Boston cardinal starts new Vatican blog

Boston, USA - Looking to marry the Roman Catholic Church's 2,000-year-history with the modern world's technological bent, Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley on Thursday became the first U.S. cardinal to launch a blog.

O'Malley, 62, who wears the plain brown habit and rope belt of his Capuchin order, said he had timed the launch to coincide with a trip to Rome.

"While this is a new venture for me, and for the Archdiocese, I am eager to take advantage of the latest technology and mode of communication to share with Catholics of the Archdiocese my experiences as I return to Rome," O'Malley wrote on his Web log, at (

O'Malley was named to head the troubled Boston archdiocese in 2003 after his predecessor resigned amid charges the church had covered up cases of priests being accused of paedophilia. O'Malley has faced the challenge of restoring public trust after a scandal that cost the archdiocese more than $150 million and led to the closure of some 60 churches.

Blogs, relatively informal, frequently updated Web sites that tend to dwell on the experiences of a single person, have gained in popularity among Web viewers over the past five years. The estimated millions of blogs in existence are known as the "blogosphere."

It is a relatively new practice for clergy to write blogs. While O'Malley is not the first Catholic leader to do so, he is the highest-ranking, a church official said.

"It's definitely a new phenomenon," said Bill Ryan, spokesman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. "I have not heard of any cardinal doing this."