The Vatican is to post Pope Benedict XVI's profile on popular online social networking site, Facebook, as part of an effort to broaden the pontiff's appeal among computer savvy.
The Facebook initiative will also involve iPhone applications and a new Vatican website, www.pope2you.net, which is slated to go live on the Catholic Church's World Communications day on May 24.
It follows the creation of a Vatican site on Youtube, the video sharing Internet channel, where clips featuring Benedict''s activities regularly appear.
The Church wants to follow in the footsteps of US President Barack Obama, who used the Internet, both during his election campaign and since he took office.
"The pope is inviting us to promote a culture of dialogue, of respect and friendship, especially among young people. We think this pontifical council itself has to use new technologies to promote new relationships around the world. We must take advantage of what the new technologies are offering us at this very moment",” the Telegraph quoted Archbishop Claudio Celli, who leads the Vatican''s Pontifical Council for Social Communications, as saying.
The strategy was outlined by the Jesuit priest Father Federico Lombardi, long-standing head of Vatican Radio, who also took over running the Holy See press office on the election of Pope Benedict XVI.
The new website has been designed by Italian priest, Paolo Padrini, who has spearheaded recent Vatican forays into cyberspace.