Pope Benedict XVI has just stepped down from the highest seat of power in the Catholic world. Concurrently, he also vacated his holy seat on cyber space. The Pope’s Twitter account, “@Pontifex”, displayed the last message that His Holiness sent out to more than 1.6 Catholic devotees worldwide who follow him on Twitter.
“Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.”
Shortly thereafter, all of Pope Benedict’s tweets were deleted. However, the Twitter account was not purged. Instead of using Pope Benedict’s name, the Twitter account now uses “Sede Vacante” which translates to “the seat is vacant”. In spite of this, the deleted tweets are actually stored in the Vatican archives. Check it out at this website.
Now that the Papal seat is vacant, the future of the Pope’s Twitter account is unclear. After the Conclave, the newly elected Pope will be the one to decide if he wants to continue Pope Benedict’s legacy or if he wants to abandon the world of Twitter. It is also unclear if the other social networking accounts associated with the Papal seat will be affected by the Pope’s resignation.
In 2009, the Vatican launched its Youtube channel. The page offers clips of Pope Benedict’s addresses and news about the pontiff. The Holy See had also asked priests to spread the faith through social media, blogs, and websites. Talk about leading through example.
In this era, where faith is arguably lost on the modern generation, forays into technology and social media provide religion an avenue to more people who would otherwise not be interested on faith. Whatever happens after the Conclave, Pope Benedict XVI will be remembered as the Pope who laid the foundations of the Catholic Church on cyber space.