Today, Pope Benedict XVI signed up for an instant means to spread his holy message to followers worldwide—but is he really ready for them to talk back?
Within hours of launching the Twitter account @pontifex, the pope had more than 140,000 followers, thousands of mentions, and zero tweets. The pope will not begin tweeting until Dec. 12, the Vatican said in a written statement Monday. The account, which will tweet in eight languages, will respond to the hashtag #askpontifex to answer questions of faith (most likely not to include queries on pop culture, fashion, or what you should have for lunch).
This isn’t the 85-year-old’s first Twitter rodeo. He caused a stir—and drew in 50,000 new followers—when he sent his first tweet from the Vatican Twitter account last summer. His personal account offers a way to increase awareness of the church’s message and reach out to a more digital subset of the 1.2 billion Catholic followers worldwide.
Here are some of the top tweets about His Holiness’s Twitter debut: