Vatican plans new network


ROME -- In the latest initiative aimed at bringing its message to as many people as possible, the Vatican on Monday announced plans to launch a new network called H2O, which will broadcast news and original entertainment programming worldwide in seven languages.

The plan was announced just days after Pope Benedict XVI criticized the media for its potential to be "destructive."

Over the years, the Vatican has been quick to adopt new technologies in its efforts to communicate with the world's more than 1 billion Catholics. In 1996, the Vatican introduced its Web portal nearly three years before the Italian state unveiled its own Web site. And it has been quick to use digital and satellite technology to communicate with the faithful.

But this is the first time the Vatican will delve into mainstream television.

According to a statement, the H2O project will be on the air by the end of the year, though other details remain sketchy.