VATICAN CITY – Got a prayer or a problem for the new pope? Now you can e-mail him.
Showing that Pope Benedict XVI (search) intends to follow in the footsteps of John Paul II's multimedia ministry, the Vatican on Thursday modified its Web site so that users who click on an icon on the home page automatically activate an e-mail composer with his address.
Vatican spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment on how many messages Benedict may have received already.
John Paul, who died April 2, was the first pope to use e-mail, a medium that made its debut during his 26-year papacy. The Vatican said he received tens of thousands of messages in his final weeks as he struggled with illness.
In 2001, sitting in the Vatican's frescoed Clementine Hall (search), John Paul used a laptop to tap out an apology for Roman Catholic missionary abuses against indigenous peoples of the South Pacific.
The Vatican also used e-mail to notify journalists of John Paul's death.
The Holy See often issues news or documents to journalists via e-mail, and its labyrinth of obscure offices and councils are online in half a dozen languages. Even the Sistine Chapel (search), with its famed art collection, offers a virtual reality tour.