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ReadWriteWeb is one of my favorite sites, ever. From yesterday:
Pope in a Box: The Vatican Comes to YouTube
Pope Benedict XVI made a big jump into the world of social networking today, making public statements about Facebook and MySpace and launching an official Vatican channel on YouTube. [read full article, I highly recommend it]

In light of this news, the author rightfully asks, "Who's next? The President of the US, the Pope, who isn't on YouTube these days?"

Indeed. Maybe the Pope can start tweeting papal bulls from home.

I am reminded of the chapter in Miller & Slater's The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach(2000) where Catholic priests in Trinidad suggested that "spiritual journeys" via IRC may be more effective at solving holistic problems of the mind, body, spirit and matter than the offline equivalent.

At any rate, the Internet is a haven for proselytizing hoards of all varieties, religious or otherwise, so I'm just surprised that it has taken the Vatican so long to hop on board. But checking out YouTube, it's easy to find plenty of the sheep flock doing the grassroots production work for them.

Ah, I'm smiling now because I just remembered how, when I was an undergraduate, I wrote an experimental essay for an original and incredibly fun course entitled Ritual and Belief, run by one of my doctoral supervisors (who has just retired). In it, I questioned to what extent the Internet itself had religious elements, and somehow weaved in the hypothesis that the ludic nature of online behavior such as IRC and RP made the web an immaterial, liminal realm inhabited by millenarian obsessives who wish to surrender themselves to an eternal state of Turner's communitas ( "mutual confrontation of human beings stripped of status role characteristics") . I may even have suggested that all Internet users are themselves like Gods, having achieved a certain form of utopia akin to the Christian concept of heaven in their transcendence of offline, physical limitations and failings. I really hope someone is still running that course. It was good fun.

I am full of nostalgia for the years when I could write something ridiculous and receive decent credit for creativity without the tedium of peer revision and substantive criticism. Oh - besides blogging!

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