In an attempt to connect to its followers and increase its numbers, the Vatican released "Faithbook," an online Catholic social network. The website allows Catholics to interact and connect internationally, and it also boasts a direct connection to the Vatican. The site has the verbal and -most importantly - the electronic support of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. "We thought it was really important to make sure His Holiness had a profile," commented Cardinal Amendolia. "We also made a page for Jesus, but we're still waiting for Him to update his page."
With the recent popularity of Facebook, the Church felt it had to create an alternative social network for its followers that wasn't founded by a guy who's name "sounds kind of Jewish." Many features are the same as Facebook, such as the profile page and ability to create events, but with a Catholic spin. For example, upon creating a profile, the user is automatically invited to the event "Armageddon," with the only RSVP option being "Attending." The only options for relationships for non-clergy members are married and single, but an added feature for nuns allows them to be "in a relationship with Jesus." There is a large range of apps to choose from. These include "Will You Go to Heaven?" quizzes, "Guess the Papal Bull" trivia games and Farmville.
Despite the intitial success of the site, there are still some problems. Many parents have expressed discomfort with priests "poking" their children. The Vatican had to recently issue a statement that Faithbook-stalking should be called "knowing thy neighbor" to avoid complicated theological issues.
While the Vatican has generously subsidized the creation of Faithbook, the Church hopes to eventually make the website self-sufficient through advertising, which has been somewhat controversial thus far. The most recent advertising campaign focused on creating targeted ads for priests, but the only ads that seemed to work were for gay singles bars.
For all its faults, the sites have caused a worldwide splash. There have been rumors of a movie coming out about the site starring Jesse Eisenberg as the Pope, but nothing has been confirmed. Many other major religions have been developing their own sites to rival Faithbook. Jewish leaders are currently working on what they're calling "Facebaruch," while Muslim leaders have been developing "Don'tShowYourFacebook." No word has been heard regarding the Buddhist social network other than that your profile changes every time you log on based on your past actions while on the site.
Whether Faithbook is a passing fad or here to stay is still uncertain, but the Pope seems to be happy with the results. He recently posted, "LOVE the new site. Check your profiles for invites to Vatican III! It's gonna be dope." He then promptly liked his own status, because he's allowed to do that sort of thing.