Pope2U: a new Vatican website opens 24 May

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Next Sunday, May 24th, is World Communications day.

On that day the Vatican is launching a new website.

This is to include iPhone and Facebook applications in an effort to help Catholics, especially younger generations, use new technologies to create a culture of dialogue, respect and friendship.

Archbishop Claudio Celli, the head of the  Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said that the new site was created to help attract young people to and spread Pope Benedict XVI's message for World Communications Day.

This year's communications day message is titled New Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship.

“We thought that it was good to present the message to the young generation through technologies that they know how to use," the archbishop said during a press conference unveiling the new site.

"The Pope is inviting us to promote a culture of dialogue, of respect and friendship," especially among young people, he said.

"We think this pontifical council itself has to use new technologies to promote new relationships around the world," he said, adding that "we must take advantage of what the new technologies are offering us at this very moment."

He said the Pope's message inspired the council to create a simple, fresh site to work as a hub from which users can find some new ways the universal church is present in the digital world.

The site has a link to a new application on the social networking site Facebook.

Titled "The Pope Meets You on Facebook," the new pope2u application lets people send and receive "virtual postcards" of Pope Benedict along with inspiring text culled from the pope's various speeches and messages.

Archbishop Celli said there are about 20 different postcards to choose from but that they hope to offer more selections later so that people can "spread around the messages and insights from the Gospel."

The pope2u site also links viewers to a new way for people to receive news about the Vatican and the Pope through their iPhones or iPod touch portable music players.

In conjunction with the Vatican Television Centre and Vatican Radio, H2Onews will distribute audio and video reports exclusively through the iPhone in eight different languages, including Chinese.

According to the new site, it is "the first application of video news dedicated to the Catholic world, through which you can follow the travels and speeches of Benedict XVI" as well as major Vatican events.