Pope Benedict made his first tweet on his official page on 12.12.12. Some say it’s a miracle, others see it as PR, while Twitter users are commenting on the Pope’s address, where the head of the Roman Catholic Church blessed the internet community.
The first tweet came from user @Pontifex on Wednesday following his weekly audience in St. Peters’ Square.
Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) December 12, 2012
Following the greeting the Pope will continue his communication answering the questions submitted by Twitter users under the hashtag #askpontifex. The Vatican reported the Pope would answer at least three questions from users. The process is supervised by a group called the “Pontifical Council for Social Communications”, The Washington Post reports.
“How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?” was the first question the Pope posted and answered. “By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need,” was the reply.
According to Time magazine, Vatican officials believe Pope Benedict will be following a long tradition of Christian communication. “This is not a new approach,” Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture says. “What’s new is the technique.”
Opinions are split on whether stepping into the vast world of social networking with all types of attitude, political discussions, often dirty language and much skepticism is a right thing for the Pope to do.
However according to Cardinal Ravasi and his team it is a logical move for the pontiff to bring his pastoral mission to all segments of society.
“I see the Internet as a playground, and I see the church as playing the role of a responsible adult,” the Cardinal’s spokesperson Richard Rouse said.
Comments to the Pope’s tweets vary from sincere admiration to those containing abusive language.
"Thank you, Holy Father, for using social media to spread the Gospel message and the love of Jesus Christ!" User Tim Drake wrote.
Another Twitter user Rob Manuel (@robmanuel) wrote his reply with much less respect. "@Pontifex right back at you popey dude. I bless you from my lungs and esophagus," he wrote.
The account of the pontiff was launched last week. The Pope immediately became a sensation in the online space, scooping over 750,000 followers.