After I used the acronym in one of my posts earlier today, a reader wrote to say he is new to the world of ‘blogging’ and wondered what it stood for. (It means “in my humble opinion,” for those of you who didn’t know.) I think I use that abbreviation fairly often here; it’s become habitual for me as an ironic comment on my tendency to sound over-authoritative when I shoot my mouth off. When I typed it today, I had a premonition that it would only be a matter of time before someone relatively new to the net would ask for a translation. This post is for you.

It’s not just a ‘blogging’ term. It is one of a number of time-honored abbreviations from the early days of bulletin boards (BBS’s), chatrooms, usenet groups and email. These days, these acronyms are experiencing a resurgence with text messaging. Other common ones include “BTW”, “YMMV”, “RSN”, “PITA”, “LOL”, “ROFL” “TTFN”, “AFAIK” “WYSIWYG” ,”OTOH”, “RTFM”, and I’m sure you know “FUBAR”, right? Some are pretty obvious, others less so, Here are a couple of compendium lists where you can go to catch up on your chatroom abbreviations:,,sid44_gci211776,00.html



Benedict XVI Expected to Follow John Paul II’s Lead

So say the headlines. As I predicted when I wrote about John Paul’s death, I expected more of the same. But Cardinal Ratzinger has been the papal confidante, theoretician and policy maker all these years; in other words, he wrote the playbook. So wasn’t it really more that John Paul followed his lead? The only question is whether this is more like Dick Cheney or Karl Rove succeeding Bush. The headlines also say that “Latin Americans react with joy and a tinge of disappointment.” More likely disappointment with a tinge of joy, IMHO, at Ratzinger’s ascension rather than any of the Latin American contenders. They do embody half the world’s Catholic numbers, after all.

One of the things I will watch with fascination during Ratzinger’s papacy — the predictions are that he will make it a priority during his papacy to address the so-called ‘silent apostasy’ of European Catholics, whose overall numbers, church attendance and observance are rapidly decaying. How will a Eurocentric Church deal with the fact that European worshippers are AWOL, if not MIA, and the only souls for capture are second-class, third-world ones, the indigenous attempts of whose own Church leaders to meld the social with the spiritual needs of their flocks with more sensitivity and appropriateness are either slighted or actively opposed from Rome?