Today, Pope Benedict XVI announced that priests and church leaders should be actively using digital tools, including the social web, to communicate with laypersons, particularly young people.
The occasion was the 44th annual World Communications Day, traditionally a time for the Vatican to project an annual message for the church to its people and the rest of the world. This year's message stood in sharp contrast to the missive he delivered in 2009, when the Holy See stated that mass media - including online information sources - acted as a "poison" that numbed morality and sensitivity. "'It recounts, repeats and amplifies evil," he said, "making us accustomed to horrendous acts, desensitizing us and, in some ways, poisoning us." So, why the about-face?