by Rachel Ogbu
Pope Benedict XVIis set to join the list of world leaders tweeting from a personal account.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi made the announcement 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 Benedict 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.
The new Twitter account will be his own, though it’s doubtful Benedict himself will wrestle down his encyclicals, apostolic exhortations, and other 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.
‘It’s going to be nice having the Pope up there,’ the official said. ‘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.’
But while the tweets will be coming directly from the Pope, he isn’t likely to be replying to messages sent back to him.
‘He clearly won’t be replying to the tweets,’ the official said. ‘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.’