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Vatican launches Facebook application

world Updated: May 22, 2009 21:21 IST

Pope Benedict XVI has entered the world of social networking sites and smartphones with a Vatican portal that includes Facebook and iPhone applications.

The Pope2You Web site was launched on Thursday and allows Facebook users to send virtual postcards with photos of Benedict.

An application for iPhone and iPod Touch gives surfers video and audio news on his travels and speeches, as well as on Catholic events worldwide.

The new portal is the latest update in the Vatican's efforts to broaden the pope's audience and reach out to young people. Earlier this year, Benedict got his own YouTube channel.

While wary of the potential pitfalls of new media, Benedict has also encouraged young Catholics to use the Internet to spread the church's message.