Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pope's 'Net Wishes: "Respect, Dialogue, Friendship"

In keeping with tradition following the Second Vatican Council, this weekend's Seventh Sunday of Easter likewise sees the global church's 43rd World Communications Day.

This time around -- in keeping with its 2009 theme of "New Technologies, New Relationships" -- the Holy See will roll out Pope2You, a Web2.0 platform (Facebook and iPhone application) intended to get a better penetration for B16's message, both unfiltered and with video.

All that said, however, the pontiff himself took time to make a special "appeal" to the church at the close of today's General Audience... giving it not in Italian, but English:
This coming Sunday, the Church celebrates World Communications Day. In my message this year, I am inviting all those who make use of the new technologies of communication, especially the young, to utilize them in a positive way and to realize the great potential of these means to build up bonds of friendship and solidarity that can contribute to a better world.

The new technologies have brought about fundamental shifts in the ways in which news and information are disseminated and in how people communicate and relate to each other. I wish to encourage all those who access cyberspace to be careful to maintain and promote a culture of respect, dialogue and authentic friendship where the values of truth, harmony and understanding can flourish.

Young people in particular, I appeal to you: bear witness to your faith through the digital world! Employ these new technologies to make the Gospel known, so that the Good News of God’s infinite love for all people, will resound in new ways across our increasingly technological world!
A project of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the networking initiative was designed by Fr Paolo Padrini -- the Italian priest behind iBreviary, the popular iPhone/iPod touch app containing the whole of the Liturgy of the Hours and daily Mass readings in five languages (Latin included) and, for the Milanese, the Ambrosian rite.

In another WCD event, the Vatican's chief spokesman, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, addressed both the Holy See's recent media debacles and the church's challenge of dealing with new media in his turn at the annual lecture for the Day hosted by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

Also head of Vatican Radio and church central's television outlet, the hardest-working man in the Roman Curia "startled" reporters on last week's papal pilgrimage to the Holy Land with his statement that Benedict XVI had "never, never, never" been a member of the Hitler Youth -- when, in fact, Joseph Ratzinger was forced to join it as a teenager in Nazi Germany and had admitted as much in the past.

Within hours of decrying the supposed "falsehood," Lombardi retracted the comment.

Meanwhile, acrobatics were had at today's Audience....

No joke.

PHOTOS: Getty(1); AP(2)