LONDON (Reuters) – Pope Benedict has a website, his own YouTube channel and he's on the social networking site Facebook -- now he's about to release his first album.
The Pope will be singing litanies and chants and reciting passages and prayers in five languages on an album being released ahead of Christmas by Geffen Records, the label that signed up Snoop Dog and Ashlee Simpson.
The album will feature the backing vocals of The Choir of the Philharmonic Academy of Rome blended with modern classicist recordings by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It will be mixed at London's Abbey Road Studios.
Colin Barlow, the president of Geffen Records which is owned by Vivendi's Universal Music Group, said he did not think it was odd to put out a religious record in Latin, Italian, Portuguese, French and German on a mainstream music label.
"I think in this day and age, as the public are, as I am, people are fascinated by all kinds of music. We're not fed on one type of music," he told Reuters Television.
The pope's voice was recorded in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican and during papal trips abroad.
It's not the first time a pope has released an album on a major label.
Pope John Paul released "Abba Pater" on Sony Classical Music in 1999.
Pope Benedict's album "Alma Mater" will be released on November 30 and some of the proceeds will go toward supporting music education for poor children around the world. (Reporting by Cindy Martin, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)