Tweets from Benedict XVI's personal account won't always be written by the pope himself, but will always be approved by him
It does not have quite the same ring as a papal bull, but Catholics looking to stay in touch with the Holy Father are about to get acquainted with the papal tweet.
Fourteen centuries after popes started using papal bull missives to communicate with the flock, Benedict XVI is due to open a Twitter account, a Vatican official has announced.
"The tweet can be reformulated, redistributed, relaunched and disseminated," said Father Claudio Maria Celli, the head of the Vatican's pontifical council for social communications, as he announced the initiative.
"In this sense it is like the gospel, a small mustard seed that once scattered grows into bushes where birds can rest."
No date for the first tweet has been set and an account name has not been confirmed, although Italy's Corriere della Sera was betting on @BenedictusPPXVI.
It appears unlikely Benedict, 85, will be tweeting photos of himself snapped on an iPhone or telling the world what he is having for dinner. Celli said tweets would probably include links to his speeches.
An internet enthusiast, the pope has overseen the launch of the Vatican's YouTube channel and the Pope2you website, which is aimed at young people and has a link to a Facebook page and an iPhone application.
During Lent, the site's Twitter feed will tweet 40 phrases from the pope's message for Lent – one a day.
The pope sent his first ever tweet last year from Vatican Radio's twitter feed to announce the launch of the Vatican news site, described by the Vatican as a one-stop shop for content from the Holy See's radio station, press room and newspaper.
Tweets from Benedict's new personal account may not always be written by the pope himself, but will always be approved by him, said a Vatican source.
I remember him dishing out about the "evils of technology", and how we shouldn't use it much (or something like that) to the point that it replaces God. Now, he's reaching out using Twitter? Hypocrite much?