Vatican puts faith in modern media
AS AN institution its communication problems are no secret. But now, the Vatican is taking a leap into the world of new media with the launch next week of a news information portal that Pope Benedict XVI himself may put online with a papal click.
Vatican officials confirmed yesterday that Benedict has been following the development of the portal, which will for the first time aggregate information from the Vatican's various print, online, radio and television media in a one-stop-shop for Holy See news.
The portal - www.news.va - is being launched on Wednesday, the 60th anniversary of Benedict's ordination as a priest and a feast day in the church.
Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, who heads the Vatican office that developed the portal and will maintain it, said Benedict may put the site online himself with a click from the Apostolic Palace. "This is a new way of communicating," Celli said.
It's the latest effort by the Vatican to bring its evangelising message to a greater, internet-savvy audience and follows its forays into Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It's also a significant step for the 84-year-old Benedict, who has been bedeviled by communications woes during a good part of his six-year papacy, much of it the fault of a large Vatican bureaucracy that doesn't always communicate well internally.
There was his 2005 speech about Islam and violence, his recent comments about condoms and HIV that required no less than three official Vatican clarifications, and his rehabilitation of a Holocaust-denying bishop, among others.
While the portal is designed mostly to provide Vatican news in an easy-to-use setting for the outside world, Celli said he hoped it would also improve the Vatican's own internal communications by letting various departments know what one another are up to and help provide a more coherent message.
"I think that we must educate the Roman Curia of what is the real meaning of communication," Celli said.
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