To combat the moral hazards posed by humanity's deep affection for gadgetry, the Vatican is joining the conversation
Pope Benedict XVI doesn't tweet. He doesn't blog. You can become a fan of the Vatican on one of many Facebook pages, but you can't friend him in the proper sense of the term. "Poking" is certainly out of the question.
Despite the Pope's personal absence from the social web, the Vatican has been especially vocal about the evolving media ecosystem, inserting the Church and Christian doctrine into the conversations around the latest technologies.
The year has brought a major tech push from the Vatican. In January, the Pope encouraged Catholics to join Facebook and Twitter, declaring social networks to be important tools for "exchange, solidarity and the creation of positive relations," while simultaneously cautioning against online alienation in the digital age. In February, the Vatican released a Confession app on iTunes. Gradually, the papacy has found outlets on Facebook and Youtube in order to encourage "a culture of dialogue:" at Easter the Church broadcast the Pope's message on YouTube with subtitles in 27 languages, a Youtube record. As major media companies staff up with teach savvy social media specialists, even the Vatican has Pontifical Council for Social Communications, headed by Archbishop Claudio Celli. The Church's embrace of the Internet is nothing new; starting with John Paul II, who famously transmitted a special message to Bishops through the Internet in 2001 (pictured above), the Vatican has always considered the World Wide Web to be an essential tool for evangelization, "a new forum for preaching the gospel."