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Pope's first tweet reveals portal for Vatican news

Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday tweeted for the first time, announcing the launch of a Vatican news information portal.

Benedict's tweet read: "Dear Friends, I just launched News.va Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI."

The portal www.news.va for the first time aggregates information from the Vatican's various print, online, radio and television media. It's the latest effort by the Vatican to bring its evangelizing message to a greater, Internet-savvy audience, following forays into Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Benedict put the site online himself by tapping an iPad, said Thaddeus Jones, project coordinator and an official with the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Moments later, the pope sent the tweet.

The pontiff, 84, was then shown the portal and its features in greater detail.

Jones described him as "interested and impressed" and "clearly enjoying it."

"He was clearly in awe at the new technology," Jones said. "It's a lighter moment but also an important one. It marks a new way of communicating."

Benedict has been bedeviled by communications woes during much of his six-year papacy, much of it the fault of a large Vatican bureaucracy that doesn't always communicate well internally.

Officials hope the new portal, while mostly designed to provide Vatican news in an easy-to-use setting to the outside world, might also improve the Vatican's internal communications by sharing information.

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