First The Papacy, Now His Twitter: Benedict Plans His Final Tweet
Boasting more than two million followers, the vacating Pope Benedict XVI's Twitter account - @Pontifex - will likely be used for one last tweet before being closed.
With the erstwhile pope making his exit on Thursday, Feb. 28, Vatican Radio suggests that the final pontifical tweet will be made on Wednesday, Feb. 27, as that is the day Benedict XVI will make his final general audience to crowds in the Vatican's St. Peter's Square.
CNN reports that if the Pope does not make his final tweet at that time, Vatican Radio has implied "perhaps one final thought will come from Benedict on February 28, 'before retiring into silence.'"
ABC News reported on Dec. 12, 2012 that Pope Benedict XVI became the first pontiff to tweet a blessing, with more than 30,000 retweets being quickly made thereafter.
The twitter account opening was first announced on Dec. 3, 2012.
"Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter," read the first tweet (as translated into English). "Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart."
That first tweet took some assistance, as Pope Benedict XVI had a bit of trouble using the iPad.
"Part of the pope's job description is to spread the word," said Greg Burke, senior communications adviser for the Vatican. "Twitter is turning out to be a very effective way of doing this.
"Twitter for us is not about the number of people following the pope but about getting people to follow Christ."
Benedict XVI has famously become the first pontiff in six centuries to decide to resign from his post, pointing to health issues as his main rationale.
Though the current rules for selecting a new pope state that cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church should start voting procedures 15 to 20 days after papal vacancy, Vatican spokesperson Rev. Federico Lombardi has said the body will "explore" expediting the procedure due to the seat's becoming vacant from resignation as opposed to death.
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