Pope's Twitter Account @Pontifex Gets Reprieve - For Now
It would appear that even though Pope Benedict XVI continues plans to vacate his post by the end of his month, his Twitter account will stick around, just in case.
I reported previously that according to Vatican Radio, @Pontifex, the official Papal Twitter account, will go by the social networking wayside, retired along with its creator.
After much media speculation and commentary comparing the move to a public relation's roll-back to the Middle Ages, Vatican Radio sent out a clarifying missive on the matter:
"In response to numerous queries as to whether the Holy Father's twitter account will be permanently shut down following his resignation, Msgr. Paul Tighe, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications issued the following statement:"
"The Twitter account @pontifex was created for the exclusive use of the Pope."
"@pontifex will be inactive during the interim period between the renouncement of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of his successor (sede vacante)."
"@pontifex will be available for use by the next Pope as he may wish."
So, whether based on social media blowback or in recognition of a misunderstanding, the Papal account, along with its over 1.5 million followers, will remain in communication, as long as Pope Benedict XIV's successor feels it's continued use is necessary.
Yesterday, the Pope, in one of his last social networking acts, sent what may be his final tweet on the Twitter account, which he created late last year:
In these momentous days, I ask you to pray for me and for the Church, trusting as always in divine Providence.— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) February 24, 2013