Pope Benedict XVI is not following @God. At least, not on Twitter, where the pontiff has opened a personal account.

The @Pontifex username was registered back in February, but the Vatican did not confirm the Pope’s username until Monday.

"The handle is a good one. It means 'pope' and it also means 'bridge builder'," Greg Burke, senior media advisor to the Vatican, said, according to Reuters.

To date, the Pope is following seven other Twitter accounts from @Pontifex—his official accounts in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Italian, French and Arabic. He already has more than 173,000 followers.

The Pope has dabbled with Twitter before, tapping the Post button to announce the launch of a Vatican news site last year. This will be the first time he’s had his own account, however.

Unless there’s divine intervention, expect to see the Pope’s first (or second) tweet and a Q&A (via the #AskPontifex tag) during his weekly audience on Wednesday, Dec. 12. After that, papal aides will write most tweets, but the Pope will sign off on them first.

Although the Vatican says @pontifex’s tweets will be “spiritual” in nature, would-be Twitter comics are already offering some alternative suggestions for the #popesfirsttweet.

Photo by Sergey Gabdurakhmanov/Flickr