CATHOLIC church leader Cardinal George Pell is looking for new friends.
The Sydney archbishop today launched a global Catholic social networking website based on the models of MySpace and Facebook.
Xt3.com – representing “Christ in the third millennium” – aims to connect young Catholics before, during and after next month’s World Youth Day (WYD) in Sydney.
Cardinal Pell showed off his personal Xt3.com page to WYD participants and media.
He admitted to being a latecomer to the internet but said there was a need for the church to have a serious web presence.
“Whatever about my ignorance on this area (the internet), it’s more than balanced by my recognition of its importance, and my determination that representatives of the church be actively presented in this area,” Cardinal Pell said.
He said the site had given him a fresh perspective on the internet.
One of the site’s founders, Robert Toone, said Xt3.com could also provide a useful tool for dialogue between faiths – one of the stated aims of Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit to Australia.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to break down some of the barriers that may exist,” he said.
WYD co-ordinator Bishop Anthony Fisher also highlighted this potential.
“All sorts of young people will come in and out of this site … they won’t necessarily be Catholics or high-octane Catholics,” he said.
“I’m pleased too that I have been persuaded to come online,” he said.
“Of course, I invite you all to come online and become one of my friends.”