Twitter gospel gains papal convert

 

Social networking site Twitter had a new convert yesterday as Pope Benedict XVI sent his first tweet announcing a new Vatican news portal.

Pope Benedict's tweet read: "Dear Friends, I just launched News.va Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI."

It was the first time the medium was used by the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican's news portal aggregates information from its print, online, radio and television media. The 84-year-old pope unveiled the site online using an iPad2.

Marking the 45th World Day of Social Communications earlier this year, the pontiff said the medium was “giving birth to a new way of learning and thinking”.

He said: “There exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others”.

The pope warned new technological developments "must be placed at the service of the integral good of the individual and of the whole of humanity".

"If used wisely", he said, the new technology can "contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being".

The Vatican already uses the networking site Facebook as it attempts to engage with the younger generation.

In 2009, the Vatican website, www.pope2you.net, went live, offering an application called "The pope meets you on Facebook," and another allowing followers access to the pope's speeches and messages on their iPhones or iPods.