimately, to oneness, as Christ prayed that all may be one.
Yesterday at the beatification, Catholics from all around the world raised their voices and praised God in one joyful voice and language, "Gloria in excelsis deo, et in terra pax hominibus..." One need not be an advocate of the Latin mass to appreciate the power of that moment of demonstrated oneness and unity of purpose, despite our different backgrounds, our different economics, educations and perspectives.
Let us pray that as Catholic social media develops, that same unity, that same oneness may become its defining characteristic.