The Holy Father has sent his first “tweet” to launch the new Vatican online news portal news.va.
Using an iPad, Benedict XVI sent out the following tweet this afternoon, using the Vatican’s Twitter account: “Dear Friends, I just launched News.va Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI”.
At first glance, the new website looks impressive and promises to be a helpful resource, not only to journalists. The Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which devised it, is looking at ways to broaden its functionality in the future. Thaddeus Jones, an official at the PCCS, told the Register it’s possible that dicasteries of the Roman Curia will also post their news and events on the site (at the moment, some have their own dedicated sites, others not at all, and those that do have them aren’t always regularly updated). “It’s not imminent but we’re pretty optimistic that such an initiative would work well,” he said. Jones also said the site is not only aimed at improving dissemination of Vatican news, but also at drawing traffic to other websites.
Its launch, just before Vespers on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, also coincides with the Pope’s 60th anniversary of his ordination. It not only contains news, but also interesting features from L’Osservatore Romano and other sites, including this fascinating excerpt from Joseph Ratzinger’s memoir Milestones, in which he describes his ordination.
“We were more than forty candidates, who, at the solemn call on that radiant summer day, which I remember as the high point of my life, responded “Adsum”, Here I am. We should not be superstitious; but, at that moment when the elderly archbishop laid his hands on me, a little bird—perhaps a lark—flew up from the high altar in the cathedral and trilled a little joyful song. And I could not but see in this a reassurance from on high, as if I heard the words “This is good, you are on the right way.” There then followed four summer weeks that were like an unending feast. On the day of our first Holy Mass, our parish church of Saint Oswald gleamed in all its splendor, and the joy that almost palpably filled the whole place drew everyone there into the most living mode of “active participation” in the sacred event, but this did not require any external busyness. We were invited to bring the first blessing into people’s homes, and everywhere we were received even by total strangers with a warmth and affection I had not thought possible until that day. In this way I learned firsthand how earnestly people wait for a priest, how much they long for the blessing that flows from the power of the sacrament. The point was not my own or my brother’s person. What could we two young men represent all by ourselves to the many people we were now meeting? In us they saw persons who had been touched by Christ’s mission and had been empowered to bring his nearness to men. Precisely because we ourselves were not the point, a friendly human relationship could develop very quickly.”