screenshot of Vatican Web site
The Vatican's Web site now contains information about papal succession.
updated 4/4/2005 8:42:47 PM ET 2005-04-05T00:42:47

The Internet came to the Catholic Church during the pontificate of Pope John Paul and allowed his words to be spread in ways neither he nor his predecessors could have imagined.

The Vatican developed a Web site, which carried the texts of papal speeches, pronouncements and other church documents.

With his death, the site now has a section called "Vacancy of the Apostolic See." It includes the text of the papal death certificate, in Italian, and the 1996 document from John Paul outlining revised rules for choosing a new pope.

John Paul was the first pope to have an e-mail address. As his health deteriorated in recent weeks, people were encouraged to send him their wishes via the Internet.

And when he died, the Vatican passed the word to reporters by e-mail.

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