Pope Benedict XVI may be a doctrinal luddite, but he is down with the communicative abilities of cyberspace. “Let us go forth in the joy of the risen Lord and trusting in his permanent help,” proclaimed his first text message sent to all TIM cellphone users who subscribe to a papal “thought of the day” service, which was launched two years ago under the late John Paul II.
And yesterday the Vatican modified the “pope page” of its website with a “Greetings to the Holy Father” icon, which generates an automatic email form with firstname.lastname@example.org in the “send to” box. What were you expecting, parchment? It’s lonely at the top, send the Holy Dude an electronic shout-out.
In addition, the cyber-squat is on for popely-related Internet domains. Florida resident Rogers Cadenhead registered six domain names earlier this month based on names he thought the new pope might pick, including BenedictXVI.com. “Whatever I decide, it’s going to be guided by a desire not to anger 1.1 billion Catholics,” Cadenhead told Reuters. “Even though I’m a lapsed Catholic, I’m not lapsed that far.” He says no gambling and no porn.
Benedict16.com and benedictXVI.de are for sale — the latter with a list price of 1,000 euros from a seller who is also offering pope-benedictxvi.com, and benedictxvi.org presents itself as a fan site in the making.
56,191 e-mails were sent in the first 48 hours that Benedict’s Vatican e-mail was been operational, the Vatican said Friday.