Pope uses trendy messaging app “Telegram” to broadcast Lent messages
The Vatican has announced that the Pope and other clergy would be using the controversial messaging app Telegram to broadcast recordings of Gospel readings and commentary during Lent. Vatican broadcasters have ditched WhatsApp, the platform that was used last year, in favour of Telegram which they said was better. Telegram officials said they welcomed the news and announced that the Vatican channel already had over 5600 subscribers.
Subscribers to the Pope’s Telegram channel @pgpompei will receive religious messages from Ash Wednesday until Easter.
Telegram is a free messaging app that seamlessly syncs across all devices enabling users to send fast secure messages with large attachments. It was created by the two brothers who founded VKontakte- a Russian social networking site inspired by Facebook – and by the end of last year claimed to have 50 million monthly users. Telegram’s facility that enables users to create channels for broadcasting to unlimited audiences has made it a popular means of reaching out to worldwide audiences. The BBC has a number of channels on Telegraph.
In his first broadcast on Telegram, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel reading from the Ash Wednesday Mass in which Jesus warns us against practising good works just to be seen doing so by others.
“When we do something good, sometimes we are tempted to seek praise and to be rewarded: that’s human glory,” said Francis, adding “but it’s a false reward because it makes us focus on what others think of us.”
By switching to Telegraph, the Pope is beating Islamic State at their own game. Because Telegram enables highly encrypted messages to be sent to phones, tablets and computers without detection by outsiders, the app attracted controversy last year when Islamic State shifted its propaganda distribution to the app from Twitter after its Twitter accounts were shut down.
Police investigating last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris found that some of the terrorists had used Telegram, and its rival WhatsApp, to plot the attacks and communicate. As a result, last November Telegram’s founders announced that they blocked 78 Islamic State public channels used for propaganda.