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What will happen to Benedict's Twitter?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 25th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Holy Father will close his Twitter account by the end of this week, which may sadden many of his two million followers on the social network. Vatican radio has made the announcement saying his presence as @Pontifex will come to an end on Feb. 28.

ROME, ITALY (Catholic Online) - The Holy Father's Twitter account has been active for more than two months as part of a new strategy to meet the youth where they are at, which is online. However, the account will be closed at the same time his resignation takes effect, at 8 p.m. local time.

It is unknown if his successor will also use Twitter to connect with the faithful, however the handle @ Pontifex was not a personal one, but one that represents the office rather than an individual. Pontifex means "bridge builder" in Latin and has been a common nickname for popes since ancient times. The Romans employed the title as a political position, even before the time of Christ.

The Holy Father tweeted on February 10, just before announcing his resignation, "We must trust in the mighty power of God's mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new." It is uncertain if this was the product of personal reflection, or if it was a message calling us to prepare for the Lenten season.

Benedict will probably make his last Tweet on February 27, according to Vatican Radio. However, the account will remain open and it is possible the Holy Father will make an additional last tweet on Feb. 28.

Following his resignation, the Twitter account will not be used, and indeed, no official announcements will be forthcoming until a new Holy Father is chosen by the Cardinals of the Church in communion with God.

The papal conclave is tentatively scheduled to begin around March 15, and may begin sooner, if practicable.

The new pope will have the option of whether or not to use a Twitter to communicate with the faithful.

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