Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Sunday, February 7, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Jordan Tourism

Home : News : Pope Francis/Vatican
With @Pontifex, pope reaches out to new kind of followers
Catholic News Service photo
A screen capture of Pope Benedict's newly created Twitter account. The pope will begin tweeting Dec. 12 using the handle @Pontifex.
Catholic News Service photo
A screen capture of Pope Benedict's newly created Twitter account. The pope will begin tweeting Dec. 12 using the handle @Pontifex.


VATICAN CITY — To celebrate the launch of his new Twitter account, Pope Benedict will tweet the answers to a handful of questions from his followers.

The pope's rare question-and-answer exchange on the social media site shows the church doesn't just want to teach the truth, but also to listen to others, said Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

The archbishop and other Vatican officials spoke at a news conference Dec. 3 to reveal the pope's new Twitter account @Pontifex.

Starting Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the pope will send messages in eight languages, including Arabic, from eight different Twitter accounts. @Pontifex is the English feed while the other language accounts use an extension of the main handle. For example, the Spanish feed is @Pontifex_es.

The handle "Pontifex" was chosen because it means "pope and bridge builder," said Greg Burke, media adviser for the Vatican's Secretariat of State. The name suggests "reaching out" and bringing unity not just of Catholics "but all men and women of good will," he said.

Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the communications council, said the pontifex name also "refers to the office more than the person," that is, it highlights the leader of the church and the Catholic faithful.

A more practical consideration was that numerous permutations of the name Pope Benedict were already taken by other people not affiliated with the pope, whereas the handle "Pontifex" was available.

Using a handle that wasn't already taken meant the Vatican didn't have to "go around and get people to vacate the space," the monsignor said.

The pope's first tweets from the new accounts will be responses to four or five questions about the Catholic faith sent to the pope on Twitter via the hashtag #askpontifex, he said.

The very first question came in during the news conference announcing the initiative. It was in Spanish and asked: "What is the core of the message of the Gospel and how can we help to share it?" he said.

While it's expected people will send questions that are off-topic — like one asking who will win an upcoming sports match — only questions dealing with the Catholic faith will get serious consideration, said Burke.

The pope will personally send the inaugural tweets around noon Dec. 12 at the end of his general audience.

The Q&A exchange will be offered just that one time, and the rest of the papal news feeds will be excerpts from his general audience talks, Angelus addresses or other important speeches, Burke said.

Each tweet will be crafted by a Vatican official and the pope will review and approve each one before it is sent from the Vatican Secretariat of State's offices, he said.

The papal tweets will be posted with some regularity but won't be too frequent given the time constraints of the pope and that each tweet needs his approval, Msgr. Tighe said.

Even though he won't be physically sending the tweets, the messages "are pearls of wisdom coming from the heart of the pope's teaching and coming from his own mind and ideas," he said.

When asked whether the tweets will carry the weight of papal infallibility, Archbishop Celli said the tweets "aren't positions taken on dogma," however, they will be excerpts from his teachings and are a part of the papal magisterium.

To avoid making people feel left out or underappreciated for not being followed by the pope, the pope's accounts won't follow anyone else on Twitter, except the other @Pontifex language accounts, Burke said.

The pope's presence isn't to amass a fan club, but to encourage all the other Catholics who are present and active online, Msgr. Tighe said. Even though the pope won't be using the site to retweet, follow others or comment, his presence is meant to "encourage them to engage in debate and discussion" with their fans and followers.

The Vatican isn't afraid of the likelihood of insults or criticism being aimed at the pope on Twitter, both Burke and Msgr. Tighe said.

"It's a free market of ideas and that's good," said Burke.

The monsignor added it would be worse to have kept the pope out of the Twittersphere out of fear of engagement and then to leave that space "vacant."

Claire Diaz-Ortiz, manager of social innovation for Twitter, told Catholic News Service that before the account was made public, @Pontifex had 11 followers. Within an hour of its unveiling, it had more than 14,000 followers, she said, which was "a pretty great feat" considering the figure snowballed from the Tweets of the pontifical council, Vatican Radio and fewer than 100 reporters at the Vatican news conference.

Diaz-Ortiz said she works with "high profile" religious leaders and started helping the Vatican in the spring of 2012 expand its presence by opening a papal account.

"The thing we see with religion and what makes it so interesting," she said, "is that their engagement levels are really through the roof."

She said if you were to compare the number of followers an "average pastor" has to the number "an L.A. film star has, you see that engagement per number of followers is so much higher for a religious leader."

"What that tells us is that this is the kind of material that people on Twitter want to connect with and want to hear about more," she said.

She said Christian leaders have repeatedly pointed out "how many Bible verses are really less than 140 characters" to begin with, and the "positive messages of spirituality" in the Gospels already make a nice fit for the Twitter format.





Advanced Search











Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved