The Catholic Church’s Pope Benedict will commence his presence on Twitter from 12 December this year, according to the Vatican. The religious leader’s Twitter handle will be @pontifex, which means both ‘pope’ and ‘bridge builder’ according to Vatican senior media advisor Greg Burke.
Burke said at a news conference yesterday that the pope’s tweets will all be spiritual in nature and that “…all the pope’s tweets are the pope’s words. Nobody is going to be putting words into his mouth.” The pope will not physically be sending most of the tweets himself, it seems.
The first tweets will apparently be answers to questions that are sent to the hashtag #askpontifex and these will be sent out in eight languages including English, German, Italian, French, Arabic and Polish .Additional languages will be added at a later stage.
Burke said “This is the new market of ideas and the Church has to be there. We want to use any method to spread the message. It’s cost-effective and not very labor intensive and it is aimed at young people.”
Concerns that the pope’s Twitter account may be targeted for hacking means that the messages sent from the @pontifex account will be confined to a single computer at the Vatican’s secretariat of state.