The Vatican next week will unveil a Facebook page for the late Pope John Paul II to promote his beatification on May 1. Monsignor Paul Tighe, the Vatican's number two man in the social media department, told the AP, "What we found is that Facebook doesn't just share information, it creates community."

And the Vatican isn't stopping with the Pope's Facebook page — it's launching a Vatican news portal on Easter so the Catholic Church can spread its message in 140 characters or less:

That interactivity — and the potential it brings to the church's evangelization mission — is behind the Vatican's new social media push, the culmination of which will be launched at Easter with a new Vatican information web portal whose contents are specifically designed to be tweeted, posted and blogged.

Three years from now, we predict the Vatican will join Tumblr, too.

[Image via AP]