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Following Benedict’s footsteps, Pope Francis joins Twitter

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Pope Francis Tweets
Screen capture of the @Pontifex Twitter account English homepage.

By John Stegeman The Catholic Telegraph

Pope Benedict XVI made history by becoming the first pope to send a tweet, and again by becoming the first pope to officially join Twitter. Pope Francis, already fast becoming known as a pope of the people, has now followed in those footsteps.

The Vatican had reported that the @Pontifex handle used by Pope Benedict XVI would be available for the new pope if he chose to use it, and it Sunday morning Pope Francis did just that, sending his first tweet.

“Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and I ask you to continue to pray for me. Pope Francis,” the pope tweeted.

It was not immediately clear whether Pope Francis himself sent the tweet or, if like Pope Benedict XVI before him, he composed the message and allowed an aide to type it. Various media reports claim that Pope Francis is not known to be technologically savvy.

The @Pontifex handle was first used by Pope Benedict XVI. He sent 39 tweets that are now archived at the Vatican’s website. Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus, sent his final tweet on Feb. 28.

“Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives,” he wrote.

The author of the 40th tweet was unknown. As soon as Benedict XVI stepped down, his name was removed from the account and the name listed was sede vacante. When a new pope was elected, someone tweeted, “Habemus papam.”

Pope Francis, as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, did have a Facebook page, but he did not manage it himself.

Follow Pope Francis on Twitter here. Follow The Catholic Telegraph on Twitter here

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