We now have a Pope that tweets. It’s big news. Now there seems to be close to a million people following Pope Benedict’s Twitter account @pontifex in a variety of languages.
Below the fold in today’s USA Today Cathy Lynn Grossman wrote a story, “Papal faithful a-Twitter” looks at the phenomenon of papal twittering. Now we have papal cars, papal vestments, papal candidates, papal infallibility and now papal tweets. Among some incident things Ms. Grossman profiles Rachel Amiri who asked the Pope a really great question:
“Holy Father, what is the best way to show others that God is Love in a world that thinks Christians only hate?”
Ms. Amiri hit the nail on the head. I hope her question gets chosen to be answered but if it doesn’t we now have the benefit of asking ourselves how we would answer Amiri?
Following the Pope’s lead I reactivated my Twitter account @paulzalonski because I thought he’s right to engage in social media because it is consistent with the missionary impulse of Jesus and it’s plain good sense to respond to those who are genuinely seeking God (cf. Saint Benedict & Saint John Bosco). We need to have their questions responded to. Want to effect change, want to inspire faith, want to show the beauty of the faith of the Church –you and me– need to be present in the lives of people.
The personal is the only way to evangelize but it’s a little difficult with 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. To close the gap Twitter is one among many ways to attempt to be personal. Nothing replaces the personal presence of another; nothing is better that hearing another’s voice and feeling their hand extended in friendship. That’s the Divine lead we follow in the Incarnation: God so loved us that He sent His only Son. Let’s face it, we all want to know that those who lead us are actually listening to and caring for us. Sadly, many of the bishops and priests aren’t listening to faithful. Perhaps tweeting will yet again make the personal nature of the Incarnation known and love and followed. Perhaps the papal tweeting will help all of us see the face of Christ.
Will you follow the Pope, me?