Pope's influence includes technology firsts

While Pope John Paul II will largely be remembered for his influence on social issues ranging from euthanasia to AIDS, he also earned a place in history as the first pontiff to embrace computer technology.

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In 2001, to much fanfare, the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., opened to the public. The center houses five interactive galleries that allow visitors to become part of the center's evolving exhibits...

...The pontiff's passing quickly drew encomiums praising his leadership on social and moral issues, but John Paul II also played a role in bringing the Vatican into the Information Age.

The Vatican brokered a deal with Verizon last year for a service to deliver a daily papal message to subscribers' cell phones. A church representative said the Vatican had a history of embracing new communications media, and cell phones are a natural vehicle for reaching younger believers. "People are always trying to find ways to market His Holiness," said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Earlier, the Vatican set up a special page for the pope to deliver messages about faith and world peace. "While the Internet can never replace that profound experience of God which only the living, liturgical and sacramental life of the Church can offer, it can certainly provide a unique supplement and support in both preparing for the encounter with Christ in community, and sustaining the new believer in the journey of faith which then begins," the pontiff proclaimed at the 36th annual World Communications Day in 2002.
- Religion promoting the use of Technology. *And Technology promoting Religion. Mutual Benefits that is.

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