The portal is the newest attempt in a series of endeavours by the Vatican – including the launch of a YouTube Channel, a Facebook page and iPhone app guiding Catholics through the sacrament of confession – to spread the Holy Word through the Internet to a wider audience.
“Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word,” said Pope Benedict in his message on the 44th World Communications Day, 2010.
The portal will aggregate the main news of every department and will be updated thrice a day.
“I think that we must educate the Roman Curia of what is the real meaning of communication,” said Claudio Maria Celli, head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Vatican office responsible for the development and maintenance of the site.
Although the main website of the Vatican will remain www.vatican.va, the news portal will offer live-streaming of papal events, audio clips from the Vatican Radio, pictures from the newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and printed transcripts of papal homilies, statements and speeches. Each of the Vatican media represented on the portal, including the Vatican Television Centre and the Vatican press office and information service, will retain their independent websites.
While the portal will initially offer two languages, English and Italian, the Vatican plans to add German, French, Spanish and Portuguese versions to the website over time. The Vatican may also add a search function and a distinct link to the Vatican homepage.
Although the portal is primarily intended as an easy-to-access source of Vatican news for the outside world, Celli also hopes it was serve the dual function of improving communication within the Vatican.
The Papal Office has recently been beleaguered by miscommunications, with the Pope’s recent comments about condoms and HIV requiring three official clarifications.