Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pope2You.net, YouTube: BXVI, the Catholic Church, and High Tech Marketing

I haven't found Pope Benedict XVI (or BXVI) on Twitter, but the Holy See ("Vatican" to just about everybody in America) is on Facebook and YouTube: and has another website.

The Vatican Online? Old News

In a way, this is nothing new: The Holy See has been online for years. What's different is that the Church is extending its presence in cyberspace. The Holy See's website, vatican.va, is a great source of information - for someone who's spent years writing research papers. It's a beautiful website, and quite useful. But YouTube it isn't.

This new website, Pope2You, is geared for a different set of people. You can even send someone an ecard there. Well, actually, from a Facebook app that's linked from the website. And, I see that the Holy See's on Facebook, too.

Pope2You.net: You Can't Please Everyone

I thought the Pope2You home page was presentable, with fairly obvious navigation: but opinions obviously vary.

"bz***** pope2you, super tacky...." (Twitter identity redacted) This is "super tacky"?? Okay.

"Super tacky" or not, I've added Pope2You to the blogroll, and the Vatican's YouTube account:

High-Tech Marketing and the Catholic Church

This isn't the first time that the Catholic Church has used the best available technology to get its message across.

About eight centuries back, cathedrals built with "...ribbed vaults, applied shafts, flying buttresses, stepped pier buttresses, all in delicate adjustment, form[ed an] extremely light, thin, skeletal framework. Walls reduced to diaphanous screens of tracery and glass; facade wall dissolved by sculptural decoration, enormous recessed portals, tracery and glass...." (Gothic Architecture as Engineering, University of Pittsburgh)

Abbot Suger, in the 12th century, described his ideal church as having "the most radiant windows." (Virtual Cathedral Project, New York Carver) He got what he wanted in the vast stained glass windows of Gothic cathedrals.

We take stained glass windows for granted now, or sometimes make fun of the stiff, formal style used in some. That's understandable. After a few centuries, any technology can seem a bit old hat. Still, by presenting ideas and messages as brightly-colored, glowing images, the Catholic Church anticipated television marketing by nearly a millennia.

What the 12th century's cathedral windows and Pope2You.net have in common is that both are efforts to get the Church's "message of hope and joy" (Zenit) to as many people as possible.

Vaguely related posts: News and views:
A tip of the hat to CatholicMeme, Gen215 and newadvent for the heads up.

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.