Pope Benedict the next YouTube star?

Texts and video of the Pope's speeches, as well as news about the pontiff, will be posted directly to the channel, the Vatican says.

The Vatican--which recently endorsed an iPhone prayer app and gave its blessing to gadget evangelism--is displaying further receptivity to technology with Saturday's announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will get his own YouTube channel.

According to the Associated Press, the Vatican TV Center and Vatican Radio are collaborating with Google on the project, and texts and video of the Pope's speeches, as well as news about the pontiff, will be posted directly to the channel. More details on the project will be released next week, the Vatican press office said.

Given past tech-friendly moves by the Vatican, the YouTube announcement is not all that surprising.

Catholic Church officials have said that consumer electronics are necessary for distributing the Bible in today's world.

Besides printed text, "the voice of the divine word must also resonate over the radio, Internet channels with virtual online distribution, CDs, DVDs, iPods, and on television and cinema screens," read an official statement released during a gathering of Catholic bishops in October.

That includes iBreviary, the iPhone app that got a nod from church officials. Created by the Rev. Paolo Padrini and Web designer Dimitri Giani, it allows users to load the Breviary prayer book, prayers for saying a Catholic Mass, and other prayers.

The with-it Pope even got a 2GB white iPod Nano as a gift and uses acronyms in his text messages. He famously signed a mobile text sent to gatherers at last year's Catholic youth day rally in Sydney, Australia with "BXVI."

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