Vatican unveils Pope's Twitter handle: @pontifex

Mon Dec 3, 2012 9:05am EST
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The secret's out. Pope Benedict's new handle on Twitter will be @pontifex, beating out other contenders that had been considered to showcase the thoughts of one of the world's most visible leaders.

Benedict already has 1.2 billion "followers" in the standard sense of the word but next week he will have another type when he enters what for any 85-year old is the brave new world of Twitter.

The Vatican said on Monday that the pope will start tweeting on December 12.

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

Among the other handles that Vatican officials had reportedly considered was @BenedictusPPXVI, but they opted for something that was linked to the office of the papacy.

But don't expect tweets about how the pope is feeling or which soccer team he is praying to win a derby.

The papal tweets will be spiritual, Burke told a news conference, and the pope will tweet when and how often he wants.

And, even though Benedict is not the kind of person who walks around with a Blackberry or iPad, Burke said "all the pope's tweets are the pope's words. Nobody is going to be putting words into his mouth."   Continued...

Pope Benedict XVI arrives to lead a Vespers mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican December 1, 2012. REUTERS/Max Rossi