Pope gets more than half million Twitter followers

VATICAN CITY Tue Dec 4, 2012 11:59pm IST

Pope Benedict XVI holds the cross as he leads a Vespers mass in Saint Peter's basilica at the Vatican December 1, 2012. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pope Benedict XVI holds the cross as he leads a Vespers mass in Saint Peter's basilica at the Vatican December 1, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Max Rossi

Related Topics

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Even though he hasn't sent a single tweet yet, Pope Benedict had more than half a million Twitter followers in eight languages on Tuesday, the day after the Vatican unveiled his handle: @Pontifex.

They included people ranging from the simple Roman Catholic faithful to a Jewish head of state.

"Your holiness, welcome to Twitter. Our relations with the Vatican are at their best & can form a basis to further peace everywhere," tweeted Israeli President Shimon Peres, who at 89 is four years older than Benedict.

The Vatican said on Monday that Benedict will start tweeting on mostly spiritual topics from December 12.

The pope actually has eight linked Twitter accounts. @Pontifex, the main account, is in English. The other seven have a suffix at the end for the different language versions. For example, the German version is @Pontifex_de, and the Arabic version is @Pontifex_ar.

On Tuesday afternoon, the English version had the most followers, with nearly 400,000. The next largest was Spanish, with some 93,000. The lowest number of followers was the Arabic, with about 3,500. Benedict's native German had about 10,000.

But the pope, leader of some 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, won't be following anyone but himself, the Vatican said.

A look at his official Twitter page on Tuesday showed that he is "following" seven people but they are merely versions of his own Twitter account in different languages.

The first papal tweets will be answers to questions sent to #askpontifex.

The tweets will be going out in Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic and French. Other languages will be added in the future.

The tweets will come primarily from the contents of his weekly general audience, Sunday blessings and homilies on major Church holidays. They will also include reaction to major world events, such as natural disasters.

He will push the button on his first tweet himself on December 12 but in the future most of the tweets will be written by aides, and he will sign off on them.

The Vatican, whose website has been taken down by hackers in the past, said it has taken precautions to make sure the pope's certified account is not hacked. Only one computer in the Vatican's Secretariat of State will be used for the tweets.

The pope's Twitter page is designed in yellow and white - the colours of the Vatican - and his picture over the backdrop of a St Peter's Square packed with pilgrims.

The page may change during different liturgical seasons of the year and when the pope is away from the Vatican on trips. (Reporting By Philip Pullella, editing by Paul Casciato)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Internet Constitution

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Chip Company

Chip Company

Panasonic, Fujitsu to form chip design, development company  Full Article 

Huawei Shrugs

Huawei Shrugs

China's Huawei says reports of NSA spying won't impact growth  Full Article 

Google Mobile

Google Mobile

Google extends reach into mobile apps with new ad feature  Full Article 

Internet Conference

Internet Conference

Brazil conference will plot Internet's future post NSA spying   Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage