Pope Benedict XVI has asked members of the Catholic church to expand their online presence.
A recent message from the Vatican urges priests in particular to use the web as a means of communicating with members of the church and those new to the religion.
"Responding adequately to this challenge amid today's cultural shifts, to which young people are especially sensitive, necessarily involves using new communications technologies," the Pope said.
The call is not the first time that the Catholic church has looked to new ways of spreading the gospel. An Italian priest made headlines in 2007 when he asked members to use online world Second Life.
The use of the internet has become a major priority for religious and political groups looking to actively engage users and offer new services.
US president Barack Obama credited his extensive use of the web and social networking sites with helping him win the presidential election and secure the nomination. Shortly after taking office, Obama began to overhaul the White House web site.
Officials in the UK, meanwhile, are debating a major reworking of the government's online presence to better exploit social networking sites and web-based services.
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