ROME — Roman Catholics can send now text messages of support to Pope Benedict XVI, Italian public television said Saturday, as the Church faces an international paedophile scandal.
The mobile phone service was launched by Rai television's Sunday weekly religious programme, ahead of a gathering organised by lay groups in Saint Peter's Square on May 16 to show their backing for the Pontiff.
All messages sent to the special number -- +39 335 18 63 091 -- will be passed along to the Pope by the end of May, the broadcaster said. They will be shown from Sunday during the television show "In His Image".
"It's a truly unique event, because with this number everyone can show their solidarity without being physically present in Saint Peter's Square," said Rosario Carello, the chief of the programme on the Rai Uno channel.