Sunday, January 16, 2011

An urgent appeal from Unam Sanctam Catholicam's founder, Boniface


Okay, sorry for the lame Wikipedia-esque post title but if Wikipedia's "urgent appeal" was able to net them $14 million, maybe my appeal will be able to get me some of the help I am looking for.

Don't worry! I am not going to ask you for a dime. What I really need is some expertise; some faithful Catholic with the right skills to help me take this blog to the next level. Allow me to explain.

This blog is going on its fourth year. In that time it has gotten around 279,000 unique visits and has an average readership of about 180-220 per day. I have published 723 posts on everything from liturgy to history, politics to economics, patristics to apologetics, saints to Oprah and everything in between.

For some time now, I have been wanting to take this blog to the next step and make it more professional by expanding it into a legitimate website. Using a website instead of a blog would offer many more opportunities to customize layout and do a few things not possible with a blog; I do not just want to "upgrade" to Wordpress or hide a blog behind a dot com domain name and some code.

Here are some of the things I'd like to do with this website:
  • First, it would be much more aesthetically pleasing than this blog, that's for sure. That alone is a definite improvement.

  • The tone of the site would be different than that of this blog. This blog was founded as a place for me to air grievances - a place to say, " I see X,Y, and Z wrong in the Church and nobody else seems to care." Since I began blogging, I have of course realized that there are many persons out there who are likewise concerned about the Church's direction. The way I see it, the task now is not so much to air grievances as much as to be "evangelical" with Traditional Catholicism - instead of complaining about X,Y, and Z, pointing out why aspects A,B and C or Catholic Tradition are so beautiful and vital to a renewal of the Faith. While not shrinking from addressing challenging issues, this new site would be a much more positive elucidation of the traditional Catholic "position" than most of the other sites out there.

  • I'm hoping to transfer some of the very best posts from this blog, but mainly it would be new content, and of a much more scholarly tone than the off-the-cuff stuff I post on here (and yes, everything I post on here is off-the-cuff, unlike Athanasius who meticulously and responsibly researches his posts for weeks before doing them).

  • To facilitate getting more and better content up, I'd like to take on at least two more contributors to this new site who could post at least on a semi-monthly basis. Writings would have to meet some scholarly standards, but there would also be a place for opinion pieces. 

  • This new site will also feature some great multimedia stuff I am working on. I've been talking to some people and will be working this summer on doing some prototype video projects - some talking-head type stuff, but also some other things...I'm not going to say too much more about this at the time, save to say that it could generate a lot of traffic to the site.

  • One thing I am really excited about is using this site to post a lot of pastoral resources that I accumulated during my three and a half years as a DRE and Youth Director, specifically exhaustive notes and outlines for RCIA and resources for building an orthodox Youth Group. There is literally nowhere else on the web that offers this and I consider it to be one of the most important things offered by this site - especially since they will be FREE.

  • There will also be a section for reviews, mainly book and film. I envision these reviews as coming from a variety of contributors, almost in a Wikipedia type style of submission. I'd like to build a broad base of solid, Catholic reviews that would help guide Catholics in what they watch and read (and break up the monopoly that Stephen Greydanus has on them - sorry Steve).

  • The site will need to be able to be set up to take credit cards without the use of PayPal - not because I am expecting to make a lot or any money off of it, but because I want to have a store that can serve as a clearinghouse for good, Catholic books (especially slef-published ones) that could use more visibility: excellent books like Jeff Pinyan's Praying the Mass, the book by Anselm on the atonement I just reviewed (Poena Satisfactoria); great books that may be published mainstream but are not receiving a lot of attention from the Catholic press, like Alyssa Pitstick's massive tome Light in Darkness, a 458 page behemoth that thoroughly and decidedly trashes von Balthasar's theory of Christ's descent into hell. And of course, my books as well (here and here).

So what do I need? Somebody to set the site-up for me; I don't need anyone to actually manage it - I am pretty good at web design stuff once I understand the software that is being used, and I have other friends that will do the artwork, etc. I just need someone to throw up the skeleton of the site and teach me how to fill it in. I am willing to pay, though I don't have much. I have some friends who paid $1500 for a site and $49 every month to maintain it. Well, that's prohibitively expensive for me, especially since this site won't make much money. But I am willing to pay. So, what I need is someone who is willing to do this, can do it, and will do it promptly. I have had other people offer to help me with this before, but when I actually want to get started they are very non-responsive - what I need is someone who will actually be motivated to get this thing off the ground  and can do it in a timely manner.

I am hoping to start building this site within the  next six months and open it within a year.

So, post in the combox with your email address is you:

1) Are interested in being a contributor once this site goes up.

2) Are an individual with web expertise who can help me build this site.

3) Can refer me to someone who can build the site.

I do not have a name in mind for the new site yet, but the motto will undoubtedly be Mutans Tenebras In Lucem - "Turning darkness into light," from the famous anonymous poem "Pangur Ban."

Well, that's my vision. Is there anyone out there who can help me get this thing off the ground?

11 comments:

Curtis said...

I am a web programmer but I'm afraid I don't have time to help you much.

By the way, I've had moderately data/bandwidth intensive sites hosted for less than $100 per year, so don't settle for much more. I used Dreamhost (now $8.95 per month) for years and I think they are still competitive.

I did want to let you know that, even though I've stopped reading 99% of the Catholic blogs I used to, I still read yours and I think it is first-rate. Also, I agree with your sentiment that your writing is far better, the more positive and the less "reactionary" the topic.

paula said...

I'm not the person to help you because I don't know anything at all but I didn't want to read this post without commenting because I think this blog is very good as it is.

"instead of complaining about X,Y, and Z, pointing out why aspects A,B and C or Catholic Tradition are so beautiful and vital to a renewal of the Faith. "

Ok, but don't stop saying what is wrong even if you say what is good.

That said, I'm waiting for the webside because, if the blog is good as it is, how good would be the website then ?!

Good luck and I hope it will "be born" soon.

Anonymous said...

I have a website which is now offline (not used anymore) written manually in HTML and CSS and a touch of javascript. It should be easy to read and modify if you just know a little bit about HTML. If you like the structure you could just exchange the contents and graphical elements, or change the fonts and colors via CSS. It was designed to hold quite a lot of written information with images and easy extensibility. If you are interested just give me you e-mail and I will send you the files.

Justin said...

I have no skills to speak of that would help you but I will pray for its success. You are a first rate writer with a great blog.

Steve said...

Boniface,

Sorry to be yet another commenter unable to provide you any help with your future web site plans, but I wanted to send you my most enthusiastic encouragement nonetheless. Your blog and Anselm's are definitely my two favorites on topics of traditional Catholicism.

I have one request/suggestion though, but I'm not sure if it would be best implemented on your current blog or new web site, or via a new book (btw, I should be receiving Anselm's new book any day now - thanks for the recommendation!)....

Namely, my idea is for you to put together a traditional Catholic version of Jeff Pinyan's fantastic "Praying the Mass" book, i.e. which specifically covers the traditional Mass. To that end, one specific topic that I think you could do an exception job covering is this (basically, it's a request for how to better participate spiritually in the traditional Mass):

What specifically can the faithful be doing in prayer while the Priest "does his thing" during Holy Mass - e.g. what prayers can/should we be saying for the Priest while he is saying his Confiteor, receiving his Holy Communion, etc.?

I have yet to find many traditional Catholic resources which answer this particular question (but, I'm still a relative "newbie" to the traditional Mass - I've attended regularly not yet 2 years). The only thing I have come up with (and use routinely during Holy Mass) is that there is a fabulous prayer, "Prayer to be said at the Priest's Communion", from the olrl.org web site.

If you have any suggestions/recommendations on your blog for this topic in the short term, they would be greatly appreciated. Best of luck with your idea for the new web site!!!

Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

Steve B
Plano, TX

Kevin Francis Bernadette Clay said...

I like all of your ideas, some of which coincide with what I am doing. If you want a website that is professional, easy, secure and inexpensive, I highly recommend E-Catholic Churches: http://www.ecatholicchurches.com/
I use it for my MONKROCK [http://www.monkrock.com/] and Transitus [http://www.thelastmartyrdom.com/] sites. The owner, who is a devout Catholic and a great guy, is a personal friend of mine. They have great customer service, tech support, and you can even try it out for free! After the original MONKROCK site got hacked and deleted, I had a new site up in one day though it obviously required ongoing development from there. I could say more but this should be sufficient for you to consider my suggestion. Contact me anytime for help or questions. I am more than happy to help you in any way I can. Peace. T

Anonymous said...

Boniface,

I wish I could help you, but I can't I don't have the skills you are looking for.

But I love reading your blog especially the postings on history, they are awesome.

God Bless!

Mark of the Vineyard said...

Boniface,

Sorry I can't help you, but perhaps you could help me? I would like to ask you about your youth ministry program. Is there any way to contact you via e-mail?

CO said...

Boniface,

That could be quite a project. Here are some experiences with similar projects. Warning, I'm an engineer not an artist or web-designer.

The first is a site for my advisor's research lab (and self-hosted on-site for 10+yrs). This was hand coded with quite a bit of technical content with no transaction/payment need. With static pages, no comments, and updates requiring manual html coding, this is not what you are looking for.

The second is a software product site (auscio.com) for a simple little monitoring program that I made. Pages were either hand generated or generated with server side scripts (fun project but I'll use an external CMS next time) depending on need. Payment processing is provided through a 3rd party (similar to PayPal); I ended up not using it. Automatic or even basic "secure" electronic payment processing adds complications and expense. I chose a hosting service that charges for bits transferred (with small pages and no videos, $50 easily covers everything for a year).

If you can't find a dedicated website guy within a couple of months, let me know. There is absolutely *no* need to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars to get this started.

CO

Leo said...

I enjoy reading your blog, and would volunteer my help, but as you can see I've lacked the time to even update my own blog since the spring before last due to time constraints. Strange how my first post in two years is a plug for one of your posts. I wanted to put together a similar site, using wordpress, for more scholarly work, but have only been able to scratch together the time for a few theological excerpts and compile an online library. Good luck anyways.

Henry B. said...

Wyou continue to post on this blog?