Monday, March 06, 2006

Cyber Catholicism

Now that it is Lent, I decided to visit the website of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to read Cardinal Roger Mahoney's controversial Lenten message on "Making Room" that encourages parishioners to defy the government's current unwelcoming policies on immigration.

I discovered that the archdiocese's multilingual website has a number of digital features, including an audio version of Saint of the Day. They don't have an online report form, but the diocese does give a toll-free number to report abuse, and there's also a weekly sexual abuse blog. Last week's topic was cyber-predators! The architecturally impressive new Los Angeles Cathedral has its own separate webpage, which has considerably less ambitious design than the corresponding physical space that it represents.

Out of curiosity, I also stopped by the much more humble website of the Archdiocese of Orange County, which offers links to many non-ecclesiastical practicalities. For example, it puts advance directive forms on its home page and will also assist with fingerprinting your child.

The church has yet to develop an online confession interface. For now the guilty will have to content themselves with the artful PostSecret.



Blogger Julia Lupton said...

Last fall, I visited the new Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels for the first time. We attended an organ concert of music by Messiaen, the avant-garde composer of theological meditations. I wandered the cathedral while others listened to the mysteries of the Trinity organ-ized on the 6,019 pipes of Our Lady’s gorgeous instrument. Small chapels housed temporary installations assembled by congregants. An altar for the Mexican Day of the Dead (November 1) included skulls made out of wax and sugar. Another tiny marble alcove hosted a cross crudely collaged with photographs of children; a simple word-processed prayer honored the victims of sexual abuse.

Experiencing the music as not-quite-a-concert, and traveling the building as not-quite-a-museum was a real (rather than virtual) experience that I will always remember.

6:00 AM  

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