24 Jan : Pope Benedict XVI joined US President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II on Friday by launching his own YouTube channel, the latest Vatican effort to reach out to the digital generation.
The Vatican said it was launching the channel to broaden Benedict’s audience while also giving the Holy See better control over the papal image online.In his inaugural foray, Benedict welcomed viewers to this "great family that knows no borders" and said he hoped they would "feel involved in this great dialogue of truth."
The site, www.youtube.com/vaticanit, was launched the same day the pontiff praised as a "gift to humanity" the benefits of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace in forging friendships and understanding.
But Benedict also warned that virtual socialising had its risks, saying "obsessive" online networking could isolate people from real social interaction and broaden the digital divide by further marginalising people.
And in his message for the World Day of Communications, he urged producers of new media to ensure that the content respected human dignity and the "goodness and intimacy of human sexuality."
The 81-year-old pope has been extremely wary of new media and their effect on society, warning about what he has called the tendency of entertainment media, in particular, to trivialise sex and promote violence.
But Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, who heads the Vatican’s social communications office, said the pope fully approved of the Vatican YouTube channel, saying Benedict was "a man of dialogue" who wanted to engage with people wherever they were.