Facebook, Wikipedia execs brief Vatican on Web

Vatican officials and Catholic bishops are getting a lesson on the net from Facebook, Wikipedia & Google execs as church struggles to get its message out.

Vatican City: Vatican officials and Catholic
bishops are getting a lesson on the Internet from Facebook,
Wikipedia and Google executives as the church struggles to get
its message out in the digital age.

A four-day symposium in the Vatican which opened
yesterday also will address Internet copyright issues and
hacking -- including testimony from a young Swiss hacker and
an Interpol cyber-crime official.

The meeting is being hosted by the European bishop`s
media commission and is designed to delve into questions about
what Internet culture means for the church`s mission and how
the church communicates that mission to others.

Pope Benedict XVI has tried to bring the Vatican into
the Internet age and launched a YouTube channel earlier this
year. Officials say he also e-mails and surfs the Web.

But the Vatican`s online shortcomings have been woefully

Earlier this year, Benedict made clear he was
disappointed that Vatican officials hadn`t done a simple
Internet search to discover the Holocaust-denying comments of
an ultraconservative bishop before the pontiff lifted his

The outrage over the rehabilitation of Bishop Richard
Williamson, of the traditionalist Society of St Pius X,
prompted Benedict to write a letter to his bishops admitting
mistakes and saying that he had "learned the lesson" and that
the Vatican would in the future pay greater attention to the
Internet as a source of news.

Bureau Report