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    AmP Countdown: Time left to demand that Congress make health care reform pro-life: 2009-11-07 18:00:00 GMT-05:00


    Friday, January 08, 2010

    Please update your bookmarks to the new AmP blog!


    Why do you tarry here? Get thee to the new AmP blog!

    And remember - if you use a reader to keep up on AmP, please update your feed to this new syndicated address:

    http://catholicvoteaction.org/blog/amp/?feed=rss2

    Please come on over and update your bookmarks, papists!

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    Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    Notice: Update Your Bookmarks!


    Just a reminder that, as a result of my recently-announced merger with CatholicVoteAction.org, future AmP updates will be found at this web address:

    http://www.catholicvoteaction.org/blog/amp/index.php

    (or http://www.americanpapist.com for short)

    Also, if you subscribed to the American Papist syndicated feed, that can now be found at http://catholicvoteaction.org/blog/amp/?feed=rss2

    AmP Facebook and Twitter accounts remained unchanged.

    You may continue to email me at either the "thomas at americanpapist dot com" or the new "thomas at catholicvoteaction dot org" address.

    I look forward to seeing all of you at AmP-CVA from now on! It's going to be a busy year!

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    Announcement: AmP to join Catholic Vote Action!


    It's been a long (and wonderful) road on American Papist, and today I'm happy to announce the biggest change to these pages since AmP went online in 2005.

    I am joining the amazing team at CatholicVote.org and their sister organization CatholicVoteAction.org.

    You may visit my new blog HERE. You will always be able to find me at www.AmericanPapist.com


    {update - here is the press release announcing the merger!}

    You've seen Catholic Vote's work before - their YouTube channel has 5 million views alone - and I couldn't have asked for a more natural online partner when it comes to organizing Catholics to make a positive difference in the world of politics and American culture (Catholic Vote Action is their new legislation action wing).

    Let me quickly explain the benefits of this collaboration - as I believe there are only benefits to be had:
    1. AmP will be professionally administered and maintained. This will save me the time of doing all the technical work required to keep AmP running, and let me focus on doing what I love: blogging. I've been working with CV's design team to ensure a crisp, clean new layout.
    2. AmP will have a greater ability to affect the world and not just observe it. It's called Catholic Vote Action for a reason: it's status as a C4 non-profit allows CVA to directly petition and undertake political action in a way I never could as an individual. Once you register as a member of Catholic Vote, most of the "action items" I append to posts will all involve Catholic Vote initiatives.
    3. AmP will have access and be exposed to a much wider audience. Catholic Vote does not only preach to the choir, they are dedicated to educating all Catholics and introducing non-Catholics to the principles and beliefs we hold dear as fervent, serious Catholics. CV is closing in on 500,000 members already - an incredible feat which is a testament to CV's clear and orthodox vision.
    4. AmP will more easily be able to incorporate other voices. Make no mistake: American Papist will remain primarily my blogging, but having this new platform will make it easier for me to publish guest posts by individuals who deserve a wide audience. So please send me your short (500 words or less) submissions.
    5. AmP will be able to better achieve the goals of articulating the faith, defending her truths against error and deception, informing Catholics who are curious, and organizing Catholics of like-mind for the serious challenges and cultural battles we face as patriotic and involved Americans. 
    And throughout these opportunities, AmP will benefit from the wide reach of a blog, the speed of Twitter, the accessibility of YouTube, and the community of Facebook .... all with only one editor - yours truly.

    This setup means that important information can be widely distributed on AmP at the pace of our ever-quickening news cycle and political climate. So please continue to send me your tips and inside information, for this remains all-important to my work.

    You may continue to use my email thomas [at] americanpapist.com or use my new thomas [at] catholicvoteaction.org.

    Please be patient as we make the transition. I have great hopes for what God has in store for AmP this year!
    (And yes, update your bookmarks!)

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    Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    Catching up, forging ahead....

    *whew!*

    There's nothing like catching up on 10+ days of emails, news items, work tasks and life matters!

    Since returning from my Poland-Ireland trip two days ago I've been deluged in catching up with many urgent matters at work, some practical household chores, and - yes - planning for my upcoming "big announcement".

    48 hours after touching-down back in the States, I'm happy to say that the catching up is nearly complete and the "big announcement" is almost ready to go public.

    Thanks for your patience during this lull. 

    A large part of my time has been occupied with work related to the current health care reform battle raging in Congress. I hope to at least post an update on this critical issue soon.

    In the meantime, I tend to be more active on twitter when I don't have time for full blog posting.

    (Also, mirabile dictu, the New York Senate rejected gay marriage 38-24 today. So some good news!)

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    Tuesday, October 06, 2009

    AmP: A diocesan resource

    It's humbling to find diocesan websites linking to you, like the Catholic diocese of Spokane, WA does!

    Clearly a diocese chock full of papists!

    I'm also aware of several Catholic parishes that link to AmP. Does yours? ;-)

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    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Photo: Ask a papist question....

    ... get a whole lot of papist answers:

    You can read them if you join the American Papist Facebook Fanpage!

    Only the top 2,523 coolest papists on Facebook are doing it. ;-)

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    Tuesday, September 22, 2009

    Behind in emails, but not forever!

    A quick note to AmP readers - the last couple weeks have been unusual in that I have been travelling extensively and excessively busy at my full-time employment.

    As a result, I have about 700 emails that I have not had a chance to respond to as of yet. I will get to your email eventually - and even if I do not respond - it will be read.

    The vast network of individuals who send me excellent advice, feedback and tips contributes so much to the quality and relevance of AmP reporting, so please don't despair that your emails are going unnoticed or unappreciated.

    Please be patient in the meantime. I hope to work through this backlog in the next week or so.

    And to those who have dropped me a tip (sometimes a mega-tip) through the AmP Paypal button on the sidebar, my special thanks. I thank God for your generosity and you are in my close prayers.

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    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Back in DC

    After a much-needed vacation in Michigan this past week, I'm once again back in Washington DC. I'll be catching up on correspondence and blogging topics soon. There should be some exciting announcements in the next week or so!

    And, as always, if things are slow on AmP, that probably means I'm focusing on my APP blogging.

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    Tuesday, August 04, 2009

    AmP passes 3,000,000 visits!

    American Papist was founded in 2005 on the feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th).


    ... 908 days later, AmP passed 1,000,000 visits (July 3rd, 2008).

    ... 270 days later, AmP passed 2,000,000 visits (March 10, 2009).

    ... 147 days later, AmP today passes 3,000,000 visits! August 4th, 2009.

    Thank you, loyal papists! May we continue to be led by the pope to Christ, in all we do.

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    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    AmP turns 24

    Well, not technically AmP ... me. So I'm taking today off from blogging. Thank you for the prayers. God bless you!

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    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Announcement: AmP to join APP June 1st

    Last week I graduated with my STB in theology from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. Because I love my graduate studies and have pursued them for four years (two in Detroit and two here in Washington) only an exceptional opportunity could have convinced me to leave them for the time being, and yet such an opportunity has appeared...
    On June 1st I will join the newly-formed American Principles Project (APP) as Communications Director. I have tremendous respect for its founder, Dr. Robert George of Princeton University, and I’m very excited about the people I will be working with day-to-day. Furthermore, I believe APP will give me a new and unique opportunity to do good, so much so that it is worth giving my focused energy.

    My new employers have graciously allowed me to continue my blogging on these pages. At American Papist I will continue to provide breaking stories, clarify rumors, and spread awareness of the good things happening in the Catholic world online and offline. This mix of offerings has quickly propelled AmP into becoming one of the highest-visibility Catholic blogs in the world and I want it to continue flourishing.

    My specific coverage of political and some social issues will transition over to the new American Principles Project (APP) blog, where I will benefit from better access to important trends and information. As a perfect example of these new opportunities offered by APP, I will be live-blogging a debate between Doug Kmiec and Robbie George at the National Press Club tomorrow. I will post details about that event next.

    Over the next month I ask your patience as I make this transition. While it is true that I will have many things on my plate, my commitment to my readers, tipsters, and fellow Catholic bloggers is unflagging! With hard work and God’s grace, I hope that the good things begun here will continue to bear much fruit.

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    Monday, May 18, 2009

    Hiatus for Comps

    This week I will be taking comprehensive S.T.B. exams for my next graduate degree in theology, and - God willing - graduating at the end of the week. As a result, blogging will be lighter in the interim.

    I would ask for your prayers and understanding in the days ahead. God bless you!

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    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    Dispelled: Email rumor claims Fr. Jenkins suspended by Bishop D'Arcy

    People following my AmP Twitter account who were watching it closely this evening would have witnessed a story unfold in real-time (read from the bottom up):

    Here's what happened, as far as I can tell at this point.

    An email began circulating earlier in the day (and was eventually forwarded to me) which featured a decree claiming to originate from Bishop John D'Arcy in which the bishop officially suspended Notre Dame President Fr. Jenkins a divinis (in other words, removed his abilities to act in public as a Catholic priest), effective May 1st.

    After careful scrutiny and consultation with a few trusted sources, I'm confident this decree is in fact a hoax, albeit a very clever and thorough one. As best as I can accertain, someone probably went through an old authentic decree of suspension a divinis and changed all the particular details to match the current situation.

    The original source of the hoax is lost in the background of internet chatter. But if they read this, let them be made aware of Canon #1391 in the universal law of the Church:

    "The following can be punished with a just penalty according to the gravity of the delict:
    1) a person who produces a false public ecclesiastical document, who changes, destroys, or conceals an authentic one, or who uses a false or altered one;
    2) a person who uses another false or altered document in an ecclesiastical matter;
    3) a person who asserts a falsehood in a public ecclesiastical document."

    Obviously, when I first saw the text of this "decree," I was hoping it wasn't a #1391. Well, it was.

    Update - for those who have provided constructive criticism, thank you. Three points in response:

    1) I'd agree that tweeting "exclusive rumor" was needlessly sensationalist. Sorry about that.

    2) Of course someone who reports on a forged document thinking it to be authentic does not fall under the condemnation which presumes the person had knowledge of its falsity and participated in the deception.

    3) It would have been far easier for me (and on my reputation) to simply delete my tweets once I had determined the decree was a hoax, but in fact it would not have equally served the public good because this hoax decree is still making its way around the internet. That's why I brought a twitter rumor into the blog proper - to dispell it.

    I posted on the rumor because now, when people search for a confirmation of it, they will find it dispelled here, with as much information provided as I've been able to confirm. I consider this quelling of rumors to also be a service of responsible journalism, especially in the age of emails, blogs and twitter.

    Also, not to overstate what AmP does, but I would bet that numerous blogs and email lists have not posted or discussed the hoax decree today because they saw it already falsified here this morning. If people are talking today about AmP passing along then dispelling a false rumor, instead of wasting time and energy all day trying to confirm if that rumor is true, so be it. I'll take that hit and save them the bother.

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    AmP-sponsored Mary Ann Glendon solidarity group passes 1,500 members! {update: 2,000 members!}

    {update - things are moving past, we're past 2,000 members as of April 28th!}

    By the time this post goes live the AmP-sponsored "I Support Mary Ann Glendon and her Noble Refusal!" Facebook group will have over 1,500 members.

    {Note: There is a good chance I will have the opportunity of seeing Mary Ann Glendon in the next month and I look forward to telling her about the strong support of her decision among young Catholics - the Facebook group's primary demographic.}

    It is clear that her brave decision has inspired and encouraged many, many souls. One has only to look through the dozens of comments posted to the page.

    Even if you don't have a Facebook account, you can view the group.

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    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Notable AmP Template Changes

    As you can see, I've changed the upper right-hand corner of the AmP template. On the helpful recommendation of a reader, I've decided to embed my up-to-the-minute twitter updates there.
    As I've said before, during busy days I may revert to updating twitter when I don't have time to compose a full blog post. I removed the paypal donation button (it is, however, still on the sidebar - thank you to the generous souls who have dropped me a tip lately!).

    Also, the new book of the month is Carl Anderson's Call to Love. The new website of the month is Notre Dame Scandal (at least until Obama speaks there on May 17th).

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    Friday, April 24, 2009

    Sick day.

    I'd love to blog today but I'm feeling under the weather and have a copious amount of school and work obligations to fulfill ... so I'm taking a blogging sick day. I hope to resume coverage tomorrow. Thanks!

    update: well, sick half-day....

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    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Fr. Jenkins Flies to DC: A Tale of Twitter Tech

    Last night's posting on Fr. Jenkins' (alleged) covert trip to DC provides me an occasion to ramble about the contribution of new media to the news cycle, and discuss how it augments AmP's role in Catholic news.

    Yesterday at 5:21PM EST I received a tip that Fr. Jenkins was in DC for an unannounced visit with Barack Obama. I was told the report came from a reliable (second-hand) source, and that the news would hit the internet "momentarily."

    Since I was away from a computer when I received the message, I used my blackberry to update my twitter account (roughly 5:30PM):

    "AmericanPapist is hearing a report that ND pres. fr. jenkins is in Washington DC today to meet with Obama?"

    30 seconds later I noticed that AmSpec reporter Joseph Lawler had twittered a support to the Jenkins story, based on publicly-available flight information provided by Flight Aware (I know, it's an amazing world we live in).

    Happy to provide more information on the report, and still away from computer access, I re-published Joe's notification:

    "AmericanPapist RT @josephlawler confirms fr. jenkins in DC to meet with Obama: http://tinyurl.com/deaydg" [RT= Re-Tweet]

    ... and that's where I had to leave it for the time being, until I had computer access again.

    In the hours that ensued, email after email popped into my inbox asking a) if I had heard the rumor, b) requesting me to post the news, c) wondering if I didn't think the story credible and so was ignoring it on purpose or d) all of the above/"I loved today's PPOTD!".
    Later in the evening, safely tucked away at home again, I was finally able to post a recap of the Jenkins rumors ... five hours after the rumor hit the Internet pipelines. And so I thought the story was safely put to bed.
    I was wrong.
    You see, I forgot to check twitter again. Nestled in among my twitter replies, I found - not only people who were picking up Joe's and AmP's reporting, but a second stream of replies claiming that Notre Dame's spokesman was denying the report that Fr. Jenkins had met with Obama in DC.
    Thus I had to go back and revise my original blog post, taking into account this new piece of information.
    So why do I bring this all up? I think there's (at least one) important lesson here:
    Blogging moves fast, but it doesn't move at the speed of news - Twitter does.
    That's why I've been bugging AmP readers to subscribe to my twitter feed. I'm not just trying to play a numbers game and see how fast I can break 1,000 AmP followers - I'm trying to help augment the reporting I provide on the American Papist blog.
    Blogging, after all, is an amazing way to provide news and commentary on current events (while at the same time remaining open to comment contributions from the community), but it is only one tool among many - including Twitter - that I use to keep Catholics up to speed on things I believe are important or interesting.
    That said, you don't have to join Twitter (for that matter, you don't have to read AmP) because I do try to make sure the blogging stands on its own. It just sometimes has to stand a little behind the front of the news line.

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    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Confirmed: AmP readers cover my 2009 cell phone bill!

    True to their word, the fine folks at Cell Phones.org have indeed begun to cover my cell phone bill for 2009, after AmP readers voted American Papist their favorite blog by a significant margin in the 2009 Blogger Appreciation Awards.
    Once again my sincere thanks to all of those who voted for me, tweeted support, and told their Facebook friends. I use a blackberry, and frankly spend more time doing "AmP-related" things on it then making calls to friends. Conversly, this solution means I have more time to spend with my friends and keep up on the steady stream of Catholic news and tips.
    Please consider Cell Phones.org for your cell phone solutions. They're nice to papists, and people who are nice to papists are good people in my book!

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    Tuesday, March 31, 2009

    AmP Poll: What kind of reader are you?

    The last AmP poll ("What do you think of Notre Dame's invitation to Obama?") received over 3,000 votes.

    It strikes me that these polls are extraordinary opportunities to understand the AmP readership better - and thereby - serve you better in my blogging.

    One question I sometimes struggle with in choosing my stories and style of reporting, is what kind of readership I have? Now don't get me wrong - I've always blogged about what I want - just take a look at my semi-regular posts on Dubai. Luckily us papists have plenty in common.

    Nevertheless, I think this new poll topic is a way for me to begin getting a better picture in my head of what your background is on these issues:

    As always, please feel free to use this poll topic as a jumping-off point for discussion. If you can't see this poll click here and scroll down until you find it.

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    Monday, March 23, 2009

    You know you've made it...

    ... when Catholic Parish websites link to you on their sidebar, as does St. Joseph in Salem, Oregon.

    Or, then again, maybe some enterprising webmaster decide to toss AmP into the mix. Either way, it's an honor (seriously) and a responsibility. I know that AmP has been mentioned in parish bulletins as well.

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    Picture: International Papist

    During the early morning hours, while the over-all visitor and comment count may drop, the world board lights up with international AmP visitors, as this snapshot taken at 2AM EST reveals:
    And yes, that's every inhabited continent represented. Call it a "Catholic" hat-trick. Avete, Papists!

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    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    AmP wins 2009 Blogger Appreciation Contest!

    Go Papists!
    As the winner, I'll receive one year of my cellphone bill paid! Thanks to everyone who voted for AmP!

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    Saturday, March 14, 2009

    A week of AmP in review

    Here's a synopsis of the posts on AmP, March 9th-13th (oldest to newest):

    Saturday is a recovery day so it's only a Papist Picture of the Day and maybe some Tweeting.

    So, there you have it, five days of AmP coverage in a nutshell. 57 posts and about 10,000 words.

    A special thank you to everyone who dropped me a tip through the PayPal button this week, joined the Facebook Fanpage, started following me on Twitter, voted for me in the Blogger Appreciation Awards and Blogger's Choice Awards, and started subscribing to AmP through GoogleReader, Bloglines or Feedburner! I so appreciate that.

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    Tuesday, March 10, 2009

    Picture: AmP's 2,000,000th Visit!

    AmP's 2,000,000th visit, at 12:34PM EST, is a government employee in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil:

    (click image for full-size.)

    Fitting that this individual should hail from the world's most populated Catholic country!

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    One seriously gorgeous diocesan website ... yes, it's possible

    Golly, I think I have website envy:

    This is the Diocese of Pembroke diocesan website created by the wizards at Saint Max Media.

    Now, who can help AmP look that beautiful? You could rest happy knowing your work of art would be viewed over 400,000 times a month. If you think you're up for it - send me an email please. Let's work something out.

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    An important AmP milestone will be passed today

    Sometime today, probably around noon EST, AmP will register its 2,000,000th physical visit.
    {update - it happened!}

    AmP passed the 1,000,000 mark last year on July 2nd.
    250,000 of the most recent visits happened in the last month alone.
    That means AmP could well log another two million visits this calendar year.
    Honestly, I don't quite know what to make of that. It is an incredible honor to me that you find this site useful, visit it often, tell your friends about it, and support me with tips, both informational and monetary.
    Please pray for me that I may discern how best to use the talents God has given me, and determine how best to use the opportunity that AmericanPapist's popularity provides me to spread the Good News today.
    And, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. God bless you.

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    Monday, March 09, 2009

    AP Video: Catholics Told to Silence Hi-tech Toys for Lent

    Ironic that this pastoral message will be conveyed to you through ... youtube and a blog:



    Interesting that the focus seems to be on text message abstaining. This is true:

    Leaders said abandoning technology puts the focus on the physical rather than the virtual world. (AP)
    Since I'm lazy, I'll just say this from memory (folks are welcome to fact-check me and clarify): One of the "fundamental human goods" of the new natural law theorists is that of "reality" over "virtual reality." Simply put, technology should be at the service of man in his bodily existence, in his relationship to God, with his fellow human beings, and also the world.

    AmP, of course, keeps you better in touch with each. I hope it at least falls into the category of "good use"!

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    Sunday, March 08, 2009

    Nice to see...

    That AmP is making the frontpage of Google Blog Search with some frequency.

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    Faith Found on Facebook (but not AmP?!)

    Gretchen Crowe has a nice little article in the Arlington Catholic Herald about Catholicism and the new media (blogs, etc) and particularly facebook.

    But I'm shocked - shocked - I say, to see that she didn't stumble across the Facebook AmP Fans!

    I mean, there's only 1251 of 'em....

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    Saturday, March 07, 2009

    AmP Places in Top 20 of Faith Blogging's Top Christian blogs

    Actually, 20th place exactly.

    Among Catholic blogs, The Anchoress and What Does the Prayer Really Say are ahead. Both are excellent blogs.

    The (unscientific) algorithm Faith Blogging used looks at Compete.com, Alexa ranking, Technorati ranking and Google Reader subscribers. AmP has 1300+ GoogleReader subscribers, behind WDTPRS and ahead of TheAnchoress. I'm dissapointed by AmP's showings in the other three benchmarks, because frankly their numbers seriously underestimate my readership (or are simply outdated - things have been speeding up).

    One intangible FaithBlogging considered was "reputation". That's such a hard thing to measure in the blogosphere, especially considering the widely different purposes our blogs serve and goals they pursue. Oh well.

    For the record, Whispers in the Loggia should also be on this list. It's still way important, like it or not.

    Do check out the other blogs on the list.

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    Thursday, March 05, 2009

    CheckOut TweetCatholic

    I find it a neat little idea ... and I debuted at #25. I'm a sucker for statistics. :)

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    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    Make me an offer....

    See that area on the AmP sidebar that says "AMP SPONSORS" (right underneath the sitemeter counter)?

    You can place your advertisement there through this BlogAds link (~80k-100k page views a week).

    Or, you can drop me a line by email ["thomas" [at] "americanpapist.com"] and we can try to work something out using the space directly beneath BlogAds (for a reduced rate as well) - that's what the Shrine of Christ the King did, and they seem pretty happy with the results.

    I am also happy to promote good Catholic events, that's what I'm doing for the "Lessons from St. Paul for the New Evangelization" event.

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    Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    Guess how many countries read AmP?

    The surprising answer is that people from 150 countries have visited AmP since the beginning of this month!

    The top 10 countries of origin:
    • United States
    • Canada
    • Italy
    • United Kingdom
    • Mexico
    • Australia
    • Germany
    • Ireland
    • Brazil
    • Spain

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    Saturday, February 21, 2009

    So close!

    So close to so many markers!
    --> 399 Followers on Twitter
    --> 199 Readers on Feedburner
    --> 198 Subscribers on Bloglines

    {1,231 Google Readers; 1,224 Facebook Fans; 258 AMP NEWSies....}

    Compare this to about three weeks ago.

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    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    For all you Twitter peeps

    I'd like to see my twitter follower count push past 300 tonight.

    This recent tweet of mine will show you why it can be useful.

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    Tuesday, February 03, 2009

    "2009 Pro-Life Instigator" Awarded to AmP

    As I announced the day the award was made public. The actual award has a prominent place in my room.

    It has a permanent place on the AmP sidebar. My humble thanks to everyone at American Life League.

    Okay papists - go out and be instigators for the culture of life!

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    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    I couldn't resist....

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    AmP is doing well

    I checked my website-level statistics for AmericanPapist today and found:
    • 130 visits in 2005
    • 535,520 visits in 2006
    • 774,450 visits in 2007
    • 1,691,276 visits in 2008

      = 3,001,376 visits at the beginning of 2009
    (Rats, I missed my chance for a 3-millionth visit party.)

    And if current trends continue, AmP could well add an additional 3 million visits this year!

    Other benchmarks:

    AMDG.

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    5 Ways to Support AmP

    Who keeps my fingers rattling away? You do! Here's how:
    1. Buy AmP gear (Shirts, Mugs, Stickers & more!)
    2. Purchase a BlogAd (or contact me directly via email)
    3. Use this Amazon link (I get a small percentage)
    4. Paypal donation (on the sidebar, the orange button)
    5. Send me stuff (Catholic books, CDs, movies, etc)

    God Bless you.

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    Picture: AmP Banner Cardinal with Ratzinger

    One of the most common questions I get asked is: "Who's that cardinal on the AmP banner?"

    The answer, as I say on the sidebar, is Franciszek Cardinal Macharski, Archbishop Emeritus of Krakow, on the day of Pope Benedict's election. A loyal AmP reader discovered a photo of Cardinal Macharski concelebrating Mass with Cardinal Ratzinger several years back:

    Photo caption: "Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI since 2005) on May 10, 2003, during the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the canonization of Saint Stanislaus in Szczepanów, Poland. Picture taken by Marian Lambert and released under CC-BY license by Szamil (www.szczepanow.pl) - Wikipedia

    Ph/t: AmP Reader Erik.

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    Friday, January 23, 2009

    AmP receives Pro-Life Instigator Award for Activism

    This morning AmP recieved the "Pro-Life Instigator Award for Activism" in the American Life League's first Pro-Life Blog Awards.

    I was able to attend their Blog Awards breakfast this morning (on my way to class - it's a busy week!) and would encourage anyone staying in DC after the march to visit their ongoing Personhood Now conference.

    Also be aware of the Students for Life of America conference taking place at Catholic U.

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    Saturday, January 17, 2009

    AmP Goals (Get Involved!)

    Are you looking for an excuse to stay indoors, away from the cold, and have some time to spare?

    You could:

    There now! You've managed to burn away a little of your Saturday. ;-)

    update: wow! A great response....

    • AmP has now jumped to 4th place in the '90 Blogger's Choice Awards
    • The official AmP Facebook Fanpage now has over 1,000 members
    • Quite a few more people are now getting my updates on twitter

    thanks!

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    Thursday, January 08, 2009

    AmP BlogAds rate cut

    To steal one of the city of Baltimore's ill-received slogans .... "Get In On It!"

    But seriously, you should. It's a good deal.

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    Thursday, December 18, 2008

    Two-Day AmP Gear Sale!

    Two exciting offers, just to make sure everyone who wants Papist Gear this Christmas, gets Papist Gear this Christmas:

    1) CafePress is offering a free upgrade to its premium shipping through Friday to ensure Dec. 24th delivery.

    2) I'm dropping prices on AmP Gear until Friday (midnight EST) to help out folks on a budget!

    Click here to browse the AmP CafePress store.

    And remember what I said in my first post - I'd love to have people send me their pics of their Papist Gear in action ... on the road, at home, at seminary, at school - be creative!

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    Tuesday, December 09, 2008

    A note about comments

    Last night I switched AmP to a more evolved comment system. It has a few extra bells and whistles but should still be fairly straight forward to use. Please let me know (by email) if you experience any difficulties.

    As many of you have probably noticed, we've had some nasty trolls try to upset our normally-easygoing discussion threads lately. I've been taking active measures to delete these comments and ban the guilty parties.

    If it happens to persist much longer I may have to enable comment moderation to pre-screen them out, but in the meantime I'll allow comments to stay live because I think it makes for more fluid interaction among readers.

    Okay everyone - thanks for your patience! We now return to our regularly-scheduled AmP programming.

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    Monday, December 01, 2008

    November posts new record

    Last month was, once again, the most popular month ever in AmP's history, by a healthy margin. The pages were physically viewed almost 200,000 times, and that's not even counting the RSS, email and Facebook readerships.

    .... all of which makes it incumbent on me to mention these fantastic AmP BlogAds opportunities! =)

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    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    THANK YOU!

    The combined efforts of AmP readers, and friends of AmP readers, resulted in this blog becoming the second Runner-Up in the 2008 Blogging Scholarship contest, with almost 5,000 votes:

    As promised, this money will be used to pay off my student loans. I have all you to thank for that, this Thanksgiving and everytime I look at the bill for my student loans (which will be often).
    Also, that crisis pregnancy center I asked AmP readers to vote for, well it ended up winning a $25,000 office makeover.
    This level of grassroots organization and mutual support between Catholics online is very encouraging to me. Together we can be a powerful, united force for good, in every area of our lives. Keep it up!

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    Monday, November 24, 2008

    AmP T-Shirt Contest

    Papists,

    Many of you have emailed me asking why there is no AmP merchandise (t-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, etc).

    There's a very simple reason: I can't draw.

    But you can!

    I think I see a solution here - I'll let you design the AmP t-shirt! The CafePress store is waiting.

    My guidelines are generous, because I'd like to keep this open to your creativity:
    1. A distinctive image, probably based on this photo which I've used since the beginning as my banner. I think a stencil version (of the Cardinal on the right side) would be very snazzy. This photo, after all, perfectly captures the "Not Your Average Catholic" AmP tagline....
    2. .... which leads into my next suggestion, that the graphic include the phrase: "American Papist ... Not Your Average Catholic!" Because being Catholic is never ordinary - it's extraordinary! And AmP readers ... well, this applies to you the most.
    3. use the preferred AmP color scheme (white background, deep crimson primary color, loud orange highlights).
    4. finally, of course, "blog.americanpapist.com" or "AmericanPapist.com" should appear somewhere.

    .. and that's it! Send me your submissions in an email attachment to "thomas [at] americanpapist [dot] com."

    As for remuneration, I can't make guarantees, as obviously it depends on how many folks decide they just can't live without official AmP product, but I can guarantee recognition and credit. And hey, if I sell a few dozen shirts, I certainly won't forget the talented individual(s) who made it possible! I haven't gotten to where I am by forgetting my good friends who have helped me.

    If you are a fledgling Catholic designer, etc,. this is a great way to get massive exposure. AmP is, by my current tally, one of the three most popular Catholic blogs in the world (plus plenty of people at the Vatican read this, too, so this is a great way for you seminarians to get noticed!).

    Okay, I like keeping things short n' sweet - so give it a shot yourself or tell a friend straight away!

    update: to avoid confusion, I've slightly edited this post. I'm looking for a t-shirt design, not a new logo.

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    Thursday, November 06, 2008

    AmP's 4,000th Post

    Four thousand posts ....

    1,532 this year alone ....

    It's enough to make a young guy feel old! I mean, some of those are pretty long. I can't even begin to imagine how much time that represents. For instance, I think it's a safe estimate that only about a tenth of what I read eventually makes it to the blog. So that's 40,000 sources ... at least. Oh, and those blogger tech issues - *shudder*.

    To celebrate this marker, I'm going to take a little break. It seems many of us are suffering a little post-election burn-out/postpartum depression, and I'm no different. There's plenty plenty to be done, but I'm confident that He who keeps the world running will do just fine without me watching out for His fingerprints, at least for a few days (which is all I'll be gone).

    Mind you, I'll probably sneak in a few posts until the weekend, but over the weekend I'll be travelling home to catch up with family and close friends, recharge the batteries, visit the old haunts, and commiserate over a pint or five. If anyone wants to assist in funding the adventures, there's always that paypal button on the sidebar - jingle, jingle! I'm just sayin'. ;-)

    Who knows, I might find some time to update my twitter page, but no hard promises - this is the closest thing I get to vacation these days. And of course, there's always AMP NEWS archives to browse, comment wars to wage (feel free to post news links in the threads) and ... well - 3,999 other posts to read! This tag is a personal favorite. You can also make me happy by subscribing to AMP NEWS. We should have exciting new content for you soon.

    Oh and don't cease sending the emails. As I've said, I read each and every one ... eventually. Blogging also tends to be far more email-based when I'm travelling because, obviously, the stories are waiting patiently for me in my inbox (or impatiently - please, no more subject lines in ALL CAPS. I can read small case just fine).

    I'm beginning to understand how I got to 4,000 individual blog topics so quickly - it's hard to stop. With devoted readers like you, it's easy to see why. You're not the only ones who have benefited from these 4,000 posts.

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    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    In the spotlight: Pro-Obama Catholics

    The question of whether one may, in good conscience, support Barack Obama as a Catholic after taking into account his positions and views will be an ongoing AmP feature leading up to the November election.

    After last night's debate, it's a perfect time to survey what top Catholic writers and intellectuals are saying about the decision-making process, and about the recent minority phenomenon of (militant, vocal) Catholic Obama supporters.

    As an important qualification - one that I thought could be presumed but judging from the comments and emails is evidently not apparent - arguments that raise questions about the prudence of voting for Obama do not necessarily constitute an argument for a McCain vote. That's a separate question, and while I realize a consideration of either men does not occur in a vacuum, it is crucial to realize that my reservations about Obama are not the result of a prior decision that McCain is the right candidate. That said.

    Point one: Some people are arguing stridently that Obama is the more acceptable candidate to Catholics.

    Point two: When Archbishop Wuerl was presented with the dominant strains of the pro-Obama argument by Catholic journalist John Allen, he repudiated them.

    Point three: Robby George has published a comprehensive overview of Obama's positions on the life issues, and talks about an often-neglected aspect of Obama's anti-life views, namely, his desire to proliferate embryonic stem cell research:

    But for a moment let's suppose, against all the evidence, that Obama's proposals would reduce the number of abortions, even while subsidizing the killing with taxpayer dollars. Even so, many more unborn human beings would likely be killed under Obama than under McCain. A Congress controlled by strong Democratic majorities under Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would enact the bill authorizing the mass industrial production of human embryos by cloning for research in which they are killed. As president, Obama would sign it. The number of tiny humans created and killed under this legislation (assuming that an efficient human cloning technique is soon perfected) could dwarf the number of lives saved as a result of the reduced demand for abortion-even if we take a delusionally optimistic view of what that number would be.

    He sandwiches this point around two statements:

    "I have examined the arguments advanced by Obama's self-identified pro-life supporters, and they are spectacularly weak. It is nearly unfathomable to me that those advancing them can honestly believe what they are saying...

    ... In the end, the efforts of Obama's apologists to depict their man as the true pro-life candidate that Catholics and Evangelicals may and even should vote for, doesn't even amount to a nice try. Voting for the most extreme pro-abortion political candidate in American history is not the way to save unborn babies."

    Point Four: George Weigel in Newsweek has also heard the arguments and contributes in his response a summary of the current situation and a prediction of the future should Obama win:

    The argument [of pro-Obama Catholics] is, some might contend, a bold one. Yet it is also counterintuitive, running up against the fact that, by most measures and despite his rhetoric about reducing the incidence of abortion, Barack Obama has an unalloyed record of support for abortion on demand. Moreover, he seems to understand Roe vs. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions as having defined abortion as a fundamental liberty right essential for women's equality, meaning that government must guarantee access to abortion in law and by financial assistance—a moral judgment and a policy prescription the pro-life Catholic Obama boosters say they reject.

    About the growing boldness of the American bishops, he observes:

    Many U.S. bishops, in other words, seem exasperated with Catholic politicians who present themselves as ardent Catholics and yet consistently oppose the Church on what the bishops consider the premier civil-rights issue of the day. It seems unlikely that the bishops, having found their voices after discovering the limits of their patience, will back off in an Obama administration—which could raise some interesting questions for, and about, a Vice President Joe Biden, whose fitness to receive holy communion may well be discussed in executive session at the bishops' annual meeting in mid-November.

    Indeed, the questions and problems we are facing now will only increase - dramatically - if this will come to pass. I join Weigel in waiting to see what the likes of Kmiec, Kaveny and Cafardi will have to say about this. I'll be here, blogging about it when that happens, but I'm not looking forward to it.

    As context to this whole debate, let's add a few remaining points.

    Point five: Raymond Arroyo notes that this remains a seriously open question mostly to those who have not examined the questions carefully and at length:

    "The real swing voters in this election will be the Easter/Christmas Catholics — those who infrequently attend church, but consider themselves in the fold. They too will be influenced by the cultural tug of the faith described above. How to capitalize on the inherent tendencies of Catholic voters will be for the candidates to discover. But it will take real savvy and sensitivity to win over this block — and a few novenas couldn’t hurt."

    Point six: But for all that, ignorance of Obama's true positions are not just found among Catholics. Average Americans are decidedly more pro-life than Obama:

    A new national poll of Americans finds a large majority take one of three pro-life positions opposing all or most abortions. The survey also finds more than one-quarter of people who say they are "pro-choice" on abortion really take a pro-life position against abortions.

    Some 60 percent of Americans say abortions should never be allowed or only in the rarest of circumstances, such as rape and incest, that constitution less than two percent of all abortions nationwide. (LifeNews)

    Point seven: Amazing as it might seem, I'm approaching this issue not just because of the upcoming election. Obviously we stand at a crossroads and Catholics have a critical part to play in the upcoming election. But we also have a critical part to play the whole year round, year by year, in forming a culture of life. Election moments, especially when candidates such as Obama are on the ballot, provide special opportunities to examine how, as Catholics, we form our conscience and prudentially strive to participate in building that culture of life.

    I'll leave off at this point since I've already compiled a huge amount of information here to read through.

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    16 away! {update - made it!}

    The official AmP Facebook fanpage is a mere 16 members from the new goal of 750. As I've said, AmP posts are fed into the Facebook page - so you can keep up to date on the news without ever having to leave Facebook (the designers must love me for that).

    And a big thank you to everyone who has voted for AmP in the 2008 Blogger's Choice Awards this week!

    update: bingo! 751 as of 12:35EST. Thanks to those of you who dipped into their friends list! =)

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    time for a little change

    No, not that kind of change!
    I updated my profile picture on the sidebar, the previous one was a couple years old. This new one was taken last weekend, on Georgetown's famous M Street, waiting for a bus to arrive.
    Now to start revising the rest of the sidebar... geez, that's daunting. Any suggestions?

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    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Pope Benedict asked to begin blogging at Synod

    I kid you not:

    The Synod of Bishops on the Bible heard an unusual suggestion Tuesday morning when a Hong Kong observer asked Pope Benedict to start up his own daily blog on Scripture.

    Agnes Kam Leng Lam, president of the Catholic Biblical Association of Hong Kong, said people need to experience Scripture in small but significant doses.

    “To put it in a nutshell, I’d like to suggest to you Holy Father to start a multi-language blog to shepherd today’s world by scriptural verses, daily verses,” she said on the synod floor. The pope’s blog should include simple reflections that relate Scripture to real-life situations, she said.

    Lam included advice that’s probably good for any blogger: “Remember, brief texts, Holy Father, and plentiful images, and this will be very attractive to the young generation and to today’s people.”

    The talk apparently provoked a positive reaction and some laughter, but the pope, who was presiding over the Oct. 5-26 assembly, didn’t say whether he’d be blogging anytime soon. (CNS Blog)

    I agree with how Pope Benedict handled this. He definitely should wait to announce his blog until he has at least decided on a template and platform. After all, that's just common practice.
    Pope Benedict's blog would not be the first time a Pontiff has taken an active role on the web. Many will remember that Pope John Paul II was often known to lurk on Catholic forums (photographic evidence).
    (/joking.)
    update: The Curt Jester has a hilarious follow-up to this story, complete with his "photographic evidence."

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    Monday, October 13, 2008

    Open Thread

    Today is a holiday for many of us (myself mercifully included) and I've managed to spend almost three consecutive days away from all things noteworthy. I'm about to run away again, but welcome readers in the meantime to hop in the comment box and give me a head start on the news .... so, what's happening? what are we talking about? who said what, where, when, and why?

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    Friday, October 10, 2008

    Accelerated Friday

    Busy day today, so I'm blogging around the circumference.

    Does anyone have exciting weekend plans for the upcoming 3-day?

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    Monday, October 06, 2008

    AmP Facebook Fanpage passes 700 member mark!

    Over the weekend the official AmP Facebook Fanpage passed 700 members!

    I think the fact that it now streams AmP blog content has helped motivate folks to join.

    Okay, now go invite your friends and get active! (Discussian threads, event announcements, etc....)

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    Sunday, October 05, 2008

    Picture: Pope Benedict Waving to Dominicans

    Fr. Benedict Croell, OP: "Our Holy Father passing by in front of the Angelicum waving to the Dominicans on his way to a meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napalitano at Palazzo del Quiranale."

    This seemed like an appropriate picture to accompany my admission that homework for the Dominicans has taken the place of blogging this weekend. Monday is a new day so check back then!

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    Friday, October 03, 2008

    AmP October Goals - Get Involved!

    September was another blistering month for AmP in terms of stories (+250!) and activity (a visit increase of +25% over the highest previous monthly-total ever). October promises to be eventful month as well with the upcoming elections and the surprise development I mentioned earlier (stay tuned!).
    Here are the five September goals and the actuals as of October 1st:

    Thank you for your active participation, papists!

    I should also mention that September set a new record for most comments (almost a 100% increase over the highest previous monthly-total ever). AmP is becoming a vibrant community of debaters and tipsters!

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    Wednesday, October 01, 2008

    ... made it!

    AmP has made it into the top 3 for the 2008 Blogger's Choice Awards in the Religion category.

    ~ With your help! ~

    Also in the top 3 - Fr. Z's fine blog "What Does The Prayer Really Say?"

    Final voting numbers are hidden until it wraps up, but please go vote for me (and Fr. Z) - it counts!

    September was the most popular month for AmP ever, by a significant margin (~25%). Again, thank you!

    If all goes according to plan, October will feature the most exciting development in AmP's history.

    So stay tuned!

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    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Told you....

    .... that I wasn't kidding when I said today would be a clearing house day. And that wasn't even everything. As you can see, there is plenty to be done, but the first step is knowing what is happening.

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    Controversy Tuesday!

    When it rains, it pours. For several days a whole slew of controversies have been pouring into my inbox, and I've decided to publish them spread out during the course of the day, this last day of September.

    Seriously, it's "pick your cause" day, there's so much happening.

    Don't experience burn-out as you read this, AmP readers are simply helping me broaden my coverage of current events.

    With that said... here's what's going on right now.

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    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    AmP Facebook Fanpage now streaming blog content!

    Hi folks, I finally got today to linking the official AmP Facebook fanpage to the blog's syndicated content feed today, so now you can keep up-to-date on AmP content and forward it to your friends in Facebook!

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    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    AmP nominated for a "Love! This Site" award

    I don't know too much about this contest, but there's no such thing as a bad award, right?
    Needles to say, thank you to whomever nominated me!

    It does appear to be one of those ploys to get you to register for their site. Still, a mere 33 votes (that's about 1-in-200 AmP visits per day) would put us in 3rd place and maybe gain some new readers.
    Registration/voting took about thirty seconds for me from start to finish (no annoying personal questions, thankfully). I have a secondary email address I use for these sorts of things. Let them spam away.
    And thanks to everyone who has already been voting/will vote for me in the 2008 Blogger's Choice Awards!
    update: thanks for all the support! AmP is already in 6th place! 16 more votes to 3rd plaec!

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    Tuesday, September 09, 2008

    100 Feedburner Subscribers!

    I'm happy to see today that AmP has reached one if its five September readership goals. Thank you!

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    Monday, September 01, 2008

    AmP September Goals - Get Involved!

    August was a stellar month for AmP (most unique visitors in a month ever), and September promises to be eventful with the Vatican returning from its summer vacation and more developments in the '08 election.
    I'd love to see AmP reach five goals with your assistance by the end of this month:

    Thank you for your active participation, papists!

    I should also mention that August set a new record for most comments left in a month, and my email is regularly being inundated with great tips. AmP is a team project, and its continued growth is due to you.

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    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    Very Pleased

    If you've noticed an uptick in the caliber of the stories and overall vitality of AmP recently and can't account for it, you have your fellow readers to thank.
    I'm extremely happy about the news tips I've been receiving via e-mail - they really help prevent wasted effort on my end and with your help, I'm thrilled to see this blog gradually transform from a one-man operation into a community of active, informed Catholic readers.
    As far as my editorial contribution, I like to think I've become much better at establishing a regular routine when it comes to reading tips, drafting stories and timing their publication. I read every tip.
    So, this isn't a post in which I'm asking you to change anything that you're doing ... kust keep the tips coming like before, and - if anything - maybe send in a few more. Or send in your first:
    "thomas [at] americanpapist [dot] com"

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    Monday, August 18, 2008

    Sad Day

    After traveling in the past couple weeks to Florida, Philadelphia and New York, I finally had my phone stolen ... about five miles from home, when I stepped away for a couple minutes from the table where I was having dinner.

    While I did quickly use a friend's phone to call my carrier and deactivate the phone, I am still left in a spot trying to purchase a new phone/plan simultaneously with paying for new school books, rent, tuition, etc.

    Fortuitously, I had been planning on getting a new phone soon, as I mentioned recently, and hopefully I'll be able to use this smart phone to blog when I'm on the road (no more stints of inactivity due to lack of Internet access, which is welcome because I will probably be on the road a fair amount in the coming months).

    That said, if anyone wants to contribute a mite to my paypal donation button (over on the sidebar), I'd be very appreciative. I'm quickly coming to realize that life is expensive, and I'd hate to be forced to take away time from the blog to do such trivial things as earn an income.

    After all, where's the challenge in that?
    post script: I'm praying right now that the thief experienced a moment of conversion when he flipped open my phone and saw my wallpaper. I mean, an image of Christ the Judge should cause you to do a double-take ...

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    Friday, August 01, 2008

    Glancing back at July, looking forward into August

    July was a very robust month for AmericanPapist, it's second-busiest month ever, in fact, behind only April 2008, when Pope Benedict visited and I was making regular media appearances.
    August might be a bit slower for a couple reasons.
    First, Pope Benedict is on vacation, so the amount of Vatican-related news decreases when most of the Vatican curia (and basically the entire city of Rome, for that matter) take off work as well.
    Second, to mirror that lull, I'm planning on being on the road from about now until August 11th.
    Blogging from the road will be light, and I've found that the story content and sources tends to switch disproportionally during these times from topics I go out and find to topics you find and send to me.
    That's right, instead of the time-intensive task of combing the news feeds and bugging the regular AmP-sources for quality content, I'll be looking at my email inbox for tips when deciding what to post, during those occasional moments when I steal myself away from beaches, boats and friends.
    The upswing of this is that such stories tend to stay on the mainpage longer because updating is less frequent.
    So: "thomas [at] americanpapist [dot] com." Help me keep AmP humming along even as the summer wanes!
    Thank you.

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    Monday, July 28, 2008

    New internet search engine unveiled, clearly needs work

    There's a new internet search engine in town called Cuil (pronounced "cool"). The AP talks about it:

    Anna Patterson's last Internet search engine was so impressive that industry leader Google Inc. bought the technology in 2004 to upgrade its own system.

    She believes her latest invention is even more valuable—only this time it's not for sale.

    Patterson instead intends to upstage Google, which she quit in 2006 to develop a more comprehensive and efficient way to scour the Internet.

    The end result is Cuil, pronounced "cool." Backed by $33 million in venture capital, the search engine plans to begin processing requests for the first time Monday.

    Cuil had kept a low profile while Patterson, her husband, Tom Costello, and two other former Google engineers—Russell Power and Louis Monier—searched for better ways to search.

    Now, it's boasting time.

    For starters, Cuil's search index spans 120 billion Web pages.

    Patterson believes that's at least three times the size of Google's index, although there is no way to know for certain.

    Personally, it already failed my litmus test:

    Oh well, I hope they work out the kinks. Google did.

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    PQOTD: "Getting divorced is easier than cancelling cell phone service"

    Sad ... but so true!

    "Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren Anselmi of Piura called on officials last week to promote measures that help the family instead of weaken it, referring to recent passage of a law facilitating divorce, which he said, makes it “easier to get a divorce in Peru than to cancel your cell phone service.” (CNA)

    I bet more people stay in their cell phone contract than marriage. But at least a phone contract is supposed to end.

    Well, I guess this might be as good a time as any to officially announce that I'm getting ...

    ... a new cell phone plan. ;-)

    I've long been considering a Blackberry, specifically the 8830 "World Edition" (pictured left) with Verizon Wireless.

    Anything I should know before I "take the leap" into a two year contract? Could I do better for the money?

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    Thursday, July 03, 2008

    July 2nd: 1,000,000 sitemeter visits (~2 million actual)!

    +O:^)

    -->

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    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    A very special radio appearance today

    This afternoon from 4-6pm my father Canon Lawyer Ed Peters will be guest hosting Al Kresta's radio show on Ave Maria Radio (you can listen to it live right here).

    I will be in-studio with him from either 5:20 or 5:40 until 6:00 EST, speaking about Catholic blogging and (I believe) taking calls. Feel gree to give us a ring!

    [update: you can call us live, toll-free at 877-573-7825]

    Today is also my birthday, and for me it is a great source of joy to be able to spend it with my whole family.

    With God's grace, I trust this will be a year well spent. Thank you, my readers, for the grace you have been, and continue to be, in my life. May we all strive to do the will of Our Lord each and every day.

    update 2: The show has been archived here. Thanks for all the well wishing!

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    Thursday, June 05, 2008

    A blustery day, and a submerged room

    Folks here in DC and much of the area got walloped by a fierce summer storm today. Tornadoes touched down in some nearby suburbs. With news of several weather-related fatalities, I can't find it in me to complain much about my misfortunes. My room flooded. That was quite a clean up job. And I still haven't seen a tornado.

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    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    AmP Facebook Fanpage approaches 400 members!

    What are you waiting for?

    Join the official AmericanPapist Facebook fanpage and tell your friends!

    (I promise to update it more in the future.)

    update: Wow! I'm excited to see that we're at about 425 fans. Now it's my turn to fulfill my promise and update it more frequently.

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    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    Happy News

    I'm pleased to say that I've completed my first year of graduate theological studies in DC. It went very well and I'm looking forward to some exciting summer projects (blogging-related and otherwise).

    But first things first, today I'm going to go out and play paintball with some friends for a few hours.

    Regular AmP coverage will resume shortly. Probably tomorrow around nursing my wounds. :)

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    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    Busy Blogger This Week

    This week is final examinations for me, so blogging is taking place around studying for those, finishing up term papers, plus the normal employment obligations, so bear with me as I go heavy on the links and probably lighter on the commentary for the next few days. Thanks!

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    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    AmP Featured on BlogAwards.com

    Pretty cool:

    In honor of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the good ol’ USA, we bring you the blog American Papist: Not Your Average Catholic. For those not in the know, a Papist is a Catholic who is a strong advocate of the papacy. The blog is written by Thomas Peters, a young lay Catholic currently studying and working in Washington D.C., who has been blogging about life as a Catholic American since 2005. Brimming with images of the Pope’s visit thus far (he only arrived yesterday in D.C.) and extended coverage of his every move, American Papist is a must-read for Catholics and non-Catholics alike who are interested in the Holy Father.

    Thanks for the nod!

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    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Thanks, Papa!

    Needless to say, Pope Benedict XVI's visit was a huge shot in the arm for AmP's readership numbers. The blog was featured on the Today Show and MSNBC.com, and I was able to do interviews with CNN, BBC World News and Our Sunday Visitor. AmP was also recommended as a "go to" blog for papal coverage by countless blogs and websites.

    Thank you for the trust.

    Hopefully people were able to find out more about our beloved Holy Father. After all, he's why I'm here.

    As a result of all this exposure, some AmP numbers for you, in case you find these things interesting:
    • Bloglines subscribers are up to 160.
    • Almost 400 subscribers through Google Reader.
    • Over 23,000 picture views recorded on Flickr.
    • AmP's YouTube videos have been watched almost 17,000 times, with 46 subscribers.
    • The official AmP Facebook page has almost 350 members now.
    • In the last week, well over 40,000 visits and 100,000 pages viewed.

    ... and a couple folks even dropped a little something in the Paypal donation box. Thank you!

    And please remember, following Pope Benedict XVI is a year-round gig around here - so stick around!

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    Suffering from Papal withdrawal?

    I am.

    I'm also rather exhausted by these last five days. I can only imagine how happy Pope Benedict is to be finally going home. I mean, he has almost 60 years on me. And what's around-the-clock coverage and a few interviews when compared to the schedule he had? Not much, really.

    (Gosh, I already miss him.)

    That said, I don't want to lose the momentum. I will, however, probably allow a few days to slip by before I try to glean what the "consensus" is following his visit. In the interim, AmP will be returning to its normal wide coverage of things Catholic, plus I'll be drafting a reflection piece on what the pope's visit means, now that he is gone.

    (I wonder if anyone wants to publish it? Drop me a line.)

    Also, I'd love to hear what you thought about the visit. Favorite moment? Favorite line? Did you see him? What was good? What was bad? Did the media behave? Did the pope exceed your expectations? Disappoint?

    There's plenty to discuss, so go for it!

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    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    Tonight, I sleep in the same city as the pope

    I checked the distance on Google maps, and it turns out that I live a scant four miles away from where Pope Benedict XVI is staying this evening, at the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See.

    Somehow, I think I'll sleep more soundly tonight knowing that. See you tomorrow, Holy Father!

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    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Welcome Busted Halo listeners!

    Welcome to everyone who is visiting AmericanPapist for the first time because you heard my segment on this evening's Busted Halo radio show on Sirius' Catholic Channel. Fr. Dave has a great show!

    If you have any questions about the topics we discussed, or if you just want to introduce yourselves, hop into the comment box below. And don't forget to bookmark. Thanks.

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    The New York Times gets ... well, credible

    The New York Times has a blog called "A Papal Discussion" covering Pope Benedict's trip:

    http://thepope.blogs.nytimes.com/

    What is notable about this development is the panel of contributors they have invited:
    • Alejandro Bermudez is the director of Catholic News Agency, which provides fine coverage of things Catholic. I've been using their material extensively for years.
    • Colleen Carroll Campbell works for the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which is a good outfit, and wrote "The New Faithful: Why Young Adults Are Embracing Christian Orthodoxy."
    • Rev. James Martin, S.J. is an associated editor of America. I can't say that I particularly agree with most editorial positions America has taken, but hopefully his commentary is accurate.
    • Rabbi James Rudin, I presume for ecumenical reasons. Hopefully he appreciates Pope Benedict XVI's long tradition of authentic dialogue with and respect of Jews.
    • Peter Steinfels, is a NYT religion columnist, and as Margaret Cabaniss noted on the Inside Blog, recently wrote a very illuminating article on papal news coverage.
    • Last but not least ... St. Blog's own Amy Welborn! Who migrated in the last year from her flagship Open Book blog to her new one, Charlotte was Both.

    Really, I don't think they could have chosen a better representative of St. Blogs than Amy.

    On the New York Times staff, it's Ian Fisher and Laurie Goodstein. Laurie I've heard is normally balanced.

    I hope this turns out to be as much of a sign of progress as it could be. Finally, mainstream media organizations are realizing that their coverage of things Catholic is lacking, and they're reaching out to fix it.

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    Wednesday, April 09, 2008

    Pope Trip - 5 days to go - My Plan

    Before we jump into the last few days before Pope Benedict XVI visits Washington DC and New York City, it would be good idea, I think, to do a quick review of my coverage plans for his visit (at this point).
    Of course, I am on the ground here in Washington DC, watching the preparations take place and focusing my coverage here. I'll also be paying attention to the pope's meeting with young people at St. Joseph's.
    A good portion of my time will be spent doing interviews. The Maximus Group has been keeping me busy, fielding offers, etc., and I've also had numerous chats (on camera and off) with organizations contacting me directly (email is the best way). I'll be announcing those once they get aired or published.
    Tomorrow night I'll be on Busted Halo live at 8:20-40 pm, on the Catholic Channel network. They take calls.
    I also should have advance access to the papal speeches and addresses during the pope's visit, and I'll be screening those so that once the embargo is lifted we can get those available to everyone quickly.

    As far as on the ground coverage, I'll probably be at the pope's first public appearance - vespers with the U.S. Bishops on the 16th at 5:15pm. Earlier that day I might try to catch a glimpse of him on Pennsylvania Avenue, but we'll see. I have the option of watching his speech to Catholic Educators on Thursday the 17th by sitting on the CUA campus mall, but frankly, I think I'll have a better view from home watching the live feeds at that point.

    On Friday morning I have the option of greeting the pope as he leaves the Apostolic Nunciature on his way to New York, but it's a very early morning and it's the same time as the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

    When the pope is on U.S. shores, I'll be manning the blogger console, scanning my finely-tuned RSS feeds, and providing complete coverage of the best the web has to offer in general, and St. Blogs in particular.

    Once again, your tips and contributions will be invaluable to make this whole thing proceed smoothly.

    And, I'm happy to report, the visitors are certainly pouring in. Today will be a new record for the most number of visits to AmP in a 24hr period. And to think, the pope himself is still 5 days away....

    To all the new readers - of which I know there are many - welcome! You've found a good place to watch the pope.

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    Wednesday, April 02, 2008

    A clarification regarding my papal visit media credentials

    Looking over the woes of Tim Drake for the National Catholic Register ("The Media "Nightmare" Has Already Begun") and Barb Fraze for Catholic News Service ("The nightmares of preparing for a papal visit)", I'm sorry to say that I think I've got them beat. Totally beat.

    In what's sure to be a disappointment to my readers - for which I apologize - it's currently looking like I will not have media credentials for the pope's upcoming visit.

    What's the story? It's no secret that the USCCB's media outreach website has been a rocky road for most of us who have tried to travel it. Long story short is that it looks like I misread my initial pre-accreditation email, and took a confirmation page ("please print this for your records," etc.) to mean that I had actually been awarded the credentials I requested. I've sent the USCCB an email asking for clarification, but haven't heard back.

    In the meantime, in full disclosure, I'm posting this update and have removed the notice I had added to the template sidebar.

    This doesn't mean, of course, that I won't still be covering the papal trip in-depth, it just means that I won't be covering the papal trip up close. I still have advance access to documents, I'll be on the ground in Washington DC, and enjoy an extensive network of colleagues who will be giving me reports of their experiences. Essentially I'm in the same boat as the majority of my hard-working, always-blogging fellow papists.

    Looks like I'll be watching this one from the sidelines, but I'm used to that. I'm a blogger. :-)

    Thanks in advance for your kind attention, and a few prayers at this stage certainly couldn't hurt.

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    Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    Alert: AmP receives premium media credentials for upcoming papal visit!

    My hands are trembling as I write this.
    Today I received my media credentials from the USCCB for Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic journey to the United States.
    It seems too good to be true, but it appears that I (or more accurately, AmericanPapist) have been approved to cover the following events:
    • April 16: Papal Vespers and Address to U.S. Bishops at the National Shrine
    • April 17: Address to Catholic Educators at The Catholic University of America
    • April 18: Ecumenical Prayer Service at Saint Joseph Parish in NYC
    • April 19: Rally with Seminarians and Young People at Saint Joseph Seminary
    • April 20: Papal Mass at Yankee Stadium

    That's right. An event every day (and I opted-out of the Andrews Air Force Base greeting). Each reporter is only allowed to cover one event per day, so this is the absolute limit of what I could have received.

    I'm especially excited about the Address to Catholic Educators, as I have long covered issues relating to Catholic education in America, and am myself a product of (and ongoing participant in) that enterprise. I'm also looking forward to the pope's rally with Seminarians and Young People, because AmP has always had a special focus on youth and seminarian topics. Hey, do what you know, I say.

    And of course, the address to U.S. Bishops and the Yankee Stadium Mass are important as well. The Ecumenical Prayer Service is probably a venue I'm least automatically familiar with, but there's time to learn.

    Now is the time to contact me ("thomas [at] americanpapist.com") to secure unique or distribution rights to the videos and pictures I will be able to take during these events. I'm also looking to publish my thoughts and experiences of the visit in high-profile publications, Catholic outfits get first preference.

    Having covered every apostolic journey of Pope Benedict's pontificate, and having attending World Youth Day 2005 in Germany as well as having covered such large events as the 2008 March for Life, I hope to be well situated to provide good reporting this time around as well. But this time, "officially."

    Please keep my preparations in your prayers. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the secret service background check goes smoothly. Luckily, for this sort of trip, my papist sympathies serve me in good stead.

    It's also no secret that your own attention to these pages, in your regular visits and helpful tips, has assisted tremendously in getting AmP a high enough profile to merit media credentials for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 100,000 visits a month has to be more than just my friends and family.

    So - thank you. I hope to make you all proud. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

    ~ Thomas Peters, AmericanPapist

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    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    AmP wins 2008 "Best Political/Social Commentary" Catholic Blog!

    The results are in!

    With all of the votes counted, AmP won "Best Political/Social Commentary Blog" in the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards.
    Other top finishes:
    • Funniest Catholic Blog - 2nd (tied)
    • Best Individual Catholic Blog - 2nd
    • Smartest Catholic Blog - 2nd
    • Best Designed Catholic Blog - 2nd
    • Best Insider News Catholic Blog - 3rd (even with my votes being split into two options)
    • Best Written Catholic Blog - 3rd
    • Most Informative & Insightful Blog - 4th
    • Best Overall Catholic Blog - 4th (again, my vote split in two, but it doesn't change the rank)

    Wow, four second-place finishes, and four more top-5 finishes. Considering the winners in these categories outstrip my daily readership, I'm happy that proportionally AmP readers more than carried their weight!

    Truly, a great big THANK YOU to everyone who voted for me, and congrats to the other winners!

    Since moving to Washington, DC in August of 2007, I've been trying to include more regular political and social commentary into my coverage. Recently, I have been publishing more freelance pieces in online publications such as Catholic Exchange and Inside Catholic, as well as increasing the number of interviews I grant.

    Considering how recently I've been doing this seriously, I think it's safe to say "you ain't seen nothing yet."

    So stick around! There's plenty to come.

    update: Special congratulations to Fr. Z. who ran away with practically every award his impressive blog was eligible for. Congrats also to The New Liturgical Movement that worthily won the "Best Designed" award, and best group blog. Fine contributors there. CreativeMinorityReport is the new kid on the block, look for good things from him in the future. And I have to say he's very inventive with his blogger template. CurtJester, it's no surprise, won "Funniest Catholic Blog." Hey, I voted for him, negative campaign and all. :-P

    Allright, back to doing what I've been self-referentially talking about the past couple weeks!

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    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Humor: A little piece of American history

    I though this would be appropriate enough for AmP's 2,800th post....

    From The Charter of Massachusetts Bay (Colony) - 1691:

    “[T]here shall be a liberty of Conscience allowed in the Worship of God to all Christians (Except Papists) Inhabiting or which shall Inhabit or be Resident within our said Province or Territory.”

    This was forwarded to me by Matthew Balan who works for MRC and blogs for NewsBusters.

    Search for "papist" and this blog appears 1st on Ask!, 2nd on Google, 3rd on Yahoo!, and 4th on MSN.

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    Friday, March 14, 2008

    Personal Papal Preparations Proceed aPace

    It's Friday, so I figure I'm permitted some blog title levity.

    Anyway, a couple exciting recent developments and observations:

    First, I've been included as a spokesperson available to field media requests through the Maximus Group, "the leading Catholic communications agency in the United States," for the pope's visit. It's a non-exclusive agreement, so if anyone else is interested in my services, I can be contacted at "thomas [at] americanpapist [dot] com." I'm particularly interested in pursuing pre-visit agreements for the rights to articles, photos and videos I'll be providing. If you want my resume, drop me an email.

    Second, earlier this month I received an email notification from the USCCB granting me pre-approval media credentials for the papal visit. Final approval will come down March 24, so in the meantime I'd appreciate some prayers. It's truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I've been preparing for it considerably. And really, there couldn't have been a more opportune time to re-locate to Washington DC. God works in wonderful ways.

    Finally, online content related to the pope's visit is quickly proliferating now that we are only five short weeks away from his visit. I'll be posting more often as I find items of interest, so it's best to check this link regularly because it compiles and updates instantly.

    Okay then, off we go!

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    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    A modest proposal: a new template for AmP

    update: version "2.0" of the demo template is now up for review.

    I'm testing out a simpler version of the AmP template to go live later this week:

    Some folks have complained the current AmP template is a bit bandwidth heavy, and I agreed.

    If you've ever wanted something added, removed or changed, now is your chance to tell me.

    Please leave comments on this post, not the demo website. Thanks in advance for your input!

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    Friday, February 08, 2008

    Local associate pastor makes good

    Always nice to see a(nother) familiar face with the Pope.

    Fr. Dan Gallagher briefly served as an associate pastor of my parish in Michigan, where he (among many other good projects) led a wonderful schola choir. About the only thing that's changed since then - besides rapidly moving up in the clerical world - is the full beard.

    That's gone.

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    Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    Brief respite

    Blogging will be on the sparse side as I recover from the strenuous schedule of activities I attended during the March for Life events. Also, my computer crashed this evening so I spent most of the duration repairing and restorying backups. No worries, to take two steps forward, sometimes it's necessary to take one backwards.

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    Thursday, January 17, 2008

    AmP to use Web2.0 features to report March For Life!

    In order to, among other things, provide better mutimedia coverage of this year's March for Life I've purchased a Kodak V1253 Digital Camera.

    In addition to taking pictures up to 12 megapixels in size, the V1253 is also the first commercially-available camera (as I understand it) to offer HDTV-quality video recording. To my way of thinking, 100,000+ catholics marching for life in near-freezing temperatures deserve to be represented well, especially when the mainstream media demonstres a hypocritical tendency to ingore their efforts.

    My long term plan with this purchase is to provide more exclusive pictures and audio/video content of local Catholic events, and the March for Life seems like a perfect place for that plan to take shape concretely. This way, by the time Pope Benedict XVI visits in April, I should have a bit of experience in covering these sorts of events under my belt. And of course, if anyone wants to send a correspondent to World Youth Day in Sydney this summer.... I haven't yet unpacked my bags from the last one.

    In terms of "web2.0" features, I'll be uploading my videos to the AmericanPapist YouTube channel (which has already been viewed 133 times, somehow?) and uploading the still images to the AmericanPapist Flickr page (over 15k views!). That updating will begin this weekend, once I have a chance to attend several of the March for Life-related events.

    Needless to say, I'm footing the bill for all this myself, and I have no regular sponsors to compensate the time I spend blogging and covering these events. To that end, and specifically with another semester of books, lodging, internet access, transportation and (above-all) tuition to cover, any free-will offering would be most welcome. The little Paypal donate button on the sidebar is a good place to start.

    Also, the timing has never been so opportune as now to place an AmP Blog advertisement, especially if you are trying to promote a pro-life product or service. I'm expecting a large uptick in daily visitors during the upcoming weekend and throughout the March for Life, so do take note.
    After all, with over 1.35 million visits to AmP since its founding, it's clear folks are watching.

    Okay, time to get down to business: this promises to be a wonderful weekend - stay tuned!

    P.S. And if any of you are wondering, a redesign of the AmP blog is in the works, but still far off.

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    Monday, January 07, 2008

    Back in DC, back to blogging

    I'm back in Washington DC after a couple restful and rejuvenating weeks with my family in Michigan, and ready to re-enter the stream of current events. Backtracking stories that have come and gone while I have been absent is untenable so rather than delve into that avalanche of stories I'll be picking up coverage with today's top stories.

    Of course, if I've missed anything *really* important it wouldn't help to remind me....

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    Sunday, December 09, 2007

    Photo: "InternationalPapist"

    Reader Adam brings up a good point:

    "... out of all the Catholics I know over here in Manchester, England, at least half visit AmericanPapist regularly, so you are by no means an American only website! While we might not quite get all the senator/politics stuff, we love the papist stuff!"

    Indeed, if "PapistAmerican" didn't sound so akward, that might more adequately grasp what this blog strives to provide: news and content of interest to a papist living in America. Remember, Catholic means "universal."

    ... which explains some of those other dots.

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    Wednesday, December 05, 2007

    AmP mentioned in LifeSiteNews coverage of agencies withdrawing Golden Compass ads

    Good tidings, and an appreciated mention from LifeSiteNews:

    Controversial advertisements suggested to the nation's top 50 Catholic diocesan papers advertising the upcoming movie "The Golden Compass" have been pulled.

    ... Medlinger [who is responsible for the day-to-day activities] explained that when a sales representative first approached him about pitching advertisements for the film, "I said we have to find out what the USCCB movie rating is."

    "When our sales rep heard that the rating from the Bishops Conference was A II he sent out that note," continued Medlinger. "Afterwards we had a conversation and we are not placing those ads."

    Asked what caused him to change his mind despite the positive USCCB review, Medlinger was hesitant and would only respond: "It was my decision, it was just business we didn't want to do."

    Faithful Catholic activists and bloggers can take a pat on the back for the outcome.

    ...

    LifeSiteNews.com readers, activists and Bloggers such as Amy Welborn, Thomas Peters of American Papist, among many others, have pursued both the USCCB review and the proposed ads stirring a healthy controversy.

    What can I say? Sometimes the system works.

    I certainly rest better knowing that Catholic publications will not help put dollars into the coffers of an author who wrote his books to promote atheism and mock the Catholic Church.

    Seriously, good job.

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    Technical issues resolved

    update: finally found a work-a-round. Get ready for 12 hours of saved-up stories!

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    Thursday, November 29, 2007

    Moving towards a milestone!

    Just a quick note to readers that if AmP receives 3500 visits tomorrow (slightly above average), it will break the 90k visits mark for November (a new record after last month's +80k).

    Another milestone on the near horizon - 750k visits this year. Not bad my fellow papist plotters!

    So, if there's some worthy post that you thought about linking or responding to, now would be a time I'd especially appreciate it! I would suggest that my critique of the Golden Compass might be a good choice.

    I must also say that the regular compliments and feedback I receive via email always render me very grateful and more eager to continue my blog's services. Here's a few recent samples:

    I have been reading your blog faithfully every day for a few months now. I have been wanting to drop you a line and just say what a great job you do. AmericanPapist is one of my favorite Catholic sites on the web. Keep up the excellent work.

    I love the blog, I've been following it for quite some time. The PPOTD always makes me smile.

    Thanks also for the great blog. Firstly, it's great to have a fellow young Catholic (especially a fellow Papist!) putting the issues out there. I also can't express to you enough how much I appreciate your sense of humor. The first PPOTD I saw was the Tower of Orthanc one, and I've been hooked on your blog since.

    The material is excellent but the humor makes it pop! ... Humor is so needed along with Orthodoxy.... and there is no reason not to be joyful in The Church which has The Fullness of The Truth!

    I can only respond that so much of AmP's quality and content is provided by the readers who send me tips, comments and links. AmP really is a group blog in that sense, I'm just the editor and faithful gadfly.

    Of course, there's also the stray negative comment. When objective and phrase charitably, these too assist the blog's quality and accuracy. So don't be afraid to speak up if you notice something. Blogging, when done right, actually does have an element of accountability, and this significantly improves my writing over time (I hope). Granted that it can be a slow and gradual process. But 2,300+ posts is a healthy start, I'd say.

    Okay, back to work!

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    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    A good deal just got great

    To encourage some new submissions, I've dropped the rates for placing an advertisement on the AmP sidebar. At the same time, AmP average daily visits have never been higher. In other words, A good deal just got better!

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    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    In case you haven't noticed...

    ... Blogger is undergoing scheduled maintenance and posts appear to be disappearing and reappearing. Apologies for the inconvenience. The system should be more stable by tomorrow.

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    Friday, November 02, 2007

    October was a good month for AmP. (Thank You!)

    October was a very good month for AmP, assisted in part by my inclusion in the 2007 Blogging Scholarship Award contest as well as the publication of several lengthy posts that were picked-up across the blogosophere on the topics of Plan B in Connecticut, Abp. Niederauer giving Communion to homosexual activists as well as my advance review of the new pro-life movie Bella. Your comments, emails and news tips have been invaluable.

    A special welcome for anyone who has newly subscribed to AmP, and renewed thanks to the regulars.

    November promises to be another exciting time frame, with the meeting of the U.S. Bishops mid-month, and the Consistory of Cardinals at the very end, as well as ongoing additions to my series of essays on contemporary issues in bioethics (and of course, the occasional PPOTD). In addition, I have several AmP exclusive stories in various stages of composition. A site redesign might even happen, who knows? So crank up the Habemus Papam song, brew some tea or coffee for your favorite Cardinal Benedict Fanclub mug, and stay tuned! - Thomas

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