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One of the more interesting sub-genres of Catholic blogging that has emerged of late is that of the ecclesiastical gossip blog. Or, if you will, blogs dedicated to hierarchical goings-on, the authors of which hint or outright claim to have an inside knowledge.

One wouldn’t have thought it would have taken so long – four years since blogging went big-time – for this to happen, but I suppose it’s all been jump started by the death of one pope and election of another – it’s a time in which change is in the air and everyone is wondering what’s going on behind the scenes of this rather non-transparent institution.

It was one of those things that blogging was supposed to nourish: reporting that the mainstream media or, in this case, the Catholic press either missed, ignored, or was too institutionally-bound to break. However, when compared to the secular blogs, there’s relatively little of such muckraking (in the best sense of the term) going in Catholic blogdome or internet life. Why? Hard to say. Partly the virtue of charity, which all of us are supposed to be living by. Partly because those who really know what’s going on are still in the hierarchy,chancery, etc., and don’t want to risk their positions, naturally enough. Partly because the real muckraking I’d be interested in and would be valuable to get out there – reporting, for example, from professional ministry conferences, clergy gatherings, gatherings of religious women – isn’t going to happen from critics because the critics either can’t be bothered to go or aren’t allowed.

But into the breech, the ecclesiastical goss- er, news blogs have arisen. Those that I’m aware of are:

Whispers in the Loggia, run by Rocco Palmo, the only non-anonymous blog of this type

Papabile

Vaticanisti

Vatican Watcher

and even: Beach Bunny Vaticanista, which at first I thought was a spoof blog, sort of along the lines of the Delia Gallagher Fan Club, but the most recent post has some information that sounds like it’s been legitimately obtained. So who knows.

I’m not going to open comments on this post, even though it would be fun, because it runs the risk of turning into a discussion comparing Catholic bloggers which, if you’ve noticed, is not something I traffic in here. It’s just an interesting little spurt of a subgenre – sometimes the information is reliable, others not (for example, the predictions of the announcements of Curial change supposedly forthcoming in early September haven’t exactly panned out. Perhaps there was a change of plan…) But I will say that these blogs are useful because some of the bloggers have a knowledge of the foreign press and an ability to translate that information into English that really expands our knowledge of what’s going on in the Vatican. So…hat tip to all of them, plus John Allen and Sandro Magister, for keep us up-to-date. Most of the time.

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