As promised, @Pontifex—otherwise known as Pope Benedict XVI—started tweeting today. The pope's first tweet from his personal account was a blessing, USA Today reports. He followed that up by answering a question, one of many posed to him since his Twitter account was announced using the hashtag #askpontifex. His first three tweets:
- "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."
- "How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?"
- "By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel, and looking for him in those in need"
He'll answer two more questions today, and Vatican officials say the answers are his own words—though the questions, some of which are actually just criticisms of the Catholic Church, are screened. The Washington Post takes a look at the "elaborate" preparations and process of sending the tweets, which may be typed by someone else on the pope's iPad even though they're his words. They're sent out in eight languages to his, so far, more than 728,000 followers. The move is big not just for the Church, but for Twitter as well, which has been seeking to up its profile by recruiting more VIP users; the Post notes that Twitter's "pontiff recruitment chief" has been at the Vatican all week. (Read more pontiff stories.)