When God said "go forth and spread the word," little did he know he would would be limited to 140 characters. Pope Benedict XVI, who at 82 just realized that 'you can teach an old dog new tricks,' doesn't want the priests in his flock to miss out on a current opportunity to proselytize. After all, wasn't spreading the word an early precursor of Twitter?
However the Pope is a newbie to the world of social media and the irony is he doesn't even have his own Twitter account. The 'unofficial Pope Benedict XVI account' is run by "a fan just doing his part to spread the word," and he currently only has 3702 followers. Jesus Christ probably had more than that number some 2000 years before the microblogging platform was a glint in Jack Dorsey's eye.
Pope Benedict XVI unofficial Twitter account
Additionally, the Pope still writes most of his speeches in German long hand and it is his younger aides who manage his entries onto social networks.
Nonetheless, while the Internet has revolutionized the world of communications, the pope says he wants Catholics to stay ahead of the times and learn how to spread their message efficiently and effectively though digital media.
According to a Telegrah.co.uk report, "Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audio-visual resources – images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites – which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelisation and catechesis," he said.
After decades of being wary of new media, the Vatican has decided to join the social networking crusades, while cautiously alerting priests not to strive to become stars of new media. "Priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart," the Pope said.
The pope's message, released at the Vatican Jan. 23, was tailored to the current Year for Priests, Priests Bloggingfocusing on the theme: "The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: New media at the service of the Word." World Communications Day will be celebrated May 16 in most dioceses.
Outside of Twitter, the Pope launched a YouTube channel last year, and now, he’s getting onto Facebook, with the launch of his own application, called Pope2You.
Pope2You actually encompasses more than just a Facebook app. There’s now a website that links followers to the existing YouTube Channel, the new Facebook application, and even an iPhone app.
For those who want to get to know Pope Benedict XVI a little better, over the past couple of years other initiatives have also come to life, such as independent the websites of Romereports.com or whats considered the Catholic version of Facebook, XT3.