It’s Official: Papal Tweets on the Way!

The Pope is to start sharing his thoughts Urbi et Orbi – to the city and to the world – through Twitter by the end of the year, Vatican officials have confirmed.

But followers shouldn’t expect full-length Papal encyclicals condensed into 140 characters on his new account, just a few words from his weekly teachings or an occasional update on what he’s up to.

Pope Benedict XVI, 85, sent his first tweet last year through the official Vatican account, while launching a new website. He wrote on an iPad: ‘Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI.’

But now, users of the social media outlet can expect news and views direct from the man himself.

A Vatican official said that the tweets will be ‘fairly frequent’ and their content will probably ‘not veer too far from his texts, and on many occasions point to the things the Pope says.’

He added: ‘It will be proper language, for example pointing to his weekly catechesis [teachings] or whatever he is doing on that day.’

His Holiness is not expected to compose every 140-character soundbite himself but he will be approving everything sent out.

And it’s anticipated the new account, live by the end of this year, will attract plenty of followers. His flock is, after all, one billion around the world.

Updates: Vatican officials said the tweets will be fairly regular and will point followers in the direction of his teachings

‘It’s going to be nice having the Pope up there,’ the official said. ‘If you look at the top 10 tweeters in the world, those with the most followers, I think eight of them are entertainers – Lady Gaga, actors and singers.

‘I don’t know if we can compete with them – it’s hard to compete with Lady Gaga – but it will be good to have something coming directly from the Pope, something spiritual thrown into the mix.’

But while the tweets will be coming directly from the Pope, he isn’t likely to be replying to messages sent back to him.

‘He clearly won’t be replying to the tweets,’ the official said. ‘Let’s hope his followers are re-tweeting rather than engaging, because I don’t see the Pope sitting down and answering replies to tweets.’

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