Facebook, Wikipedia execs brief Vatican on Web

Nov 12, 2009 By NICOLE WINFIELD , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Executives from Facebook, Wikipedia and Google are attending a Vatican meeting to brief officials and Catholic bishops about the Internet and digital youth culture.

The symposium, which opened Thursday and runs through Sunday, also will address issues and hacking - including testimony from a young Swiss hacker and an Interpol cyber-crime official.

The meeting is being hosted by the European bishop's media commission and is designed to delve into questions about what Internet culture means for the church's mission and how the church communicates that mission to others.

has tried to bring the Vatican into the Internet age by launching a YouTube channel earlier this year. Officials say he also e-mails and surfs the Web.

But the Vatican's online shortcomings have been woefully apparent.

Earlier this year, Benedict made clear he was disappointed that Vatican officials hadn't done a simple Internet search to discover the Holocaust-denying comments of an ultraconservative bishop whose excommunication he had lifted.

The outrage over the rehabilitation of Bishop Richard Williamson, of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, prompted Benedict to write a letter to his bishops admitting mistakes and saying that he had "learned the lesson" and that the Vatican would in the future pay greater attention to the Internet as a source of news.

The symposium, which is drawing about 100 participants from around Europe, could be seen as part of that effort.

Panels will discuss social networks, the Web generation, the church's communication strategies, and whether the Internet is changing religious practices.

The Vatican's top communications official, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, has said a key priority of the Catholic Church is to be able to use new technologies to spread its message, particularly to the young.

"Our dream in this global village created by new technologies is that the church and Jesus' disciples can have their tent - Jesus' tent - so that the attention of men and women who walk the streets of the world is turned toward it," he said recently on Vatican Radio.

In that way, the Internet is just the latest means that the Vatican has used to spread its message, starting with parchment, printing press, radio and television.

Pope John Paul II used mass media and information technology to get out his message, overseeing the 1995 launch of the Vatican's Web site, http://www.vatican.va which today includes virtual tours of the Vatican Museums and audio feeds from Radio.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Startups offer banking for smartphone users

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Vatican gives nod to Darwin, not Design

Jan 19, 2006

The official Vatican newspaper has published an article praising as "correct" a recent U.S. court decision that intelligent design is not science.

Pope may embrace intelligent design

Aug 28, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI may reportedly embrace the theory of intelligent design, possibly heralding a fundamental shift in the Vatican's view of evolution.

Early Catholic leaders failed Aborigines

Nov 26, 2007

Australia's early Catholic bishops failed Aborigines by paying lip service to their plight and not providing enough resources to help them, according to a new historical study.

Recommended for you

Startups offer banking for smartphone users

19 hours ago

The latest banks are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Startups, such as Moven and Simple, offer banking that's designed specifically for smartphones, enabling users to track their spending on the go. Some things ...

Ecuador heralds digital currency plans (Update)

Aug 29, 2014

Ecuador is planning to create what it calls the world's first digital currency issued by a central bank, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, ...

'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

Aug 29, 2014

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to end a two-year forced stay at Ecuador's London embassy, he may take comfort in knowing he inspired resistance to secrecy in places as far away as Swaziland.

WEF unveils 'crowdsourcing' push on how to run the Web

Aug 28, 2014

The World Economic Forum unveiled a project on Thursday aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the Internet.

User comments : 0