Got a question for the Pope? Well it’s not quite carrier pigeon, but you can now tweet your question to the Pope, @pontifex, with #askpontifex. Pope Benedict has officially joined Twitter and, despite not having sent out any tweets yet, he already has over 400,000 followers. The Pope’s Twitter handle is @pontifex, and the Vatican revealed that it will be tweeting on spiritual topics in English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Polish and Arabic.
The Pope will not be following anyone other than his other accounts, which are in different languages. While he will be the one to push the “tweet” button on the very first tweet, scheduled for December 12th, most of the tweets coming from his account will be written by his aides, with his blessing, of course.
Even without the Pope tweeting, he is certainly receiving tweets. The tweets he’s receiving got heated and accusatory pretty fast, mostly directed towards policy issues. Others ranged from serious to silly:
@PJCrowley The @pontifex decision to only be followed @twitter is a metaphor of the #Church’s current challenge. Engagement is a two-way process.
@rodney_at_large Just read @Pontifex’s timeline. Brilliant. Just brilliant. If you can’t see the tweets you’re going to hell.
@nickvatterott Hey Pope (@Pontifex), can you talk to Peter for me? I keep friend requesting him but he denied me three times.
@spinozaen The #Pope joins Twitter at @Pontifex. If he really believed in miracles he would have joined Google+.
The other trend appears to be fake Pope retweets, with users “retweeting” supposed Papal tweets:
@longwall26 Please don’t do this. RT @pontifex ? I love it when you call me Big Papal ?
@OpieRadio Pope first tweet! RT @Pontifex thou shall not steal someone else’s tweet.
@biorythmist RT @Pontifex It’s none of my business what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home j/k lol
Not all Twitter users turned the Pope’s new Twitter account into a source of amusement, with Israeli President Simon Peres tweeting, “Your holiness, welcome to Twitter. Our relations with the Vatican are at their best & can form a basis to further peace everywhere.” If you want to follow his Holiness, you can find his Twitter account here.