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Vatican going digital with YouTube channel

Los Angeles Times

VATICAN CITY – Taking his message to the digital generation, Pope Benedict XVI has launched a Vatican channel on YouTube, Roman Catholic Church officials announced Friday.

At a crowded Vatican news conference, clergymen were joined by an executive of Google, the owner of YouTube, in publicizing the posting of 12 videos of the pope’s activities. The pope sees the move as a way to expand the reach of the church and to exert greater control over its image, officials said.

“It falls, in particular, to young people, who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelization of this ‘digital continent,’ ” Benedict said in a message released by the Vatican. “Be sure to announce the Gospel to your contemporaries with enthusiasm.”

But the pontiff, 81, warned, as he has in the past, that technology also can prove a negative force that promotes hatred, intolerance and degradation. Contact in cyberspace should not substitute genuine relationships, the pope said.

The Vatican hopes to post as many as three new videos a day, according to the Rev. Federico Lombardi, director of the press office of the Holy See.

The arrangement with Google does not involve payment, said Henrique de Castro, YouTube’s managing director of European sales.

“We are honored that the Vatican has chosen to use the site to communicate with people across the world,” de Castro said at the news conference.

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