Any impression that the Catholic Church is a backward institution run by clueless old men has been obliterated by Pope Benedict XVI’s launching of a Vatican Youtube channel. Now the faithful can use the power of the World Wide Web (his words) to check in daily with their spiritual father, unfettered by the limitations of space and time.

Pope TV

Mind blowing stuff, but it raises an obvious question. Surely the Vatican has the money to deliver these messages of goodwill and hope through their own digital channels, relaying the word of God through high resolution streaming rather than low-grade Youtube clips. Is the Church concerned that no one would check into a dedicated site and hopes instead that viewership will trickle in through the interconnectedness of Youtube? Salvation can be had for millions of midnight Youtube trollers desperate for fulfillment just by stumbling onto a random video. If this is so then it seems strange that The Pope would rely on a social-network model to increase viewers while simultaneously warning against the threat of virtual friendships in lieu of an honest-to-God life.

I’m also a little curious about the way that Pope TV is set up. They don’t allow embedding (which is why trying to watch the video above sends you direct to their channel) and they don’t allow anyone to rate their videos. Even more perplexing is that it seems like commenting is enabled but I’ve yet to see a single comment on any of the videos I’ve looked at. The subject matter seems ripe for lampooning but perhaps the usual assortment of snarky Anonymous lurking throughout the web are a little concerned about their eternal salvation.