The Pope tweets!

December 4, 2012 • 12:09 pm

Well, he hasn’t started yet, but I’m sure you’re all dying to follow Ratzinger when he begins his official pontifical tweets at this Twitter site. At last check he had over 369,000 followers even though there’s only a welcome message. Of course, the Pope himself ain’t gonna follow anyone (unless God tweets!):

Picture 2

According to The New York Times,

Benedict is expected to send his first post at a general audience at the Vatican on Dec. 12 — a response to questions about matters of the faith that he is now accepting via the hashtag #askpontifex, officials said.

The Vatican acknowledged that it had chosen the @pontifex handle not only because of its meaning but also because many other handles had been taken.

The move is aimed at drawing in the Roman Catholic Church’s 1.2 billion followers, especially young people. “The pope’s presence on Twitter can be seen as the ‘tip of the iceberg’ that is the church’s presence in the world of new media,” the Vatican said in a statement.

Just do not expect the pope to start following you on Twitter or retweeting your posts, Greg Burke, a former Fox News correspondent in Rome who was named a Vatican communications adviser this year, said at a news conference. “He won’t follow anyone for now,” Mr. Burke added. “He will be followed.”

Of course! But this raises the thorny status of the theological force of the messages.

Aides will write Benedict’s posts, but the pope himself will “engage and approve” the content. The pope will post messages however often he feels like it. . .

Asked whether the pope’s posts would be infallible, Msgr. Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, laughed and said they would be part of the church Magisterium, or collective teaching, but should be considered “pearls of wisdom,” not exactly doctrine.

“In any case, it’s a papal teaching,” Monsignor Celli said. “The message is just entrusted to a new technology.”

What would you like to see the Pope tweet? Remember, you’re limited to 140 characters.

92 thoughts on “The Pope tweets!

  1. “Sorry 4 kid rapes & coverups, wrong about abortion, contracepn, homosex, sex in gnrl, so go ahead if you want. Golden Rule good, all else optional”

    (I dunno: how much of Catholicism could one repeal in only 140 characters?)

    1. “Oh, and we borrowed the GR from the secular Greeks. But don’t forget, homosex is still a no-no.”

      1. The GR is also in Confucious; name a society that couldn’t work without the GR.

        Another thing the Catholics took from the Classical Greeks was paedophilia; little suffering children.

  2. This is going to be interesting. I imagine it’s rare for someone like the pope to hear what people really think of him. WIth anonymity and the distance of the internet it’s not going to be a polite profile. A huge palace, bullet resistant glass and enough gold to feed Africa can’t protect you from the abuse of the internet.

  3. Yet another reason for me not to Tweet.

    As for the pope, something like: “I’m wearing a dress. It’s totally weird the stuff they make us wear. I miss trousers.”

  4. So, the thing that causes me to yawn about Twitter is this: It is apparently designed to eliminate all thoughtful content. Limit you to tiny soundbites (yes, I know, haiku, etc., etc. — 99.9999% of the sludge on Twitter is not haiku …)

    It’s the equivalent of letting through on Facebook only the posts of the most inane sort: “Yeah! Me too!”

    And the narcissism of it! I’m so special people need to know what I’m doing right away! At all times! Look at me, look at me, look at me!

    1. Some people manage to say intelligent and worthwhile things on Twitter. It happens all the time. The trick is to pay attention to people who have things to say and ignore those who don’t.

        1. What ‘system’? What ‘filter’?

          You filter it yourself. You tune in to what you want to see.

          It doesn’t matter in the slightest whether Twitter ‘encourages’ intelligent interchange, whatever that could possibly mean.

          Intelligent interchange nevertheless happens. *A LOT*. And it’s not too difficult to find. You just have to follow the people doing it and not follow those who aren’t. Or follow topics you’re interested in. Change who you follow or what you’re interested in by the second, if you want. Find out what everyone else is talking about. Write elaborate scripts to do your filtering if you like.

          I don’t mean to evangelise Twitter – take it or leave it, I have no axe to grind – but it’s plain silly to dismiss a medium without understanding how it is used by interesting, intelligent and witty people. It’s a mistake to dismiss it without understanding its potential for communicating good stuff, making people laugh, educating people and joining together like-minded people.

          I sound really preachy, don’t I? I don’t mean to, but here we are, I’m afraid.

          NO REGRETS 🙂

          1. Far more than 140 characters …

            System: Commercial web-based software you must have an account on and log into; inputs visible to other users

            Filter: Extremely limited length of written message

            Emphasis: Instantaneous personal updates

            I can see its use for real, fast-breaking news (e.g. what’s going on in Syria) But I prefer getting my news from a source that has quality control.

  5. Hi! This is Big Benny reaching out to all you young tweeters. Leave No Child Behind The Times. Pax from your CardinalDaddy.

    [A nod to the Hitch]

      1. hang on – I think that one works:

        “All the pope’s tweets are the pope’s words. Nobody is going to be putting words into his mouth.”

  6. “Asked whether the pope’s posts would be infallible, Msgr. Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, laughed …”

    Yes, because your religion’s theological doctrines such as papal infallibility are always laughing matters! You theists are such jokers!

    1. I was going to punctuate that post with a smiley. Then I realized that such Catholic doctrines are increasing spread of HIV in Africa. Ugh. :-/

      1. Religion has never been a laughing matter and I can prove it.

        Whoever has guffawed foolishly shall do penance for thirty days.

        The Dead Scrolls, The Community Rule, 1QS.

        Those Essenes must have been a bundle of laughs. Imagine if they had won, and not the Catholics.

  7. “the Pope himself ain’t gonna follow anyone”

    The definition of “Christian” is “a follower of Christ”. So I think the Pope is down with the whole humility thing.

    Unless of course you think it only counts if he follows a different “JC”?

        1. Jacques Cousteau (the French Poseidon), Johnny Cash, my two daughters, John Cleese, Jane Campion, Jimmy Carter.

  8. I tweeted the pope, telling him about my book:
    @Pontifex I have written a book about how Christianity doesn’t make sense Any chance of a retweet?

    I tweeted the same thing in German and Latin, just to be sure.

    I wonder if he’ll respond. Shirley Phelps-Roper didn’t.

  9. It can’t be infallible, since the necessary formula to proclaim anything as such is more that 147 characters.

    Now, what I want to know, is, are those damn Dogholics *finally* gonna follow their catechism and do what their bloody lord and master bids them do?

  10. I’m shocked, utterly shocked I tell you that no one has yet misspelled that (wittingly or otherwise) as pontisex

  11. I doubt that he will read very many, and only the ones that his handlers bring to his attention. This will not likely connect him to the real world any more than he already is/isn’t.

  12. So he is following 7 others (it says in the picture) – got to wonder who. Or is it just himself in other languages.

    Following three I could understand. Or one I guess (or three in one). Or perhaps 4, or 12…. but I still can’t get seven (have to check out the “playing cards in church” song again)

    1. There are seven other pontifex accounts in different languages, pontifex_de and so on. Each follows the other seven.

  13. I hear the CC is all atwitter.

    Remember, you’re limited to 140 characters.

    That doesn’t seem much of a limitation, seeing how pedophile aiding and abetting Ratzinger has _no_ character whatsoever.

  14. “Asked whether the pope’s posts would be infallible, …”

    Oh lovely! That’s one cynical reporter who won’t be getting an invite to the next Papal press conference, I think. 😉

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