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Pope may go online to launch Vatican news portal

world Updated: Jun 25, 2011 20:29 IST

The Vatican, whose communications problems are no secret, 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 said on Saturday 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 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 during a preview of the site at the offices of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

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 much 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.