Pope Benedict on social networking: The virtual is real
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI put Catholic Church leaders on notice, saying social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter aren't a virtual world they can ignore, but rather a very real world they must engage if they want to spread the faith to the next generation.
The 85-year-old Pope, who tweets in nine languages, used his annual message on social communications to stress the potential of social media for the church as it struggles to keep followers and attract new ones amid religious apathy, competition from other churches and scandals that have driven the faithful away.
Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, head of the Vatican's communications office, cited a 2012 study commissioned by bishops in the United States that found that 53 per cent of Americans were unaware of any significant presence of the Catholic Church online.
Other studies, Archbishop Celli said, made clear that the "millennial generation" of people born after 1982 use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube far more than their parents as primary sources of information, entertainment and sharing political views and community issues.