The Vatican website re”design”

So the vatican redesigned its website. Reshuffled it, more likely.

vatican website

Still, at least they got rid of the unnecessary “choose your language” page which would then lead you to the homepage in your language of choice.

But, contrary to appearance, I am not bothered by how the website looks. It has a certain charm, and while intuition is not enough to find what you are looking for, it is there (and if it isn’t, there are countless websites which do – among them the Vatican’s own News.va, the website of Vatican Radio, Zenit, and so on).

My only wish would be proper websites for the Curial departments, with easy access to what they publish.

About that cyber attack…

The website of the Vatican was brought down briefly yesterday. A loose group of leftist/anarchist hackers who call themselves ‘Anonymous’ launched a DDoS attack on the servers of Vatican.va for wholly unoriginal reasons: The Church oppresses women, opposes contraception, abortion and euthanasia, and is generally outdated. But it was not an attack against Christians. No, sir.

While annoying and irritating, this is in fact no different from other expressions of anti-religious/anti-Christian/anti-establishment ignorance. The perpetrators hide behind relative anonymity and their reasoning is a cobbled-together mess of ancient clichés, no different from what many others write in articles, newspapers and blogs, or proclaim in tv programs.

Christianity no longer overlaps culture and society, but not because the faith has changed. As modern society increasingly forgets about her Christian roots and civilised means of debate, politics and change, this will happen more and more.

The faith is not subject to the winds of the times. We must remember that, and try likewise to remain unruffled as those winds blow harder. Does that mean sitting back and doing nothing? No. When someone attacks us unjustly, we should correct them, for their and our wellbeing. Actions have consequences. When we do something, we must be aware of those consequences. That goes for us, but also for Anonymous. Is that revenge? Not if we correct in love and out of concern for our opponents wellbeing.

Father Z has a Litany for the conversion of Internet thugs.

Stats for August 2011

Despite my two-week absence from the blogosphere, the past month managed to see 3,779 page views. It’s the lowest total since December, sure, but it goes to show that I can be away from the blog for a while without numbers plummeting completely into the single digits. In the top 10 of most popular posts we’ll see which topics are responsible for the continuing interest.

Another high point this month was the crossing of the 100,000 threshold. In fact, on the same day that I returned from Spain, 23 August, the 100,000th visitor since January 2010 popped by. It’s only numbers, but it still makes me pleased.

One to the top 10!

1: A priest never walks alone 72
2: Het probleem Medjugorje 61
3: Calling in the bishop 38
4: Blog shutting down. Temporarily, that is & Seculiere deskundigen willen dat de paus zijn beleid aanpast. Hoe kunnen we uitleggen dat hij dat niet kan? 27
5: Double duty: two vicars general for Groningen-Leeuwarden & WYD destinations – Zaragoza & Goodbye, we’ll keep in touch (via social media) 26
6: No refusal allowed for civil servants in Groningen 25
7: Two years in the making, a new archbishop for Luxembourg 24
8: World Youth Days on TV, and my personal blogging plans & Oddie continues where Dolan stopped & The departure begins… 23
9: Congratulations to a Philippine bishop 20
10: Archbishop Dolan explains the Vatican 19

Oddie continues where Dolan stopped

Published on the Translations page yesterday, a translation of this article by William Oddie of the Catholic Herald. I made the translation on the request of Ronald Marks, co-author of Marks & Marks Blogspot.

Odie takes Archbishop Dolan’s recent blog post on the ‘policies’ of the Vatican as a starting point and explores the issue further. He finds that there is an important question that Catholics have yet barely begun to ask themselves: are we able to bridge the gap of understanding between us and the secular world? An important issue, not least in the Netherlands.

Archbishop Dolan explains the Vatican

In a recent blog post, Archbishop Timothy Dolan asks us to consider who we are blaming for the things we don’t like in the Church. Too often, ‘the Vatican’ is presented as issuing big bad doctrines and displaying an unwillingness to adapt to the times. The archbishop of New York explains how it really works.

I would think this is good summer reading for disobedient priests, subjective journalists and all others who are somehow active in the Church, but really seem to have no clue what that Church is.

Also available is my translation.

Stats for June 2011

The past month was a bit less spectacular then previous months, and that is reflected in the number of visitors. 4,344 visits were made in June, lower than the previous two months. The total number of visitors since the start of my blog is creeping closer to 100,000, standing now at 93,105.

Here is the top 10 of most popular posts. A varied bunch.

1. Bishop De Kesel on Vaticanum II – a bit defeatist? 141
2. Brick minus brick in Groningen 106
3. On the occasion of 60 years of priesthood, a spiritual bouquet for the pope 74
4: Belgian dean welcomes Dutch-trained priests 66
5. Congratulations to a Philippine bishop 62
6. Het probleem Medjugorje 47
7. The class of 2011 37
8. Ascension Day, Pallium day 35
9. Vatican website in the makeover 33
10. Pope to visit the Croatian families this weekend 31

Vatican website in the makeover

Part of the new homepage of vatican.va

One of the oldest virtually unchanged websites out there is finally getting a makeover, and although it’s happening step by step in conjunction with the release of a new news site, the changes on the Vatican website do look promising.

The changes have been expected since about a year ago, and when the forthcoming release of news.va, a comprehensive and official news site of the Holy See, was announced at the recent Vatican blogmeet, it was expected to be arriving any day now. But, as the old adage goes, the Church thinks in centuries, so new developments often take a bit longer than needed. But the changes are becoming visible now.

I like the new layout of the homepage. The main focus is the Holy Father and his various publications; as a blogger, I frequently make use of those, so their prominent accessibility is a definite plus. The pages about the various Curial departments and news outlets are also easily found, as is a link to the aforementioned news.va at the top right. The focus column at the left, then, features information on several high-profile topics: the pope’s pastoral visits and, at this time, information about the abuse crisis.

As far as I have found, no other pages have been released in a new layout, but I expect that is only a matter of time. Improved accessibility is already a good development.