The Pope celebrated the World Day of Communications on Friday with a statement calling social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace "a gift" that could speak to the "fundamental desire" we all have to connect, so long as people don't isolate themselves online, forget those marginalized by the Digital Divide or violate the "goodness and intimacy of human sexuality." To that we can only say, leave Britney alone!!
In one video already uploaded to YouTube, the Pope calls the internet a new way to talk to God. Perhaps he doesn't see it as a way to talk to nonbelievers on other sites, as embedding of the videos has been turned off. That seems strange given the Church's interest in finding new members, but presumably the Vatican doesn't want the Pope's videos showing up in snarky blog posts like this, or worse. It can get pretty raunchy on YouTube, and though the new Obama adminstration can forgive YouTube its sins with a change in official policy, we hardly expect the Catholic Church to do so.
The Vatican Channel contains 12 videos at launch, most of which are quite short, many under 1 minute long. That's not bad for a religion that is known for holding hour-long rituals, but it truly is a new era of communication. Five seconds is all it takes these days to turn around quickly, open your eyes wide, play some dramatic music and change the world.
Now Put Your Junk in The Box
What will the Vatican be posting on its YouTube channel? So far there's some blessing of lambs and a discussion of the Vatican's relationship with the media. We're hoping to see some gems like when the Pope said last month that homosexuality is as big a threat to humanity as global warming, but we'd be willing to settle for the Numa Numa dance, too.
Who's next? The President of the US, the Pope, who isn't on YouTube these days?