The Pope is going to where the followers are: Twitter. If you’ve got some burning questions to ask the Bishop of Rome, Catholicism’s holiest of holiest, mark your calendar for December 12. That day, Pope Benedict will begin tweeting on his just-established personal Twitter account. He’ll be going by @pontifex, and a peek into the still-tweet-less page reveals a cheery canary yellow background and some symbols of the office he holds.
The eighty-five-year-old, who was born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, will not exactly be tweeting himself, but the Church is assuring everyone that all future tweets will be the Pope’s actual words. Last year, the account @news_va_en was launched for papal news, but the tweets were not coming directly from the Pope himself either. The account @pontifex, which means both Pope and bridge builder, in nonetheless being touted as a more personal expression of Pope Benedict XVI’s message.
If you haven’t heard already, here it goes: Catholicism counts 1.2 billion “followers” around the world. As of this evening, the @pontifex has more than half a million followers — expect that number to rise very soon! To fête the Pope’s December 12 missives, the hashtag #askpontifex has started circulating. It appears the Pope will toggle between official accounts in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Arabic, Italian, and French.