(ANSA) - Vatican City, November 12 - Pope Benedict XVI regularly surfs the Internet and makes frequent use of email, the Vatican's 'communications minister' said Thursday.
Speaking as a four-day conference on web communications opened at the Vatican, Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli said the German pontiff was a big fan of technology.
''He sends personal emails and greatly appreciates all the new technologies,'' said Celli. ''He doesn't have a papal email address [...] and he cannot reply personally to all the millions of messages that arrive in the Vatican inbox. ''But he certainly prays for all those who write to him''.
The Vatican conference running from Thursday until Sunday will seek to educate senior bishops from across Europe on the advantages and risks of the Internet. Representatives from social networking site Facebook, search engine giant Google, video-sharing site YouTube, microblogging Twitter-rival Identi.ca, and the collaborative online encyclopaedia Wikipedia are among those attending.
The aim is to explore the impact of the Internet on the Catholic Church's mission and look at ways of using online interactive tools to spread a Christian message, according to a statement by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Web representatives will hold workshops educating the bishops on how the sites are used, while a prominent sociologist will focus on the role of the new media in the lives of the young.
''The web generation is without a doubt the generation whose lives are most widely affected both positively and negatively by the Internet,'' said the statement. A young Swiss hacker and a representative from Interpol's cybercrime unit will talk the bishops through online security risks. The conference is the latest in a series of moves by the Church to engage with modern technology.
Websites have long played an important role in helping the Church spread its message, while snippets from the pope's homilies and speeches have been available via text message since 2003.
But the current pontiff - who surfs the Web on a state-of-the-art laptop and has his own iPod - has made this a particularly important issue. In a recent meeting with members of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, he said it was critical that new technology and new attitudes toward communications were used to help promote the Church's message.
But Benedict has also warned about the potential dangers of untrammelled online growth and the new media, citing the spread of content that ''exalts violence and trivializes human sexuality''.
He has also expressed concerns that the media world is being dominated by a few, hugely powerful conglomerates.
Vatican City, Nov 12, 2009 / 04:51 pm (CNA).- The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, shared this week that the Holy Father has an appreciation for new developments in technology and is comfortable surfing the internet and using email.
During an interview with the program “Studio Aperto” on the Italia 1 TV network, Archbishop Celli added, while the Pope doesn't have a personal email address, he “sends his own personal emails. He does! He has great appreciation for new technology.”
The archbishop explained that while the Pope “cannot respond to the millions of messages that arrive in his inbox,” he is committed to “offering his prayers for all who write to him.”
“The internet is an excellent means of communication,” he continued. “We are seeking to be present where the people are, especially the youth.”