The big news from Rome this week is that the Holy See has entered the digital age with Pope Benedict XVI delivering his first ever tweet.
The holy tweet, delivered on the 12/12/12 from the twitter address @pontifex saw a return to the days when the Pope would preach from his tablet, only this time not carved from stone but an I-pad 4 – and only involved his extending a single finger:
“Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.” Not exactly earth moving stuff – but the pope explained that he wanted to reach men and women at the place where they spend most of their time.
The pope had announced a week before hand that he intended to make the inaugural tweet – a long time in coming in the digital world but, as noted in the Guardian this morning, ‘the holder of a 2000-year-old post is entitled to take a longer view’.
Even if the Benedict himself is no technical whiz – his media team ensured that his tweets would be translated into eight languages and within a few hours had reached over a million people.
Its a brave new world for the Vatican – and the interactive nature of twitter means that the Pope can expect the most unpredictable of responses.
And respond they did. jimmybhoy@ was one of the first cabs off the rank replying: “fucking prick”.
Meanwhile @fergusculleton didn’t beat around the bush in his immediate response “Hail Satan!”
The Vatican have acknowledged that the Holy Father won’t do the tweeting himself but that he will approve the tweets before they go out “not physically, but from his mind.”