On Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI ushered in a new era of social communication in the Catholic Church and joined an army of religious icons—real and fake—on Twitter.
With the help of some papal advisers and Archbishop Claudio Celli, head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the pope launched the Vatican’s new news service and gave Jesus Christ a shout out in less than 140 characters. The Twitter account, @news_va_en, has more than 40,000 followers.
The news of the pope’s first tweet took the world by storm. TIME, The Washington Post and CNN jumped all over the news. It also caught the attention of@jesus_m_christ, a parody account, who tweeted, “Nah, I’m not mad that the Pope’s first tweet wasn’t at me. I haven’t spoken with a Pope in quite some time.”
“Pope Benedict sends first tweet. Wow, this is news?Not impressed.Now if he were to bust out and start breakdancin in the Vatican, thats news,” said Kevin Taddonio (@kevintaddonio).
“The Pope sends one Tweet and already he’s got like a million followers. What the fuck has he ever done that I haven’t?” said Barry Petchesky (@barryap1).
“The news just said that the POPE joined twitter today and really typed his own first tweet. I’m convinced….the end is near. I cant take it,” said Victoria Littleton (@Queen_VictoriaL).
The pope’s first tweet follows a long line of technological advancements in religion. Apple applications like the iRosary, Islamic Compass and Bible have made religions more accessible and appealing to the Facebook generation. Now, only time will tell if the pope will accept confessions via Twitter.