Monday, April 07, 2008

B16 "Gets It": At PopeTrip's "Vigil," the Vatican Goes Viral

While the relative dearth of new media has been just one missed opportunity of the church's message-strategy for next week's PopeTrip, in a move of no small significance -- or, for that matter, commentary -- the Vatican has signaled its willingness to lead by example and step up to the plate... with nothing less than its Biggest Gun.

This morning, the Holy See Press Office announced that early tomorrow will see the release of a "brief video message" from Pope Benedict "addressed to the American people in anticipation of his visit." The first-of-its-kind tone-setter, whose length was not specified, will convey the pontiff's first direct comments on his impending pilgrimage to these shores.

While Benedict had previously given prime-time TV interviews before his 2006 visit to Poland and homecoming to Bavaria or beamed via satellite greetings to a local gathering or two awaiting his arrival, the move underscores both the import the church's central command is placing on next week's events and Rome's understanding of the usefulness and impact of new technology, both on the life of the Stateside church and the wider society here. Benedict touches down next Tuesday at Washington's Andrews AFB for the six-day jaunt to the capital, New York and the United Nations.

Of course, what Papa Ratzi will say has yet to be seen. Even without a leaked word, however, the top rank's already sent its sign that the medium is the message... and already, that pretty much says everything.

PHOTO: Reuters