Pope Sends Out First Tweet, And It Isn't About The 'X-Factor'

on December 12 2012 9:15 AM
Pope Benedict XVI
An Italian priest set a photo of Benedict XVI on fire during Sunday Mass, arguing that the former pope had abandoned followers of the Roman Catholic Church by resigning. Reuters

The wait is over.

Roughly 10 days after registering a personal Twitter account, Pope Benedict XVI has sent out his first tweet.

"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," the Pope (@pontifex) wrote. 

While the Pontiff may have authored the tweet, it wasn't his fingers that hit the keys to blast it out to his nearly 750,000 followers. 

Instead, the Pope had the Vatican's secretariat of state write the pronouncements for him, culled from His Holiness' speeches, homilies, or catechism lessons. 

For his first tweet at around 5:30 a.m. EST, sent in eight languages, Benedict was flanked by younger staff members to ensure his tweet didn't go awry.

The Pope's staff responded to questions delivered to Benedict via the hashtag "Askpontifex."

The first question came soon after his first message -- an inquiry about the best ways to celebrate the Year of Faith in a Catholic's daily life. 

"By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need," the Pope responded.

While Benedict's volley of tweets on Wednesday were the first from his newly-registered personal account, messages were actually sent out on his behalf over a year ago on the generic Vatican handle. A ghost scribe wrote daily during Lent, acting as Benedict.

For the Vatican, Benedict's Twitter immersion corresponds with the institution's historical trend of entering the Zeitgeist. It was 80 years ago, when Pope Pius XI launched Vatican Radio, causing similar surprise around the Catholic world. Church officials maintained then -- as they do now -- that they urge popes to use the latest communication technologies to spread the faith. 

More News from IBT MEDIA