Ars technica covers the Vatican?

/ 27 May 2009

Hat tip to Eric for pointing me to this article up at Ars Technica. Having just finished a paper that talks about how digital tech can flatten hierarchies, I was amused to read this quote:

But with government leaders like Germany's Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama using the Internet in innovative ways to engage citizens, the Vatican hopes it can do something too. One concern is that this sort of two-way engagement could be a little creepy; by flattening the Catholic hierarchy, the Pope might actually get too directly involved in questions and controversies best left to local leaders.

"How can we correctly promote the presence of the Pope in the life of the whole Church?" asked Lombardi. "That is, how can we use this technology to make his presence felt in the local Churches throughout the world without contributing to the creation or growth of a centralistic mentality that is not only inopportune, but at loggerheads with the right articulation and proper autonomy of the local Church?"</blockquote>

I think that's an excellent question -- but I kind of wish the concern for not promoting a "centralistic mentality" had emerged a bit sooner!