Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holy Father on Twitter

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 3, 2012 ( The Holy See Press Office
> officially announced Pope Benedict XVI's presence on Twitter. The Holy Father is
> set to send out his first tweet on December 12, Feast of Our Lady of
> Guadalupe, under the username @pontifex.
> Presenting the initiative to the press was Fr. Federico Lombardi, director
> of the Holy See Press Office; Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of
> the Pontifical Council for Social Communication; Professor Gian Maria
> Vian, director of L'Osservatore Romano; and Dr. Greg Burke, Media Advisor to
> the Vatican Secretary of State. Also present at the press conference was Dr.
> Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Director of Social Innovation for Twitter.
> Archbishop Celli noted the significance of the Pope's presence on Twitter
> was not so much an emphasis on the modern world nor a tribute to
> technology, but more importantly a means to show that technology "is put in our hands
> to announce the Gospel."
> "The desire of this Pontiff is to enter into dialogue with the man and
> woman of today, and to speak with them in places where they are found,"
> Archbishop Celli said. Recalling the question as to how can the Pope evangelize
> in 140 characters, which is the limit of characters for an individual tweet,
> Archbishop Celli said that while it is a challenge, it is not a
> significant setback.
> "The problem is not 140 characters; the main concern is to give profound
> human expression to the words that are given," Archbishop Celli said. The
> head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications stated that Twitter
> would give the Holy Father the opportunity to express what Archbishop Celli
> described as "pearls of wisdom".
> Greg Burke, Media Advisor for the Vatican Secretary of State, stated that
> it would be surprising if the Pope was not present on Twitter given that it
> is "an excellent means" of communication. Burke also noted the dual
> meaning of the Pope's user name.
> "@Pontifex not only means 'pope', it also means 'bridge builder', which
> suggests unity with all men of good will," he said.
> Burke stated that the Pope's Twitter account will allow followers to ask
> the Pope questions and engage in dialogue with the Supreme Pontiff. The
> first tweets will be answers to questions on faith from followers who send the
> Holy Father questions under the hashtag #askpontifex.
> Pope Benedict XVI will send out tweets in various languages as well. Among
> the languages are Spanish (@pontifex_es), Italian (@pontifex_it),
> Portuguese (@pontifex_pt), German (@pontifex_de), Polish (@pontifex_pl), Arabic
> (@pontifex_ar), and French (@pontifex_fr). Other languages could be added
> later on in the future.
> While he wasn't sure how many tweets the Holy Father would be sending on a
> given day, Burke assured that every tweet will come straight from Pope
> Benedict XVI.
> Other initiatives announced by the Pontifical Council for Social
> Communication would be an upcoming YouTube page for, an e-book to coincide
> with the Year of Faith, and a mobile app, called "The Pope App" which
> includes news, live broadcast of the Pope's addresses, and live webcam feeds to
> St. Peter's, Castelgandolfo and other papal sites. The app is due to be
> released this month for iOS and will be available for Android in January.

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