Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vatican Social Media Conference

Vatican moving into the new media era:

Media experts will join bishops from across Europe to tell them how best to communicate the Catholic Church's message in the 21st century.

Steeped in history, the Church often struggles to explain its outlook and Pope Benedict XVI has in recent months been mired in controversy over remarks about the role condoms can play in halting the spread of Aids and his decision to rehabilitate a Holocaust-denying British bishop.

During a four-day conference which starts on Thursday, representatives from the social network Facebook, the search engine Google, the YouTube video sharing website and the online encyclopedia Wikipedia will explain the importance of "new media" in the lives of young people.

The bishops will also learn how to combat the threat of hacking, with advice from a young hacker from Switzerland and an Interpol expert on cybercrime.

"The world of hackers is a separate, parallel culture that is mostly ignored by the Church but not by fans of information technology," said the Vatican's 'communications ministry', the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which is organising the gathering.

The conference is the latest in a series of moves by the Pope, who uses an iPod and a laptop computer, to engage with modern technology.

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