Remember my question about the New Dicastery?

Archbp. FisichellaThe other day I posted about the Motu Proprio establishing the new Consilium pro Repropaganda Fidei no, that’s not it… pro Promotione Nova Salvatoriser um … Consilium de Nova Evanglizatione Promovenda.

At the end of my little entry I asked:

QUAERITUR: How will the new office use the internet?

Now I read this story from The Catholic Herald.

Office for evangelising cyberspace does not have internet access, says official

By Rupert de Lisle on Thursday, 14 October 2010

The head of the new pontifical council charged with evangelising cyberspace has said that his new office does not have an internet connection. [Imagine my surprise.]

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelisation, made the startling admission at a press conference unveiling the new council.

A Motu Proprio issued on Tuesday established the responsibilities of the council, which include “studying modern means of communications”.  [Had I been one of His Excellency’s aides going into this conference, the first thing I would have done is put a laptop on the Archbishop President’s desk with an internet card plugged in just to avoid this sort of problem.]

But Archbishop Fisichella said: “Right now, I’m just hoping to get a computer in my office so I can get on the internet myself.”


Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio lists five responsibilities for the new department, including “studying modern means of communications”.  [I suggest hiring a couple young people … perhaps the first two you find passing by the office.  They’ll tell you that having an internet connection allows you to get, say, email, download videos, play WoW. Ask them to explain their phones.]

Sorry.  I can’t help myself.

You have to keep in mind that when it comes to Vatican and technology… well… in the Vatican they update their equipment ever 75 years, whether it needs it or not.  It can take weeks to get a phone line installed.

Eeuu! Monziggnore!  Need any help?

Wouldn’t that be a Dantesque contrapasso!

In the meantime:

What Twitter hash tag should we provide for the new Council?  They won’t have gotten to that yet.  #pcdnep ?

Let’s have your suggestions, and then we can vote on them.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare, New Evangelization. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. danphunter1 says:

    Not so young but,I volunteer.

  2. Tom in NY says:

    Ad jucundum: “#crepro?”
    Salutationes omnibus.

  3. rakesvines says:

    Certain orders e.g. DSP or SDB that focus on the media should be able to provide the Vatican with tech support staff.

  4. ghlad says:


  5. jbas says:

    PJORTTC: Please join or return to the Church. Building on the “first two young people” idea, I’d suggest a sub-committee (or whatever such things are called in the Vatican) composed exclusively of Catholics under the age of 20. Among other things, this group could go into the streets with Wi-Fi connected laptops and ask random people to try using the Vatican web-site to look up information about the faith. I would love to read the resulting study report! God bless them.

  6. ghp95134 says:

    I dunno …. is it just me? Or, does the photo of the Archbishop remind anyone else of the late great actor, Vincent Schiavelli? cf:

    –Guy Power

  7. priests wife says:

    This is surprising- I remember the Vatican site being one of the best back in the day of the Internet’s beginning…

  8. catholicmidwest says:

    I figured about as much. After a 10 year study costing way way too much (and that we pay for), they’re going to end up saying that laypeople need to be careful with the internet, and that we don’t have the ability to say anything worthwhile about the church (because we’re stupid, after all; it’s all theology except the part they say isn’t theology, of course; and the world is evil). I’ve seen it before, only not yet from the Vatican……..but it was only a matter of time.

    Again. The Church needs to provide the sacraments and prayer. That’s the vocation of a cleric. It’s OUR job as laypeople to manage the Internet and all the rest of it. We have experience with all that. And it’s OUR job to take the Gospel to the streets. That’s OUR vocation, not the clergy’s.

  9. graphiya says:

    Hm. Maybe this is kind of a tangent (not social media). And I sometimes forget this little detail when I relate to folks how I finally crossed the Tiber after years as an evangelical Christian believer…the Vatican website was the instrument.

    The Holy Father’s Easter week homilies of 2001. Especially Holy Thursday. I seem to remember they were posted later in the day or the next, quite quickly anyway. I got hooked. Then I started reading the Catechism (on the Vatican site). Anyway, after Easter I sought out a couple of Catholic acquaintances to find out what I should do next. And THEN I finally got to start attending Mass.

    So I’m just saying…

  10. medievalist says:

    What does the Motu really say?

    Note that “studying modern means of communication” does not read “using”.

  11. catholicmidwest says:

    Maybe you have a point there, medievalist. Maybe they’re just going to *study* the internet.

    I wonder what the exact research plans are? All research projects have a scope, design and success criteria, right? Or else how do you know when you know what you set out to determine? If you don’t have a plan, you don’t. Ever. You just spend beaucoup $$$$ until someone comes to their senses and shuts you down.

    Don’t blame me. That is exactly how these things work. Seriously.

  12. catholicmidwest says:

    And honestly, setting up a dicastery with an open-ended time frame is a mighty peculiar way of setting up a research project. Just saying.

  13. Random Friar says:

    What is Latin for “facepalm?” Because I think most of us did that when we read this.

  14. Traductora says:

    This makes me crazy. I live in a place where the Spanish, when they arrived, offered the Indians the best of “modern technology” for their times and built elaborate stone churches for people who lived in thatched huts.

    Now we have technology that is cheap, accessible, and is being used by everybody all over the world…except the Vatican. And our modern pagans are on their own.

  15. catholicmidwest says:

    And the reason they’re on their own is simple. The local catholic church across town is the last thing on their minds. And besides if it’s during the week, it’s probably closed up tight anyway.

  16. ray from mn says:

    Does the Pope have internet access? Or Fr. Ganswein?

  17. revs96 says:


  18. Supertradmum says:

    Wow, I never thought the Vatican offices would be without the Internet. Can’t they just “piggyback” on one router? That would take less time.

    However, I am one of these nutsy people who think we shall be without electrical means of communication, at least freely, without Big Brother, in days to come, so why change now?

  19. RichardT says:

    Suggest a Twitter hash tag for the new Council set up to save Christian Europe?


  20. Jayna says:

    Head, meet desk.

    Did he actually have to say that? His direct quote just sounds like an IT problem, but the headline taken from that makes it sound as if that’s just how it’s going to be. Oh, Vatican, please learn how to speak to the media (Catholic or not).

  21. nanetteclaret says:

    I know the Holy Father (or at least his secretary) has a computer, because he has an e-mail address:

    I think this must be just a problem with Archbishop Fisichella’s office. It is weird that he doesn’t at least have e-mail.

    I think all problems will be solved when he does get his computer. After he learns how to use it, he can just e-mail Fr. Z with any press releases and Fr. Z can post them for him. Instant worldwide exposure! Then he will get a first-hand look at how cyberspace is evangelized. It should make his study pretty easy.

  22. Bryan Boyle says:

    Just remember…we think in terms of this evening…the good folks in Rome think in terms of centuries.

    That I have a priest friend, canon lawyer, attached to a congregation, who has to use a hotmail account and has only a typewriter on his desk in his office inside the City is no surprise. I’ve offered many times to volunteer to serve over there…problem is, he doesn’t know (and to be honest, admitted that no one does…) who is in charge of the IT needs of the Holy See.

    So…that the office charged with approaching the problem doesn’t even have A Clue ™ as to what it is that they’re supposed to be studying is not surprising, either.

    These folks are churchmen, not technogeeks.

  23. What you do is go to the Vatican with a carton of Mountain Dew and Coke in one hand and a bunch of chocolate chip cookies in the other. You won’t have to find the IT office; the IT guys will come to you.

  24. Mitchell NY says:

    Maybe the tech route is not on the top of the priority list but there is something to be said for a simpler time, minus the tech. People answering that phone line that takes forever to be installed, etc. When systems crash worldwide I imagine the Vatican being in a position to continue business as usual. That is comforting. Although when the pony express finally arrives at my place in NY the decree may well be a bit dusty. I like their approach study, learn, perhaps utilize in some capacity BUT, retain the old ways. Sounds very Catholic.

  25. Melody says:

    Dear me… *ospalma*

    Also, I volunteer!

    I find it really frustrating that more religious aren’t online, because there such a wealth of religious resources. Also email is a silent and free means of communicating.

Comments are closed.