The Pope pushed the site live and tweeted about it using an iPad. The site itself is the first time the Vatican has provided a single place for all the news and opinion surrounding the Church, the Vatican state and the Pope.
The tweet read:
"Dear Friends, I just launched News.va Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI"
The Twitter account is clearly not the 84-year-old pontiff's. It belongs to the Vatican's news department. Although it would be something to watch Benedict go nuts tweeting troubles with his alb and joy at his caprese, it seems unlikely.
The site, News.va, aggregates not just the press releases, messages and internal reporting, including newspaper and radio, in the city-state, but also the various social media accounts run by the Vatican. In addition to Twitter, these include Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.
The New York Times reports:
"Benedict 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. Officials hope the new portal, while mostly designed to provide Vatican news in an easy-to-use setting to the outside world, might also improve the Vatican's own internal communications by sharing information."
It is already several generations ahead of, say, the Vatican Information Service website, in readability and functionality. With the Pope's endorsement, News.va may prove to be an inspiration for the rest of the Holy See's electronic communications.