Pope Benedict XVI has welcomed the popularity of Facebook and other similar online social networks at his general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican this week.
Pope Benedict XVI says Facebook and MySpace "can foster friendships and understanding, but warns they also can isolate people and marginalize others," according to The Associated Press reports.
The Pope wants to help promote a "culture of online respect" and welcomes sites such as Facebook and MySpace as a "gift", noting that these new communication tools respond to the "fundamental desire" of people to talk to one another.
At the same time, the Pope warns that "obsessive" virtual socializing can isolate people from real interaction and deepen the digital divide by excluding those already marginalized.
He also urges producers to ensure that content respects human dignity and the "goodness and intimacy of human sexuality."
Engaging via YouTube
Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, head of the Vatican's social communications office, added that the Pope, who recently launched a Vatican YouTube channel, was "a man of dialogue" who wanted to engage with people across the world.
The Vatican will be updating its YouTube site regularly with online messages available in Italian, German, English and Spanish.