Pope posts appeal for new generation on YouTube

January 24th, 2009 - 3:21 am ICT by IANS  

FacebookVatican City, Jan 24 (DPA) An appeal by Pope Benedict XVI to the new “digital generation” marked Friday the Vatican’s launch of its own channel on video-sharing internet site, YouTube.New media technologies including the internet are helping “create a great family that knows no boundaries,” Benedict said in a video posted on the new site.

Footage of 81-year-old Benedict during the message’s recording in a Vatican broadcasting studio appeared Friday with 11 other video clips.

The main featured video showed Benedict delivering a recent Sunday Angelus prayer from his Apostolic Palace above St. Peter’s Square. In it he prayed for peace in the Gaza Strip.

In another clip, Benedict is shown at a ceremony held earlier this week in which he blessed two lambs whose wool will be used to make a cloaks worn by top clerics.

The site, http://www.youtube.com/vaticanit was unveiled to journalists Friday when the Vatican also released a message by Benedict for the Roman Catholic Church’s 43rd World Day of Social Communications which is scheduled for Saturday.

In the message Benedict praised the opportunities for “dialogue” which the internet offers to people from different countries, cultures and religions.

But he also warned “never to trivialize the concept or the experience of friendship” in an age with is witnessing the proliferation of digital social networks such as MySpace and Facebook.

Speaking at the Friday news conference, Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, who heads the Vatican’s social communications office, said the pontiff fully approved of the Vatican’s YouTube channel.

Celli compared its reach to papal pilgrimages around the world, when the pontiff travels to meet the faithful.

The site, which was developed jointly with internet search-engine company Google - owner of YouTube, will also serve as a means to “safeguard” the pope’s image on the internet, Celli said.

The director of the Vatican’s television and radio services, Father Federico Lombardi said he would be responsible for managing “interactive” public response to the videos - a feature which on YouTube sites takes the form of comments posted by viewers.

“We will consider how best to administer this ‘global’ flow of comments and replies,” Lombardi said, adding that the site which is currently available in Italian, English, Spanish and German would contain no commercial advertising.

Google says it is offering the site free of charge to the Vatican and will not make money from it in any other way.

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