St. Blog's Church

America's most vibrant parish?

As a librarian and information specialist, I have a professional interest in the social aspects of the Internet, particularly its use by activists (of several political stripes) and those who lack access to conventional forums of public debate. (Anyone who doubts the efficacy of the Internet as a means of “people power” should talk to China’s Internet censors.) The segment of the Internet that fosters this kind of dynamic grassroots effort is powered by e-mail and includes listservs, bulletin-board discussion groups, and weblogs (better known as blogs.) NetLingo: The Internet Dictionary defines a blog as “a frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links...a mixture of what is happening in a person’s life and what is happening on the Web, a kind of hybrid diary/guide site.” Most blogs allow readers to comment on postings, so dialogue and debate become a part of the reader’s experience.

My Web surfing is usually guided by serendipity and, six months ago, I was delighted to discover Peter Nixon’s excellent blog, Sursum Corda (an insightful Catholic blog that eschews extremism in any direction). Intrigued by the genre, I set out to explore the most visible precincts of what is known as St. Blog’s Parish—the moniker applied to the loose collection of Catholic blogs. I began reading with the expectation that all sites...

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About the Author

Rachelle Linner, a librarian, lives in Boston. She was senior information analyst at the search engine Northern Light from 1996 to 2003.