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5/23/2009 12:13 AM
Post: 17,502
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Registered in: 8/28/2005
Registered in: 1/20/2009
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Any Benaddict could have contributed a much better photo for the home page!

500,000 hits on Day 1
of POPE2YOU portal

Translated from
the Italian service of

Starting yesterday, the Church moved its presence forward another step on the constantly moving Internet frontier .

Hundreds of thousands of hits and thousands of virtual postcards featuring images of Benedict XVI and one of his 'thoughts' came across the new portal Pope2you which was officially launched yesterday by the Pontifical council for social Communications within Facebook, the social network that now has some 2000 million subscribers.

The target of the new portal - which is plurilingual and links to the principal Vatican media - are the young people around the world.

The goal: to create a platform for dialog and friendship with what the Pope calls 'the digital generation;.

The mini-portal was opened days before the World Day for Social Communications to be observed by the Church on Sunday.

Alessandro De Carolis interviewed the site coordinator, Fr. Paolo Padrini, of the Italian bishops' conference:

FR. PADRINI: The novelty in POPE2YOU is that of placing the Vatican in a relational dimension with the youth, allowing them to experience on the Web, not only the possibility of exchanging information or living through superficial moments, but also to create a community of affiliation and participation with the Church, by getting close to the Holy Father.

To access the Pope's 'profile; on Facebook is the news that has most caught attention around the world. What has been the outcome after the first day of POPE2YOU?
It has been enormous! On the first day - between the portal directly or through Facebook - almost 10,000 postcards were sent, not counting the single visits in the tens of thousands, and the contacts on POPE2YOU which yesterday surpassed half a million.

Just one clarification: What we have on Facebook is not a profile but a space for sharing, because obviously, the Pope does not need to present himself nor even to start a one-on-one 'dialog' with the faithful.

The dialog with him is intended to be based on day-to-day reality at school, at work, in the parish, at home - something that is stimulated by him and his thoughts, but which is then concretized in sharing them with friends on the net.

You are a connoisseur of that which the Pope calls new digital relationships. What are the pluses and minuses of a scenario in which it is practically impossible to place any limits?
Let me start with the downside. The great defect - or more properly, risk - is that these tools modify our ways of relating to persons. If these tools become the only means used to communicate - and in Japan, they have already identified pathologies linked to a compulsive use of the Internet - then they risk changing negatively how we relate to others.

Nonetheless, multi-relationships are here to stay in a multi-media world. And the positive elements are the potential inherent in these instruments.

For instance, Facebook has brought back the word 'friendship' [I did not realize it had been lost!] As Christians, we know we have a lot to say about this word 'friendship', and the Pope says so clearly in his message(s). And I think that this is the 'added value' in POPE2YOU: to make its users experience how a tool that everyone uses - like Facebook and the others in our package - can become useful in making us live the multimedia experience optimally.

How will the new generations of priests and laymen be trained who must be able to interact with this new world?
It is obviously a complex matter. The great technological changes require great preparation and mastery of the tools themselves. And the most important thing, after mastering your tools, is structuring a strong identity.

Paradoxically, the more we get into the digital era, the more we should structure ourselves to be strongly human. I think this is something taht remains to be figured out, because none of us can say that we already have a throough knowledge of the new tools which so far have been used mostly in superficial ways.

The Church seems to be constantly opening up new spaces to announce the Gospel in very unusual terrain, from You-Tube to iPhone and nwo to the portal that you manage. Can we foresee now the prospects for this new frontier of evangelization?
From the time it started calling on the best painters to decorate its churches, the Church has always sought the best ways to communicate its message.

It has done that in the world of film, where it was in the avant-garde [???? Did I miss a whole chunk of cinema history all those years I was selecting films for an annual international film festival?], in TV and in radio. Think of Marconi and how he gave the start to Vatican Radio.

The prospect today is this: apart from the unknown of how this new information technology will evolve, the Church will always have the capacity - because it is a master of humanity - to use these tools in order to deliver a message that is careful, serene and pro-active.

Oh dear, I feel like a relic from the 20th-century! I have more than enough problems as it is doing my day-job that is increasingly tied to data management and data presentations. And off duty, my little chores on the Forum are really variations on what I do in my day-job (except it requires much more time trawling around for sources and indispensable background info), which leaves me no time at all for exploring or even getting to know the new frontiers of You-Tube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. since I must live a life as well!

Where does everyone find the time for social networking on the Web and still live life directly as opposed to the virtual world?

Hence, I must confess that since the announcement about POPE2YOU the other day, I have not had the chance at all to check what it's all about - only enough just now to lift the image of the home page - nor do I expect to find the time. I suppose I will continue getting to 'know the Pope' the 'old-fashioned' way that has not served me badly so far.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 5/23/2009 12:38 AM]
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