Bolstered by a hearty endorsement from the Pope, the Vatican plunged into a new age today, launching its own dedicated YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/vaticanit.
Initially available in Italian, English, German and Spanish, the ad-free site gives the Church an official presence in the fast-moving, anarchic world of new technology. Type “Vatican” into YouTube’s search engine and the first video to appear is entitled “The Devil in the Vatican” and claims that the modern Church has gone over to the other side. The second argues that “Nazi Germany was a creation of the Vatican and the Jesuits”. Now the Vatican has the means to fight back.
“The Vatican Television Centre and Vatican Radio have been producing video news on the Pope’s activities every day for over a year,” said the papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi. “Now they are ready to make this jump into the global arena.”
The Vatican’s fusty facade has long concealed a tech-savvy interior: its solemn-looking website, www.vatican.va , is a treasure trove, and was once nominated for a Webby award.
Pope Benedict said the new technologies were “a gift to humanity”. By communicating online, he said, we are responding to God, “who desires to make of all humanity one family. When we find ourselves drawn towards other people … we are responding to God’s call.” But he warned that “if the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive” it can damage “healthy human development”.
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