Pope2You.net to Appeal to Youth

New Vatican Web Site Launches Thursday

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By Mercedes de la Torre

VATICAN CITY, MAY 20, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican is set to unveil its newest Web page this week. Called Pope2You.net, the site aims to bring the words and messages of Benedict XVI to the youth.

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Vatican Council for Social Communications, told ZENIT the project is a response to Benedict XVI's message for the World Day of Social Communications, which was addressed to the "digital generation."

The president of the dicastery said the idea began with the aim of getting the youth to read the message the Pope addressed to them on the responsible use of new technologies.

He said the site allows young people to do many of the things they can do on other sites, but with a twist.

"Through this site," Archbishop Celli continued, "young people can send virtual cards to friends, cards with an attractive image of the Pope and a quote taken from one of his addresses."

"This is a way to spread the values that we believe in," the Italian prelate said. "We hope that the youth know how to take advantage of this means of communication so that the message of the Gospel is known by the youth of today's world. This is the reason for this site."

The prelate said the cards are sent by way of an application from Facebook, although he made it clear that the "Pope will not appear on Facebook with his own profile."

Another aspect of the page, continued Archbishop Celli, is that it offers a "wiki" on Benedict XVI's vision regarding new technologies.

He said the "wiki" was compiled by the office for social communications of the Italian bishops' conference, and that it is a way to make the message of the Pope more accessible to youth.

The archbishop said a third aspect "is the employment of iPhone to receive images of the Pope and his words."

He noted that the page will also link to the Vatican's YouTube channel.

Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, told ZENIT that the Web page was created with youth in mind, especially with regard to interactivity and the aspect of sharing information.

He said the site looks "to create new forms to relate with young people," and to help the Pope "speak to young people to bring the message of hope and joy."

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On the Net:

www.pope2you.net (launches Thursday)