12/03/2012, 00.00
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From December 12, Pope to tweet answers to questions of faith

The first tweet on December 12, at the Wednesday general audience, but later they may become more frequent. Questions may be submitted until December 12 to # askpontifex in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic and French. The official account of Benedict XVI: @ pontifex.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI will launch his first tweet on December 12, at the Wednesday general audience, but later on may be a more frequent user of twitter in answering questions on issues related to the life of faith. Questions may be submitted until December 12 to # askpontifex in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic and French. The official account of Benedict XVI: @ pontifex.

This is the basic information of the new initiative taken by Benedict XVI, "a concrete expression of his belief that the Church must be present in the digital world", as he himself has stated several times even in the messages for the World Day of Social Communications. The "holy tweets", as they were immediately called, were presented this morning in the Vatican during a crowded press conference.

"The Pope's presence on Twitter - a statement published for the occasion reads - can be seen as the 'tip of the iceberg' that is the Church's presence in the world of new media. The Church is already richly present in this environment - there exist a whole range of initiatives from the official websites of various institutions and communities to the personal sites, blogs and micro-blogs of public church figures and of individual believers. The Pope's presence in Twitter is ultimately an endorsement of the efforts of these 'early adapters' to ensure that the Good News of Jesus Christ and the teaching of his Church is permeating the forum of exchange and dialogue that is being created by social media. His presence is intended to be an encouragement to all Church institutions and people of faith to be attentive to develop an appropriate profile for themselves and their convictions in the 'digital continent'. The Pope's tweets will be available to believers and non-believers to share, discuss and to encourage dialogue. It is hoped that the Pope's short messages, and the fuller messages that they seek to encapsulate, will give rise to questions for people from different countries, languages and cultures. These questions can in turn be engaged by local Church leaders and believers who will be best positioned to address the questions and, more importantly, to be close to those who question. Amid the complexity and diversity of the world of communications, however, many people find themselves confronted with the ultimate questions of human existence: Who am I? What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope? It is important to affirm those who ask these questions, and to open up the possibility of a profound dialogue (Communications Day Message, 2012)."

Part of the challenge for the Church in the area of new media is to establish a networked or capillary presence that can effectively engage the debates, discussions and dialogues that are facilitated by social media and that invite direct, personal and timely responses of a type that are not so easily achieved by centralized institutions. Moreover, such a networked or capillary structure reflects the truth of the Church as a community of communities which is alive both universally and locally. The Pope's presence in Twitter will represent his voice as a voice of unity and leadership for the Church but it will also be a powerful invitation to all believers to express their 'voices', to engage their 'followers' and 'friends' and to share with them the hope of the Gospel that speaks of God's unconditional love for all men and women".

In addition to the direct engagement with the questions, debates and discussions of people that is facilitated by new media, the Church recognizes the importance of new media as an environment that allows to teach the truth that the Lord has passed to His Church, to listen to others, to learn about their cares and concerns, to understand who they are and for what they are searching. When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary. Deeper reflection helps us to discover the links between events that at first sight seem unconnected, to make evaluations, to analyze messages; this makes it possible to share thoughtful and relevant opinions, giving rise to an authentic body of shared knowledge (Message, 2012). It is for this reason that it has been decided to launch the Pope's Twitter channel with a formal question and answer format. This launch is also an indication of the importance that the Church gives to listening and is a warranty of its ongoing attentiveness to the conversations, commentaries and trends that express so spontaneously and insistently the preoccupations and hopes of people".

It was finally pointed out that the Pope will not "follow" anyone, and this is because "of course there would be excellent candidates, for example, the eminent cardinals, but then you ask why not the archbishops and so on. So for now it's better that he follows no one. "

- The tweets will be published in English and the following languages:

Spanish

@pontifex_es

Italian

@pontifex_it

Portughese

@pontifex_pt

German

@pontifex_de

Polish

@pontifex_pl

Arabic

@pontifex_ar

French

@pontifex_fr


- Other languages ​​may be added later.

For more information, see http://blog.twitter.com/

 

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