The Vatican’s beliefs may span thousands of years, but when it comes to social media, the Catholic Church is holding its own in 2010.
Pope Benedict XVI, head of the world’s oldest institution, has proclaimed it’s time for priests to step away from the pulpit and embrace the Internet to preach to and engage with followers. In his message for the Catholic Church’s 2010 World Day for Social Communications, he declared:
“Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, Web sites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization, and catechesis.”
Let’s give the Pope props. Despite its traditions and its lengthy history, the Vatican is diving into the very-present-day social media world that many technology-savvy businesses still find perplexing.
Last year, for example, the Vatican launched a Facebook application called “Pope2You,” where you can “meet” the Pope, listen to speeches, view photos and receive messages in the form of “virtual cards” that you can share with others.
There’s even an iPhone app that integrates Church news, video clips and radio broadcasts, and a YouTube page. (Note to Apple: Maybe there’s a market for a dedicated iPope device here.)
Could we see the Pope himself blogging, friending and tweeting? (Hey—he’s one guy who could easily surpass Ashton Kutcher’s 4.5 million followers.)
Well, maybe, maybe not: In his address, he urged that “…priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ.”