As the College of Cardinals gather to celebrate the Mass pro eligendo Papa in the basilica of Saint Peter, this morning, faithful from across the world will be tuning in to join them in prayer and in curiosity. Since the announcement of Pope Benedict’s resignation in early February, the Holy See Press Office, together with the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio, CTV – the Vatican TV service, and other communications agencies for the Catholic Church, have been servicing a massive worldwide audience, keen to know every conceivable detail of the conclave process.
What is new, even since the election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, is that this is being done more and more through electronic media. Social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are providing regular updates from the sources, as well as information from journalists. Most importantly, though, a new dialogue has formed between the Catholic faithful and the media, as snippets of information are gathered together from across the Twittersphere and from comment pieces on blogs and websites.