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Even the Old Testament could use a little help from new media. Starting this week, Pope Benedict XVI is on Facebook.
Facebook users will not be able to friend the pope or throw sheep at him, but they will be able to sign up for personalized daily messages at www.pope2you.net.
The new website provides access to the Pope's dedicated YouTube channel, an application that sends messages from Pope Benedict via Facebook, and Vatican news sent straight to the iPhone.
The Catholic Church may not be interested in changing its message to reach followers in a more secular world, but it is prepared to change the ways it communicates to them.
Pope John Paul II was considered "a man of images," and Pope Benedict puts a deep emphasis on texts and the written word. According to Peggy Noonan, this makes him the perfect pope for the Internet age: "He is a man of the word. You download the text of what he said, print it, ponder it."
The Pope's new website may not be the most advanced entrance into the
social media sphere, but the Vatican of late has been intensely
concentrated on communicating with people today where they are and with whatever tools they are using.
Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican's Social Communications department, told Reuters today: "We recognise that a church that does not communicate ceases to be a church. Many young people today...They are looking to a different media culture, and this is our effort to ensure that the Church is present in that communications culture."