Pope Francis reached a milestone of sorts yesterday:
“Dear Followers I understand there are now over 10 million of you!” the pontiff wrote on his nine accounts, which publish simultaneously in languages including Latin, Polish and Arabic. “I thank you with all my heart and ask you to continue praying for me.”
The first non-European pope in 1,300 years has tripled the number of followers of the @pontifex handles since succeeding Benedict XVI in March, according to the Vatican, which announced Francis had reached 10 million after adding together the followers of all his accounts. This would make the pontiff more popular than the New York Times and just behind rapper Kanye West, according to websites. Continue reading
According to Rachel Wagner (“Sacred Texting: When Religious Writ Gets Wired” Religion Dispatches Oct. 23, 2008), Pope John Paul II was the first pontiff to use SMS (“short message service”) technology, sending out a “papal thought of the day” to Italian mobile phone users.
Upon his death in April 2005, Pope Benedict XVI followed suite — encouraging mourners with the admonition: “Let us go forth in the joy of the risen Lord and trusting in his permanent help”, and embracing “texting” during World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia.
Since that time, the Vatican has embraced the world of social-networking for the purposes of evangelization: Continue reading
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