Pope takes to Twitter, but the Papal account won't be banal

Dec 3, 2012

Catholic Church leader has opened a Twitter account, but he won't be firing off messages from his Blackberry

POPE Benedict XVI, head of the Catholic Church, already has a billion followers in the real world. Now he aims to attract even more online using a new Twitter account called @Pontifex.

The Pope won't start sending Papal tweets until December 12, but his account was followed by more than 10,000 people within hours of its establishment today. The name @Pontifex was chosen because it "means Pope and it also means 'bridge builder'," a senior media advisor to the Vatican told Sky News.

Unlike many high-profile users of the social networking site, the Pope won't be tweeting banal messages about his lunch or strongly-held feelings about reality television shows. His spokesman said the papal account would be used to spread a "spiritual message" and focus on answering questions about faith using a "Q&A format".

The Pontiff would "not be walking around with a Blackberry or an iPad and no-one is going to be putting words into the pope's mouth. He will tweet what he wants to tweet," his spokesman said.

The first papal tweets will be sent out in Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic and French. More languages will be added in the future.

The Pope has used Twitter once before, sending a message from the Vatican's account in June, 2011, CNN says. Other religious leaders who have already embraced the social media site as a way of sending sub-140 character messages to their followers include the Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama).

He might eclipse the Dalai Lama – but will he be able to match Lady Gaga's 32 million? Is the Pope a Catholic?

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