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Pope Benedict: A Hip 'Pontifex' Tweets Blessings

In these images, Pope Benedict XVI pushes the button, with help, to issue the first tweet on his personal account. i i

hide captionIn these images, Pope Benedict XVI pushes the button, with help, to issue the first tweet on his personal account.

Gregorio Borgia/AP
In these images, Pope Benedict XVI pushes the button, with help, to issue the first tweet on his personal account.

In these images, Pope Benedict XVI pushes the button, with help, to issue the first tweet on his personal account.

Gregorio Borgia/AP

Pope Benedict XVI is officially a tweep. He launched his new Twitter account with this blessing:

We can call him '@Pontifex'. The Twitter handle means "pope" and "bridge builder", according to Greg Burke, a Vatican media advisor, reports the Catholic News Agency. His Twitter page background is yellow and white, the colors of the Vatican, and features a lovely shot of Vatican City and Benedict himself.

So what's the Pope going to talk about? Earlier, Mark helpfully wrote the 10 Commandments could easily be tweeted in less than 140 characters each.

Benedict joined the web for the first time last year, when he unveiled the Vatican's news information portal; that web message was very long, worlds away from the brevity required to be a successful tweeter. But within the Pope's detailed message in January, 2011, lies the seed of his move to the Twitterverse:

"When people exchange information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals. It follows that there exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others.

"To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert expressly religious content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one's own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically."

So far, Benedict's attracted more than 1 million followers on all the language Twitter feeds. But be aware - Reuters says the pontiff probably won't write most future tweets. These will be composed by aides and he'll sign off on them.

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