The pope is reaching out to the digital masses.
People from all over the world will be able to read the words of wisdom of Pope Benedict XVI in 140 characters, as the leader of the Catholic Church has joined the world of Twitter, with the handle @Pontifex.
The Vatican said Monday that the pope will start tweeting for a personal account on Dec. 12. The 85-year-old pontiff, who still writes his speeches and books by hand, tweeted for the first time last year on the Vatican's official Twitter account. He'll be pushing the button again to share the first tweet on @Pontifex, Reuters reported. However, in the future, the tweets will be written by his aides.
The pope's first tweets will answer questions about faith sent to #askpontifex. The account will also share content of the pope’s weekly general audience, Sunday blessings and homilies on major Church holidays, Reuters reported.
Greg Burke, the Vatican’s communications adviser, said the Twitter handle means "pope" and also "bridge builder" in Latin, The Associated Press reported.
The pope's account in English already has over 130,000 followers. There are seven other official accounts in different languages, including Spanish, German, Polish, Italian, French, Portuguese and Arabic. All of them have a yellow background with a design of the traditional papal emblem as well as the pope’s signature.
Back in 2011 the pope wrote about the possibilities of new media and social networks, viewing them as “a great opportunity.”
This is not the Vatican’s first attempt at reaching out the masses through social media. The pope’s speeches and messages can be readily accessed on iPhones and iPods.