Pope's first tweet marks Vatican social media revolution

Pope's first tweet marks Vatican social media revolution

Pope's first tweet marks Vatican social media revolution

A bemused pope can be seen tapping on the tablet device in his Vatican palace in footage put up on YouTube this week, with a cardinal showing the 84-year-old how to scroll through the Holy See's new multimedia web portal.

"Dear Friends, I just launched www.news.va. Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI," wrote the pope, using his formal name in Latin -- still the Vatican's official language.

The website includes Twitter updates, YouTube videos, Flickr photos and Facebook links and was developed by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which has spearheaded the Internet drive. It is decorated with the Vatican colours -- white and yellow -- and brings together information from the Vatican's radio, television and print outlets as well as news from the Fides missionary news agency about the developing world.

Bruno Bartoloni, a Vatican expert who writes for Italian daily Corriere della Sera, said the Church's embrace of social media was also a way to bypass traditional and more critical media to deliver information directly.

"The paedophilia scandals of recent years have shocked the Church and have encouraged it to abandon the language of tradition," he said. "The Church understands that its reasoning is often badly understood, with traditional media choosing to underline colourful aspects or criticism, or simplifying messages that are in essence complex," he added.

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