John Paul Hits Facebook

Part of Vatican's social-networking push

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 12, 2011 7:37 AM CST

(Newser) – Sure, Pope John Paul II is set to be beatified, but now he's even on Facebook. The Vatican, continuing its efforts to get hip with the kids, is unveiling a Facebook page to hype the late pope's May 1 beatification, featuring video highlights of his 27 years as pontiff. The move comes as part of the Catholic Church's efforts to capitalize on social networking sites to evangelize, reports the AP.

"What we found is that Facebook doesn't just share information, it creates community," says a Vatican official. "People begin talking to each other and sharing ideas." The Vatican is launching a new tweet- and blog-friendly online portal at Easter. "A lot of our communications in the past was: I have a message. I broadcast it. TV takes it, radio takes it, newspaper takes it, and people passively receive it," says the official. "With the Internet you have this possibility of getting people's comments, getting their responses, and also of hearing their questions."

In this Tuesday, June 8, 1999 file photo, Pope John Paul II waves to the faithful as he arrives to celebrate Mass at the bank of Elk River in Elk, Poland.
In this Tuesday, June 8, 1999 file photo, Pope John Paul II waves to the faithful as he arrives to celebrate Mass at the bank of Elk River in Elk, Poland.   (AP Photo/Arturo Mari, Pool)
This April 10, 2003 file photo shows Pope John Paul II as a white dove is released.
This April 10, 2003 file photo shows Pope John Paul II as a white dove is released.   (AP Photo/Massimo Sambucetti, File)
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