The Pope goes YouTube

Papal YouTube channel goes live, carrying speeches and news of the pontiff

The Vatican, reaching out to a growing Web 2.0 audience, has launched its own channel on YouTube.

The new channel, which is slated to be updated daily, will offer video and audio clips of Pope Benedict XVI's addresses, along with news about the pontiff. The YouTube site went live last Friday.

For the Roman Catholic Church, creating a YouTube channel "is a good idea," said Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group Inc., in an interview last week. "In fact, it's one of their best ideas. The problem for the church is getting to the grass roots in a vast worldwide audience. They have to get their message to people in the medium that they're using."

This isn't the Vatican's first foray into the online world.

About 14 years ago, the Vatican launched its own Web site, offering access to the Vatican Secret Archives and the Vatican Museums. It even sports a section in Latin.

The Catholic News Service, which is connected with the Vatican, is no technical slouch either, running its own Facebook page, which includes the pope's greeting last week to President Barack Obama as well as news stories, notes and blogs.

Many world leaders, such as Queen Elizabeth II and the U.S. Senate, communicate with constituents via YouTube.

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