According to Vatican Radio, the idea for the daily tweet came from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications with the hopes of focusing hearts and minds on the challenges contained in Pope Benedict's Lenten message for 2012. Starting on Ash Wednesday, themes from the message will be posted on Twitter each day during Lent, with other papal speeches and documents likely to bet tweeted in a similar way in the future.
But isn't this just another techno-gimmick that "dumbs down" the message of the Church.
Not at all, says Msgr Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, “many of the key Gospel ideas are readily rendered in just 140 characters…..”
He went on to explain that the purpose of the tweets is simply "to share with people the essence of the Pope’s message for Lent." So over the course of the next 40 days, a tweet will be sent each day, in a way so that people can re-tweet and already people we know from our meeting with bloggers last year are already re-tweeting…"
This is only the start of great things to come, such as tweeting the Pope's Angelus addresses and other speeches in a way that will see them communicated to a much broader audience.
"I think a lot of attention is being given to the idea of seeing Twitter as a channel that could allow for a more direct and immediate way of sharing the nucleus of the Pope’s thoughts on various occasions, so I don’t think it’ll be confined to Lent," Msgr. Tighe said. "To those who say it’s dumbing down –no, this is entry level…to provoke people’s interest and to invite them then to follow the message and read the text… this is not the only way the Church speaks but it’s an avenue that is open to us and it’s pithy, succinct and it’s one I think that we’re quite good at…”
The Pope's first tweet, posted on Ash Wednesday, read: "Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works (Heb 10:24) #Lent #Pope2You."
The tweets will be sent in English, Spanish, Italian, French and German via @Pope2YouVatican.
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