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Social mass media: Pope urges online evangelism, launches own app

Published time: January 25, 2013 10:32
Edited time: January 25, 2013 14:32
(Reuters / Osservatore Romano)

(Reuters / Osservatore Romano)

The Catholic Church may have found just another way to win converts. The Pope has urged believers to use Facebook, Twitter and other digital networks as “new spaces for evangelization” and has launched a smartphone app following his events.

­“Unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people for whom this existential space is important,” Pope Benedict XVI said on Thursday.

His Holiness was quick to support his words with deeds as he launched his own application containing all official papal-related content: news and official speeches, galleries with the latest images and videos, access to Pope`s calendar and more. The app also let users to see streaming video from the webcams placed in key places of Vatican.

Although very recent, the five-star application has already received extremely positive reviews from those who downloaded it.

“This app has everything you`d ever want to follow the day to day events and ‘catch up’ with His Holiness, one word for this app, ‘Wow’,”
one of the reviews read.

In his official message given for World Communications Day 2013, Pope Benedict XVI admitted that social networks are “increasingly becoming part of the very fabric of society” and encouraged Catholic believers to engage in web activity.

“The challenge facing social networks is how to be truly inclusive: thus they will benefit from the full participation of believers who desire to share the message of Jesus and the values of human dignity which His teaching promotes.”

The Pope explained that due to the rapidly changing environment the church needs to adapt in order to reach broader audiences.

This is not the first time the head of the Catholic Church has targeted online audiences. In December 2012, Pope Benedict first tweeted from his official account, which now has almost 1.5 million followers.

The web stunts of the Catholic Church come as it experiences an apparent decline. In the US the number of Catholic priests has dropped over the last three decades, as has the number of Catholic marriages.

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