Pope becomes one of world's oldest YouTube stars

Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:41pm EST
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict Friday became one of the oldest people to have his own YouTube channel, and he cautioned the young to use new media wisely and to avoid on-line obsession that can isolate them from real-life.

The Vatican channel, www.youtube.com/vaticanit, will broadcast short video news clips on the 81-year-old pope's activities and Vatican and Church events, with audio and text initially in English, Spanish, German and Italian.

The video news clips will be about two minutes long each day. They will be produced by the Vatican's television center and journalists and web managers of Vatican Radio.

The launch of the channel was combined with the release of the pope's message for the Church's World Day of Communications, whose theme is "New Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship."

Henrique de Castro, managing director of European sales and media solutions for Google, which owns YouTube, told a news conference Google would not make any money from the venture.

"Our strategy is to get people to come to our sites," he said.

The YouTube channel will have no advertising and provide links to a number of Vatican and Catholic websites and video channels, including some run by Churches around the world.

The channel marked the Vatican's deepest plunge into new media. The Vatican's website, www.vatican.va, began in 1995.   Continued...

<p>Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leads an audience with Neocatechumenal Way faithful in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican January 10, 2009. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico</p>