Information emerging from the Vatican has revealed that Pope Benedict XVI is set to join the list of world leaders tweeting from a personal account. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi made the announcement on Thursday, saying details about Benedict’s handle and other information will come when the Vatican officially launches the account, perhaps before the end of the year.
The 85-year-old Pope sent his first tweet from a Vatican account last year when he launched the Vatican’s news information portal, aimed at the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics. However, this new Twitter account will be his; though it’s doubtful if the Pope himself will do the job of breaking down his papal pronouncements into 140-character bites. Benedict, who writes longhand and doesn’t normally use a computer, will more likely sign off on tweets written in his name.
According to the Vatican spokesperson, “It’s going to be nice having the Pope up there… If you look at the top 10 tweeters in the world, those with the most followers, I think eight of them are entertainers – Lady Gaga, actors and singers… I don’t know if we can compete with them – it’s hard to compete with Lady Gaga – but it will be good to have something coming directly from the Pope, something spiritual thrown into the mix.”
However, while the tweets will be coming directly from the Pope, he isn’t likely to be replying to messages sent back to him, the official said: “He clearly won’t be replying to the tweets… Let’s hope his followers are re-tweeting rather than engaging, because I don’t see the Pope sitting down and answering replies to tweets.”