It wasn’t long ago that Benedict XVI became the very first pope to bless us all via Twitter. But as His Holiness is set to resign at the end of this month, apparently his Twitter account will stop too.
His last tweet as pope from his @Pontifex account (English version) will be sent out on Feb. 28, according to ANSA in Rome. As with Benedict’s previous tweets, his final message will be be sent out in 8 different languages via separate accounts.
Benedict, the first pope in six centuries to resign, will also be known as the first social media pope and possibly the most accepting of new technology to date. During his eight years of leadership, the Catholic Church has certainly increased its Internet presence and even sanctioned an iPhone app for confession (though they’d still like you to come to church on Sunday mornings).
Whether or not the next pope decides to follow Benedict in the new papal tradition of reaching out via tweet remains to be seen. Though the @Pontifex handle doesn’t include Benedict’s name, it is currently considered to be his account, ANSA reports. If his successor decides to be active on Twitter, the Vatican may choose to create a new account or continue to use Benedict’s.
When they gather next month in Rome to choose the new pope, those cardinals who use social media will also silence their accounts until the selection process is over. It has been customary for the papal conclave to remain silent, sequestered from the public until a new pope is announced.
Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.
— Benedict XVI (@Pontifex) December 12, 2012