Pope with iPad.jpgThe Pope will tweet. Is this a mortal sin or a gospel value?

In today’s L’Osservatore Romano edition Mario Ponzi
writes of Pope Benedict’s latest venture into tweeting. The Pope is not going to give up his love of books, old fashion research and handwriting his talks, but he’s diving into more deeply in the digital world. He’ll have to keep his message
to 140 characters. Can he do it? I am sure the clarity of the Pope can be
limited to a mere 140 characters. It’s ancient history now in cyberworld but it
was June 2011 that the Holy Father touched his own iPad launching the Vatican’s
News.va portal; tweeting in five languages
is a polymath way of  communicating
at the Vatican.

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, 71, president of the Pontifical
Council for Social Communications
 since 2007, last week delivered his keynote address at
the 100th anniversary of Our Sunday Visitor. Celli has been hardworking in
moving the Holy See into the 21st century with an acceptance of social media and its benefits for communicating the gospel effectively today.

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Several offices of the Holy See have Twitter feeds showing that they are now taking the digital culture more seriously. Either the Holy See embraces social media or it will be a non-player in contemporary society. The New Evangelization is definitively relying on a well-thought out plan for the prudent use of social media to preach the Good News. Recall the theme of the Pope’s message for the World Communications Day: “Social Networks: portals of truth and faith; new spaces for evangelization.” Key, however, is that the message of the Holy See has to be personal, not institutional. Remember, “the Vatican” doesn’t say anything to the public, a person does; behind every message is Father X or Cardinal Y, or Monsignor Z; all of whom have real faces and personalities. An institution may have a culture but culture is cultivated by living human beings.

Mario Ponzi writes: 

image of twitter.jpg

It is clear that there are some people on the net who are in turmoil. Despite the fact that it has not been officially presented, the news of the Benedict XVI’s next tweet is circling the globe. The “140 character” social network Twitter is about once again to welcome the Pope. The first time the Pope tweeted was in June 2011 when he launched the Vatican portal www.news.va. 

Now we must wait a week or two before the Holy Father will take up tweeting again. “The initiative”, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said, “comes from the Pope’s desire to utilize all opportunities for communication which technology offers and are characteristic in the world today”. The Archbishop explained further: “Just yesterday at the General Audience, the Pope once again demonstrated his desire to be able to speak of God to all people through every possible means. He recalled the fundamental importance of communication for the transmission of the faith. He spoke about God’s method to communicate, the method of humility by which God did not hesitate to make himself one of us. He spoke about Jesus, communicator who addressed the people of his time, using their own language”. 

Then Archbishop Celli made a meaningful clarification: “The Pope, entering the world of digital communications, is acting in an original way in the history of the Church. In a certain sense he explained this yesterday speaking to the faithful in the Paul VI Audience Hall when, referring to the Letter to the Corinthians, he quoted the Apostle Paul: ‘…when I came to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom…’.  It is precisely in this that the meaning of the Pope’s presence on Twitter – that world of microblogging, of modern, quick, immediate communication, unforgiving in its allowance of 140 characters with which you must say everything –  is rooted”.