The Pope has embraced social networking. No, you can't poke him or send him a private message, but the Vatican has indeed launched a Facebook page
for the Pope as well as a Facebook application called "The Pope meets you on Facebook" which will allow users to "receive the messages of Pope Benedict XVI through the most important social network of the world" (MySpace, you've been dissed).
It's an interesting move, because earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI warned against the dangers of possibly becoming addicted to technology, specifically social networking. His warning then was:
"It would be sad if our desire to sustain and develop online friendships were to be at the cost of our availability to engage with our families, our neighbors and those we meet in the daily reality of our places of work, education and recreation.
If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development."
However, this year the Vatican's World Communications Day fell on Sunday, May 24th, and this year is devoted to communicating the gospel with new technologies. And what better way than using social networking?
The easiest way to get the Facebook application would be to go to the Vatican's new site, Pope2You.net
(we're sorry, but surely there could have been a better website name chosen).
As you can see from the above image, you can not only select the Facebook application, but there's a wiki called WikiCath that is a "wiki-style" version of the Pope's message this year, including hyperlinks and the like, as well as an iPhone application, H2Onews, which allows users to "follow the travels and speeches of Benedict XVI, as well as key international ecclesiastical events."
One has to wonder if there were any issues getting H2Onews accepted into the App Store.
Returning to the Facebook application, it's described as follows:
Pope2You allows you to share the most wonderful pictures of Benedict XVI with your friends on Facebook, along with his words of hope and peace.
Send the virtual postcards from the Pope to your friends.
Download and read the Pope's Message for the 43th World Communications Day.
Spread friendship with the Pope and become a witness of Christ in the world through the web.
You can also allow Pope2U to email you.
The Catholic Church acknowledged the need to move into the Internet and more technological means of interacting with young people and potential followers earlier this year, when the Vatican launched a YouTube channel. It's obvious that to woo young people back to church, the use of technology and the Internet are critical, and the Vatican has just started to get that