Hey there, media savvy generation -- as we enter the Lenten season, Pope Benedict XVI would like your attention, and he and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications think they know just how to get it: with one Papal tweet a day throughout the 40 days of Lent.
After all, as Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications points out, “many of the key Gospel ideas are readily rendered in just 140 characters.”
Anybody can sign up to follow the pope, whose papal message will be tweeted in English, Spanish, Italian, French, German and soon in Portuguese via @Pope2YouVatican, but this effort was conceived to bring the unfaithful back to the fold.
The Vatican is hoping that by putting snippets of the pope’s message up on Twitter, it will be retweeted and retweeted, making its way throughout the Twittersphere and possibly having an impact on someone who has given up on religion or who at any rate has given up on Lent.
“It’s an experiment also for us to see how it goes, to see what level of impact it has," Tighe said in an interview with Vatican Radio’s Phillippa Hitchen. “It’s something dynamic and different.”
Here’s the first tweet of the project: Pope2YouVatican: “Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works” (Heb 10:24) #Lent #Pope2You
Tighe said that the papal tweeting will probably extend beyond Lent. He told Hitchen that the Church sees Twitter as a potentially useful channel to allow for more direct and immediate ways of sharing the essence of the pope’s thoughts on all kinds of important Catholic occasions.