According to Scoble’s interview with Sister Judith, Director who runs the Vatican’s website, she’s not sure, but at about 11 minutes into the interview she confirms that Pope Benedict is interested in the web and her budget is increasing. She went on to say that she hopes to see the expanded use of online technology for private collaboration.
Currently, the website is used to “get the message out” as opposed to a place for community dialog. She estimated that the site gets 11-15 million hits a day with the monthly traffic originating from ~120 countries.
When asked about the possibility of the Vatican leveraging videocasting to drive transparency (at about 12 minutes into the videocast), she not surprisingly indicated that this isn’t in the plans. I can’t help but wish that they had a social media evangelist on staff to rally the support and understanding of the value they could leverage in this space. I’m quite familiar with the glacial pace that the Vatican takes regarding change since I’ve been a Catholic all my life, but that doesn’t change my conviction regarding areas that I wish would change (at a far more rapid pace) — though I fully understand this is not at all trivial in a 2,000 year old institution. Sister Judith describes the task of integrating technology into the Vatican as both challenging and fascinating.
UPDATE: Per Tom’s comment below, there is a group that has been entrusted by the Holy See to syndicate audiocasts of papal activities. Vatican radio provides feeds by language. I’ve only done minor sampling of the audiocasts, so I’ll withhold most of my initial reaction, but I think it’s a huge step in the right direction and I hope to hear authentic dialogue (a term used in the site’s tagline) in addition to news type reports.