The Italian Almanac

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Benedict XVI

Italian News - March 10

Pope Benedict XVI may head one of the oldest institutions in the world but he is a dab hand with modern technology. The latest gadget in the 78-year-old pontiff's array of equipment is a specially designed iPod, a portable digital media player that is currently the rage among teenagers. The iPod, a gift from Vatican Radio, contains hundreds of musical tracks as well as a special selection of programs from the broadcaster.

"It has a gigabyte of memory and is white because that's the colour of the Holy Father," explained the Vatican Radio's chief engineer Mauro Milita. "As well as religious music it has pieces by Mozart and Beethoven and a variety of Vatican Radio shows, some of which in German and English".

Milita appeared confident the pope would have no problems using the palm-sized device, perhaps not surprisingly, given the German pontiff has long proved more comfortable with modern technology than others his age. It is common knowledge in the Vatican that he listens to his beloved music on CDs, and he has used a state-of-the-art laptop for his work since taking up his former post as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.