As part of the Vatican's World Communications Day, the organization launched an app called "The Pope meets you on Facebook." Strictly speaking the Pope doesn't have a typical Facebook profile, and hence you can't poke him, or invite him to play Pirates vs Ninjas. But you can choose to send one of a number of "virtual postcards" with messages from the Pope and associated photos to one of your Facebook friends. Paul Tighe, secretary Vatican's Social Communications department--and who knew it had one of those?--notes, "We recognize that a church that does not communicate ceases to be a church." The Church also recently launched a new Web site http://www.pope2you.net/.
Meanwhile it's precisely that issue of communication that's causing concerns for powerful Muslims in Iran and Indonesia. Last week a group of Indonesian imams met to discuss the issues they think Facebook, and social sites like it, are causing for its members: Specifically they think the ease of communication could encourage flirtation and extramarital affairs. As a result, they're considering a ruling to steer behavior on the site--the suggestion is that they'd still be allowed to be members, but should comport themselves according to relevant edicts. Since Facebook is the number one most popular Web site in Indonesia, above even Google, this is major news for the country.
So has Facebook gotten religion? Well, yes--kind of. What's happening is basically a high-speed version of the way religion has moved into each new medium, from the days of print onwards, and tried to leverage it to drive ethical, social and political agendas.
BY Kit EatonTue May 26, 2009