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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/29/2011 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Holy Father uses twitter to connect

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has an iPad and yesterday he used it to send the first papal tweet. Here was his message:  "Dear Friends, I just launched http://t.co/fVHpS9y Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI"

Pope Benedict XVI sending his first 'Tweet' to the world.

Pope Benedict XVI sending his first "Tweet" to the world.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/29/2011 (4 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Pope, #POPE, twitter, iPad, youth, internet, world wide web


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Sometimes called "old school', Pope Benedict XVI still writes his speeches and letters by hand. However, recently the Church has strongly encouraged the use of social media to connect with more people and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the whole world. 

Already, Pope Benedict XVI has his own YouTube channel, MySpace, and Facebook pages. Now, the Pontiff can add twitter to his resume. Targeting the online crowd, the Pope was given a tutorial on how to use the iPad and amid much attention, he gently tapped out his first tweet in English. Within a few hours the Pope had 15,000 followers. 

While the tweet specifically promotes a new Vatican-based news service, it is part of a broader effort to connect the Pope with the youth, who tend to make connections online instead of through more traditional means. 

This matter is of great import to the church which is engaged in a "New Evangelization" of its members and a major new missionary thrust. Those identified with the religion of Islam have recently overtaken those identified with Catholic Christianity. Reaching out to young members while gaining new ones is at the heart of the missionary mandate of the Catholic Church. 

The church has been somewhat slow to adopt new technologies in a wholesale manner, being wary of their use and impact on people as a some kind of substitute for healthy human relationships. The Catholic Church has been seeking ways to engage the youth while keeping a strong connection to older members who may be less comfortable or confident with newer communications technologies.

Some resistance to social networking and other online venues still remains among some bishops of the church, but that resistance is slowly fading as they realize the value of connecting with the church's youth by going where the youth are, which in this case is online. In addition, the mission of the Church REQUIRES the use of communications technologies and always has. 

However, no mistake should be made that the online realm can soemhow replace the physical presence of the church as the communion of the faithful, a relational reality. Last year, an I-Phone app which helps the faithful to prepare for the Sacrament of Confession (or Reconciliation) was mistakenly reported by ill informed journalists as offering some kind of "substitute" for the Sacrament.

The report was absolutely false! Any reporter who had  checked their sources or bothered to even try to understand the Catholic faith would not have reported it.

The Church has always encouraged the use of communications technologies and now strongly embraces the use of the world wide web.  

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