I started three times to write this post, and deleted everything each time. It began when I saw the St John Cantius in Chicago has added a virtual tour of their church to their website, which is awesome. I then segued into a lamentation about how bad the church websites are around here, combined with my complete bafflement that an entire diocese, whose churches I have visited from time to time, have removed every single individual parish website. I was going to speculate on why such a move had been made- as it obviously could only have been done from the top or by someone near the top- and then go on to opine about the quality of many other websites that haven't been deleted, and so on and so on, when I remembered that is not the way I prefer to go. At least, not after some sober thought.
Once again I had to remind myself that priests are the poster boys for the overworked and underappreciated club, and the last thing they need is some yahoo with a keyboard and internet link saying they aren't working hard enough on their website. In addition, while I can't explain why an entire diocese would shut down all their parish websites at a time when we are being called repeatedly to increase our presence on the net and to reach out to people who are spending more and more time there, I also must admit I don't know anything about the situation beyond the fact that the websites are gone. I cannot think of any good reason for doing so, but at the same time I must admit that there is the remote possibility that the bishop and his staff might, just might, know something about what is happening within the diocese that is in their care that I do not, and maybe, just maybe, there was a good reason for taking this admittedly strange course of action.
Therefore, instead of that, I prefer to praise what is well done, and pray that more priests and parishes find the wherewithal and the skill to do a good job, and also to pray for that diocese, in case they had a problem, that it may be cleared up soon and they may continue with the important work of spreading the word through every means available.
To get back on topic: instead of offering criticisms, I prefer to offer praise. Priests and bishops get enough criticism for when they get things wrong. They deserve the occasional "attaboy!" when they do something right. So "Attaboy!" people of St John Cantius, and keep up the good work. As a bonus, there is one church not far from here (next diocese to the west) that is also working on their site and has a virtual tour up as well, so attaboy, St Patrick's in Hamilton.
Lastly, the Cantius website has a letter from Fr. Phillips which also points out a weakness of mine. As beautiful as the architecture may be, we must remember "a church is more than the art and architecture it contains. The structure is brought to life through the Church’s theology which is carried out in the sacred ceremonies of the Mass, the Sacraments, a variety of devotions, and Her sacred music ranging from Gregorian chant to the classical works of Mozart, Haydn, and Schubert. All of these are united, as in a symphony, with the art, architecture, and the light contrasted against the dark wood." Well said, and again, well done.