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Pope opens a personal Twitter account
December 2nd, 2012
02:11 PM ET

Pope opens a personal Twitter account

By Eric Marrapodi and Ben Wedeman, CNN

(CNN) - The Vatican revealed the new personal Twitter account for Pope Benedict XVI, @Pontifex, on Monday, meaning the leader of the global Catholic Church will officially join millions of people around the globe on the social media site.

The pope will answer a question about faith in his first tweet, slated for Wednesday, December 12, Vatican officials said. They said that anyone could send in a question via the hashtag #askpontifex or #B16. The Vatican said the initial tweets from the pope will come on Wednesdays in conjunction with his general audiences in Rome, but that the 140-character missals may become more frequent.

The formal announcement came in a press conference Monday morning at the Vatican with Catholic and Twitter officials.

"The Pope's presence on Twitter is a concrete expression of his conviction that the Church must be present in the digital arena,” the church said in a written statement to reporters. The pope’s account on Twitter, the statement said, “can be seen as the 'tip of the iceberg' that is the Church's presence in the world of new media.”

A Vatican official told CNN the pope will be composing the tweets for the new account himself. For the first tweet from the account, the pope will also press the button to send the tweet himself, but after that others will send the tweets on his behalf.

In June 2011 the pope sent his first tweet from the Twitter account for the Vatican news site, @news_va_en, to launch the new site http://www.news.va. He wrote, “Dear friends, I just launched News.va. Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI.”

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That signature had led some to guess that @BenedictusPPXVI would be the account name for the 85-year-old pope's personal account, although @Pope would have been fitting as well. (Benedictus PP XVI is the pontiff's signature in Latin, with the "PP" standing for papa, the Latin word for pope.)

With @Pontifex, which means "bridge builder" in Latin, the pope chose a handle with another name for the office he holds.

The details on the long-expected event were revealed at the press conference featuring Vatican officials, including spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi and Greg Burke, media adviser to the Secretariat of State, who were joined by Claire Díaz-Ortiz, who heads social innovation at Twitter. Burke is a relatively new addition to the Vatican staff, having been recruited away from the Fox News Channel, where he was Rome correspondent. Díaz-Ortiz has been influential in getting religious leaders to join the social networking site.

Other religious leaders have found great success with Twitter. The 140-character limit for tweets allows for short messages, perfect for small verses of scripture or inspiration.

The Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama), Rick Warren (@RickWarren), Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen), and scores of other religious leaders utilize the site to spread their messages.

A Twitter spokeswoman said that religious leaders “punch above their weight” on the social networking site.

“An average religious leader has a rate of about 1 RT for every 500 followers, while a musician on Twitter would get one RT for every 30,000 followers,” said spokeswoman Rachael Horwitz, referring to retweets.

“We see a very high level of engagement with religious and spiritual content: followers respond to these topics with replies, retweets, and clicks on links much more often than they do other subjects,” she added.

While Benedict is the first Catholic pope to take to Twitter, he isn’t the first twitterized pope. That honor goes to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, the 118th pope of the Coptic Church of Egypt. But Pope Tawadros has around 6,300 Twitter followers; Benedict has tens of thousands on his first day out.

John Paul II, who preceded Benedict, was the first pontiff to use the Internet, and the 20th century saw a string of other milestones for popes using technology to reach the masses. Pope Pius XI made the first papal radio broadcast in 1931. His successor, Pope Piux XII made the first papal television appearance in 1946.

CNN's Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the big stories

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said, "The initiative comes from the Pope's desire to utilize all opportunities for communication which technology offers and are characteristic in the world today," according to the semi-official newspaper of the Vatican, L'Osservatore Romano.

The paper reported that Celli went on to say the pope has stressed how God communicated with mankind through Jesus, who was a "communicator who addressed the people of his time, using their own language."

One outstanding question remains: What language will the pope use to tweet? When the Vatican sends out important documents, it often uses multiple languages to communicate with the billion-plus members of the Catholic Church. In addition to the English version, the Vatican news twitter feed also has Spanish, French and Italian versions. The appearance of eight pontifical accounts seems to suggest he will be tweeting in all eight languages.

The pope’s foray onto Twitter provoked us to ask “What would Jesus have tweeted?” by tweet. A few responses:

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (665 Responses)
  1. Peter

    Mohammad A Dar

    Vatican secular s, science they opposed, or accepted with reluctance, until now, for them Sun revolved around Earth, desperate attempt by Grandfather, goon, to save his falling kingdom of GOD, his first tweet should be #Superiority of Godless Science over Religion, I accept it.
    --–
    This is just a straight out lie sir, the Catholic Church has NEVER been opposed to science EVER, do you know how many Catholic priests were scientists, Gregor Mendel, Albert Mangus, Roger Beacon,Georges Lemaître are just a few of the more famous priests that were scientists? I bet you also didn’t know that the Catholic Church created the University system not the ancient Romans or Greeks. Galileo didn't get in trouble for his science, he got in trouble for his theology, his science was nothing new, let’s be serious, Copernicus a Polish priest had already developed the theory. Read Cardinal Robert Bellermine’s handling of the Galileo case it was never about the science it was about the theology. Let’s not let the 1980s New York Times be your only history book. And not for anything people still say the sun rises and sets.

    Here is just the A and B List of Catholic Priests who were scientists

    José de Acosta (1539–1600) – Jesuit missionary and naturalist who wrote one of the very first detailed and realistic descriptions of the new world
    François d'Aguilon (1567–1617) – Belgian Jesuit mathematician, physicist, and architect.
    Albert of Saxony (philosopher) (c. 1320–1390) – German bishop known for his contributions to logic and physics; with Buridan he helped develop the theory that was a precursor to the modern theory of inertia[6]
    Albertus Magnus (c. 1206–1280) – Dominican friar and Bishop of Regensberg who has been described as "one of the most famous precursors of modern science in the High Middle Ages."[7] Patron saint of natural sciences; Works in physics, logic, metaphysics, biology, and psychology.
    Giulio Alenio (1582-1649) – Jesuit theologian, astronomer and mathematician. He was sent to the Far East as a missionary and adopted a Chinese name and customs. He wrote 25 books including a cosmography and a Life of Jesus in Chinese.
    José María Algué (1856–1930) – Priest and meteorologist who invented the barocyclonometer
    José Antonio de Alzate y Ramírez (1737–1799) – Priest, scientist, historian, cartographer, and meteorologist who wrote more than thirty treatises on a variety of scientific subjects
    Francesco Castracane degli Antelminelli (1817–1899) – Priest and botanist who was one of the first to introduce microphotography into the study of biology
    Giovanni Antonelli (1818–1872) – Priest and director of the Ximenian Observatory of Florence who also collaborated on the design of a prototype of the internal combustion engine
    Nicolò Arrighetti (1709–1767) – Jesuit who wrote treatises on light, heat, and electricity.
    Giuseppe Asclepi (1706–1776) – Jesuit astronomer and physician who served as director of the Collegio Romano observatory; The lunar crater Asclepi is named after him.

    B
    Roger Bacon (c. 1214–1294) – Franciscan friar who made significant contributions to mathematics and optics and has been described as a forerunner of modern scientific method.
    Bernardino Baldi (1533–1617) – Abbot, mathematician, and writer
    Eugenio Barsanti (1821–1864) – Piarist who is the possible inventor of the internal combustion engine
    Bartholomeus Amicus (1562–1649) – Jesuit wrote on philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and the concept of vacuum and its relationship with God.
    Daniello Bartoli (1608–1685) – Bartoli and fellow Jesuit astronomer Niccolò Zucchi are credited as probably having been the first to see the equatorial belts on the planet Jupiter
    Joseph Bayma (1816–1892) – Jesuit known for work in stereochemistry and mathematics
    Giacopo Belgrado (1704–1789) – Jesuit professor of mathematics and physics and court mathematician who did experimental work in physics
    Mario Bettinus (1582–1657) – Jesuit philosopher, mathematician and astronomer; lunar crater Bettinus named after him
    Giuseppe Biancani (1566–1624) – Jesuit astronomer, mathematician, and selenographer, after whom the crater Blancanus on the Moon is named
    Jacques de Billy (1602–1679) – Jesuit who has produced a number of results in number theory which have been named after him; published several astronomical tables; The crater Billy on the Moon is named after him.
    Paolo Boccone (1633–1704) – Cistercian botanist who contributed to the fields of medicine and toxicology
    Bernard Bolzano (1781–1848) – Priest, mathematician, and logician whose other interests included metaphysics, ideas, sensation, and truth.
    Anselmus de Boodt (1550–1632) – Canon who was one of the founders of mineralogy
    Theodoric Borgognoni (1205–1298) – Domincan friar, Bishop of Cervia, and medieval Surgeon who made important contributions to antiseptic practice and anaesthetics
    Christopher Borrus (1583–1632) – Jesuit mathematician and astronomy who made observations on the magnetic variation of the compass
    Roger Joseph Boscovich (1711–1787) – Jesuit polymath known for his contributions to modern atomic theory and astronomy
    Joachim Bouvet (1656–1730) – Jesuit sinologist and cartographer who did his work in China
    Michał Boym (c. 1612–1659) – Jesuit who was one of the first westerners to travel within the Chinese mainland, and the author of numerous works on Asian fauna, flora and geography.
    Thomas Bradwardine (c. 1290–1349) – Archbishop of Canturbury and mathematician who helped develop the mean speed theorem; one of the Oxford Calculators
    Henri Breuil (1877–1961) – Priest, archaeologist, anthropologist, ethnologist and geologist.
    Jan Brożek (1585–1652) – Polish canon, polymath, mathematician, astronomer, and physician; the most prominent Polish mathematician of the 17th century
    Louis-Ovide Brunet (1826–1876) – Priest who was one of the founding fathers of Canadian botany
    Francesco Faà di Bruno (c. 1825–1888) – Priest and mathematician beatified by Pope John Paul II
    Ismaël Bullialdus (1605–1694) – Priest, astronomer, and member of the Royal Society; the Bullialdus crater is named in his honor
    Jean Buridan (c. 1300 – after 1358) – Priest who formulated early ideas of momentum and inertial motion and sowed the seeds of the Copernican revolution in Europe
    Roberto Busa (1913-2011) – Jesuit wrote a lemmatization of the complete works of St. Thomas Aquinas (Index Thomisticus) which was later digitalized by IBM.

    December 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • TheXian

      Why did the Galileo affair need an apology?

      December 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      pretty impressive list of scientists, astrologers, mathematicians, but they all failed to validate Galileo's claim, do you know why?

      December 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  2. Peter

    I was kind of hoping his twitter name was going to be Peter'sSuccessor264

    December 4, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  3. Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

    (1) Hallucinations – the person has invisible friends who (s)he insists are real, and to whom (s)he speaks daily, even though nobody can actually see or hear
    these friends.

    (2) Delusions – the patient believes that the invisible friends have magical powers to make them rich, cure cancer, bring about world peace, and will do so eventually if asked.

    (3) Denial/Inability to learn – though the requests for world peace remain unanswered, even after hundreds of years, the patients persist with the praying behaviour, each time expecting different results.

    (4) Inability to distinguish fantasy from reality – the beliefs are contingent upon ancient mythology being accepted as historical fact.

    (5) Paranoia – the belief that anyone who does not share their supernatural concept of reality is "evil," "the devil," "an agent of Satan".

    December 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • TheXian

      Why do you demand that reality be only material? (actual question, not trying to be a jerk)

      December 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  4. Flesh Wound

    I have a hat just like that, but have thought for years that it was just a toilet paper cover on the back of the toilet bowl.

    December 4, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  5. yadin fleschhut

    Doesn't this pope realized that he's exposing himself to taunts, profanities, etc. by going on twitter? Comments on this article is more than enough to prove it. The saintly Pope John Paul II reached out to the faithful through the use of internet and still very much loved to this day long after his passing. Where serving his "flock" is concerned, this pope has still a long way to go.

    December 4, 2012 at 4:53 am |
    • Peter

      What do you think happens when the Pope goes into communist countries or countries that have dicatorships? In the 80s Pope Benedict XVI accompanied Pope John Paul II to a Latin American country which country it was escapes me at the moment but the government sent in the police to disrupt everything in the middle of the mass and to intimidate everyone, Pope John Paul II didn’t waiver once he just spoke a little louder so everyone could hear but maintained the same demeanor. When they got back to Italy, the media wanted to know about the incident from their perspective and Pope Benedict XVI then Cardinal Ratzinger said, “they weren’t mad at Karol Wojtyla or Joseph Ratzinger they were mad at who we work for, Jesus Christ, this has happened all throughout Church history since Jesus himself was the first to be executed.” If you don’t know Church history every Pope for the first 300 years was martyred you cannot say or do anything to whomever occupies the Chair of Peter, that will surprise, shock or intimidate him, he knows what the steaks are the second he hears the number votes from his peers that have his name on it in the Sistine Chapel.

      December 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • TheXian

      I wish to discuss the Primacy of Peter. Join me?

      First, give me your definition of "church". Its a more complex word in a catholic stand point and I would like it to be clear as we discuss it.

      December 4, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Spade

      Finally, someone who understands how nasty and obnoxious comments are on CNN.com! I swear; most comments on YouTube are nicer. I actually like that the Pope is going on Twitter; people could have made fun of him there even before he became a part of it.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  6. Rev Dr Felix Nwosu

    THANKS PAPACY FOR MAKING YOUR SELF AVAILABLE FOR US TO RECEIVE YOUR DYNAMIC PRAYERS AND LOVE WORD OF OUR HEAVENLY FATHE THANK YOU POPE MAY ALMIGHTY GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU AND MAKE YOU LIVE LONG IN HIS PRESENCES.

    December 4, 2012 at 4:27 am |
  7. Mohammad A Dar

    I saw Pop on Spanish Channel, fumbling on iPad, looked clue less, someone put a gun on his head.

    December 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • obynoreg

      Dar you know that you are one of the few idiots left in this planet earth. Why in the name of God would u say such a thing? Or if u are so jealous that he fumbles on using IPOD, then screw u. Atleast I know that ur grandfather does not know how to use a cell phone. IDIOT

      December 4, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Vatican secular s, science they opposed, or accepted with reluctance, until now, for them Sun revolved around Earth, desperate attempt by Grandfather, goon, to save his falling kingdom of GOD, his first tweet should be #Superiority of Godless Science over Religion, I accept it.

      December 4, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Peter

      Professor JD Crossan and other contemporary NT scholars have rigorously reviewed all the NT passages using the modern techniques of number of attestations, time strata and archeology to determing passage authenticity. A summary of Professor Crossan's studies and conclusions (only 30% of the NT is authentic)
      --
      I always have problems with these modern professors who think they have discovered something new because you can easily read what the Bishops who the Apostles themselves installed in the churches wrote in the first and early second century, almost all of them were personally baptized by one of the Apostles. Ignatius of Antioch, Saint Clement, Athanasius of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria, Irenaeus of Gaul and several early church fathers all have writings and if you read them what they are writing it sounds just like the Catholic Church today especially when it comes to the Eucharist. Why the church canonized the epistles of Saint Paul and Saint Peter in the Bible 400 years later was because the churches in Galatia, Thessalonica, Corinth and Rome thought they were so important that they would routinely copy the letters they wrote so they wouldn’t be lost. Paper and the ability to write were extremely rare in this time period but it was so important to them that they made it happen.

      December 4, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • TheXian

      Be careful about Origen, Pete =)

      The modern approach is to say everything they think impossible is a lie, and therefore they start criticizing everything that is even close with it. Scientific historical method doesn't actually do much except throw doubt on what was recorded. Also, they assume our standards of record keeping is the only standard for the entire world over the entirety of time. So if record keeping took too long or something, there is doubt thrown on the entire situation and everything that touches it. Very accurate for what it teaches, but doesn't say very much.

      December 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  8. البابا من؟

    يمكن البابا الرسالة الآن على القرف تبارك أدلى به للتو. وأنا واثق جدا وهذا هو ما يفعله كل يوم.

    December 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Blasphemy

      OH القرف |

      You can't say that here.

      December 3, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  9. CharlieSeattle

    Correction....

    Pope Benedict XVI, @Pedofile

    December 3, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Guest

      That was a dumb comment

      December 3, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • obynoreg

      I really think that you need some psychological evaluation or better still be put under meds.

      December 4, 2012 at 6:59 am |
  10. Lovetwo

    "what would Jesus have twittered?" I am not Catholic or a "follower" of the Pope. I am a humble Servant of God. If i was to tweet the Pope I would write: Dear Pontifex, you know that I am alive and well in the world today and that I love you All very much as does God love us All as well. I look forward to the future to share with you All The Saving Grace that is "God's Promise". Bishop of Rome, head of The Church of St. Peter it is your duty to God and to man-kind to introduce me to the world. It is Time. This is your duty. As you know God's Promise is an Immaculate Conception (A miraculous Idea/discovery). God led me too it. It will solve climate change there-by Saving the World. It is Truth, the visual model The Theory of Everything/ The Grand Unified Theory. Within the model the Higgs Boson can be seen and it, the model ot The theory of Everything, displays all of the forms of equilibrium and demonstrates "all" of the scientific processes, Theories and principals. It is for the healing of the Nation's. It is the Hope of the Future. Glory be to God. If you do not introduce me Dear Pontifex you will be the sole contributer to hell on Earth for disobeying God as you are well aware the world cannot survive without God's Promise/ The Immaculate Conception. Love Omega.

    December 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • End Religion

      thank goodness, twitter would have cut you off after 140 characters

      December 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      @ Lovetwo: The Immaculate Conception is Mary, conceived without original sin.

      December 4, 2012 at 5:10 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      And if he had two functioning grey cells, he'd retweet to 911 and send for the men in white coats or you.

      December 4, 2012 at 5:31 am |
    • Akira

      I love it when two believers disagree what a belief means.

      December 4, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  11. Queen Barbara

    This will be an opportunity for renewal of the connection between the Royal Spirit of God and people who need the best vision of life for them. Even a peasant/carpenter with God's vision of life can be a King/Queen. Some "born" monarchs may have lost it and promote dead visions of past glory.

    December 3, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • TheXian

      Sounds a lot like Arianism, but has a culty ring to it. What denomination are you?

      December 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  12. lionlylamb

    I do shudder in the unwavering tempest crowds' unrelenting revolting laments of bitter fomentations; for of crowned twice bitten spastic sarcasms does lay the socialized tutors of ill-tempered and radical indemnifications' mentality coverings so wagered for leaving no more the austere generosities of the lividness' racialist trees in randomized multi-faceted cynical generalists who mind not the duty’s deliberation lent challenges.

    Monotheisms of today's timed religious variations do nowadays abound;, for many variations of 'mono-isms' are but fetters, the bonds that do bind up and weigh shackled inward, towards errant subjugations upon the propensities of root cause unworthiness. The godless need the ungodly and vice versa and although goodly does prevail upon and thru all aberrancy placements. Many individuals, (be they religious or not) are plated placards and some are tainted filtrations while others are mere shadowy silhouettes. No one person should be clamoring upon another's backsides but ever gently raised up by the shoulders of another to such heights as deemed dutifully wise, needed and cautiously conditioned. Goodness knows no boundaries yet many do not heed the goodly in others who share unendingly their mindfully deeded austerities.

    The monotheistic self is what the gestations of ungodly and godless unwittingly portend they; themselves to be in their hindsight’s mindset. They are their own gods so to profess and in their cu-mulative efforts they due themselves to conjoin and gather their piecemeal subjugates forsaking all goodly 'proprietaries' relatively based in rationed godly characterizations.

    "I will not give in to God!" are the ungodly and godless standings even though they tend to belittle and make huge vespers their small talking spheres of jubilation's acquittals. A pig knows only how to root and make ruts searching the grounds for needed nourishments. Are we all not but rooting for our emotionally centered source codes for to live out our life and livelihoods, ever nourishing our own foretelling needs?

    December 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • lol??

      Leg of lamb is tasty once in a great while. I call it the Great White While.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Sorry lol?? but my legs are not for nourishment needs! If one needs a favor of going somewhere without really going anywhere, I will be there! Know what I mean?

      December 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • TheXian

      Why people could potentially read that, there is no need for the cluster of vocab.

      Summary:
      You people are being sarcastic and foolish. You think yourselves your own god. You should instead give yourself over to the True God and he will make you great.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  13. Blasphemy

    I find it ironic that the prophesies talk about Satan ruling on earth before the end while all of the churches are vying for control.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Blasphemy

      I am betting on the Catholic Church to be the one to fulfill that prophesy.

      Anyone want to offer odds?

      December 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • TheXian

      I'm actually not sure there is any good argument for saying that Satan rules the world in the end times. I think there is more of an argument to say that he's always ruled the world. You might have an argument saying the world ends when Christianity finally becomes so corrupt no one will ever know of the truth again, but that's even a stretch. Talking about how the world will end is not what the bible does, even in revelation.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • lol??

      After he tempted Jesus, did he say, "OK, Jesus, you win."?

      December 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • ogre

      lol??
      "After he tempted Jesus,..."

      You think that really happened? lol, indeed!

      December 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • TheXian

      Ogre:
      Come on, you gotta be more logical than that. I can just as easily say, "you don't believe that happened? lol indeed!" right back. Come up with a good argument against immaterials and we can discuss.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • ogre

      The Xian,
      "Come up with a good argument against immaterials and we can discuss."

      On the contrary, you (all) are making the claim for 'immaterials' (beings, events, etc). The burden of proof of their existence is upon you.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @ogre

      Shhhhh...your not supposed to use actual logic remember?

      December 3, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • sam

      Well, thank goodness Satan doesn't actually exist. As a being, or an entity, or a force. Pretty sure the human race can quit pointing fingers of blame that way, and maybe look in the mirror.

      December 3, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • TheXian

      Oh, but proving a negative is so much fun! Alright deal, I'll prove immaterials, you refute.

      I'll do an easy one first, and see if your brain clicks immediately. I doubt it will, but its quicker for me; less writing =p

      What is a group? Say there is a soccer team. Are they a part of a team? What is this team? There is a connection between the players. What is this connection? This is a relation. Relation is not physical, but is immaterial. Works with "friend" or "father" or anything that uses cause and effect.

      December 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • End Religion

      a "group" is a manmade idea to establish a container relationship, just as "god" is a manmade idea to scare small children.

      December 3, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • TheXian

      So "groups" have never existed? Sounds odd. In this cases, there is no difference between pigs and dogs. Theyre not in the same "group", but groups dont exist.

      December 3, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • End Religion

      Maybe it's your English, or my understanding, but I'm not following you. A 'group' exists as a concept in our minds. What this has to do with farm animals I am not sure.

      December 3, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • TheXian

      Please understand I don't mean to treat you as a child when I give examples. Some people tell me that I seem to do that with my wording. Really I am probably being unnecessarily simple, but I wish to communicate fully.

      There is a pig. There is another pig. We have two pigs. They are of the same species. This species is a part of reality. This species is a group. This connection between the two individual pigs is undeniable in our language, "We have two pigs". I'm grouping them together. However, the group doesn't exist because I'm grouping them, but they are both pigs; objective reality groups them.

      Another example, and I'll stay on pigs because I think theyre cool: ham and bacon. Is there a connection? Same type of animal. The connection back to a living pig does exist in reality, but not materially.

      December 4, 2012 at 4:08 am |
  14. OhBoy

    What an evil looking man this pope. The Church has been taken over by Satan.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • I wonder

      OhBoy,

      Let's put you in that get up and see how you look!?

      Satan....? Are you 6 years old, or just nuts?

      December 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Peter

      So you are going to accsue people of things based on their looks? I believe man has progressed in this department.

      December 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  15. Blasphemy

    I anticipate a knuckle rapping twitter application in the future.

    December 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  16. John E. McCue

    In the history of Christianity there have been periods of great Christ like compassion and then periods of great meaness. I would like to ask His Holiness if this is the start of a mean period. I see reports of what seems just plain mean by church leaders this past year.

    December 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • TheZenMaster

      "Great meaness." Your adjective use baffles me and amazes me at the same time.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Zen, Crusades and Inquisition come to mind.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  17. Mohammad A Dar

    Tweeter is anticipated to gain new 176.9m accounts, all Catholic.

    December 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • GODDLESS GOD

      Hey Popeye – don't think you are getting this for free just because you know me
      Wo be unto you

      December 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      come out of closet and be yourself, you're a smart person, why hide behind filth, goon?

      December 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  18. scott e huffaker

    Whether we like it or not people communicate now with different mediums. I think that this only signifies that he recognizes such and he wants to communicate as effectively as possible. Also check out the always complimentary app. http://www.on-this-rock.org

    December 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  19. Capricorn

    He is going to Tweet which churches should the children avoid

    December 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  20. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    All the tweets in the world will not put the twit's church back together again. Too many flaws in both history and theology as with all religions.

    For example:

    Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

    earlychristianwritings.com/

    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    December 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • TheXian

      And where did he get the number 30? Why must he be hallucinating? Look, if you want the actual early objections to Christianity, go read Celcus. You'll notice that what you have listed are not the concerns of the early opponents of Christianity.

      December 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Spade

      Whenever I look at any religious content, there are always people like you who say ridiculous things because they only see the world at face value. These people say bullcrap like "The Catholic Church is completely corrupt" or "the Pope just cares about money" or "Moses, Jesus, and all the other prophets were just drunks, smokers and lunatics", and make dumb generalizations like "most Catholic priests are pedophilic" (that is honestly the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Just because maybe a few priests are pedophiles doesn't mean they're suddenly all pedos)

      You don't believe anyone can do anything out of solely good will, and that money or power is always the motive. I understand that the Church isn't perfect, and I'm making generalizations about you, but a taste of your own medicine would be good for you. Just go cry to science and make obnoxious comments there, and nobody will have to bother with shallow, ignorant atheists like you. YOU're the one with a twisted interpretation of reality, not us.

      December 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • sam

      People calling themselves Spade tend to be tools.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Blasphemy

      "Just because maybe a few priests are pedophiles doesn't mean they're suddenly all pedos)"

      It does make them all suspect. Especially when the Church covers up and protects the culprits.

      December 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Reality

      Professor JD Crossan and other contemporary NT scholars have rigorously reviewed all the NT passages using the modern techniques of number of attestations, time strata and archeology to determing passage authenticity. A summary of Professor Crossan's studies and conclusions (only 30% of the NT is authentic) can be found in his book, The Historic Jesus and at http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory. Other studies of Professor Crossan and plus those of other exegetes can also be found at http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html. Professor Gerd Ludemann's studies and conclusions can found in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years. He summarizes the authentic NT passages on pp. 694-695 (significantly less than 30% authentic) and as with many other experts, Professor Ludemann notes the following:

      p. 416,

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "
      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

      December 3, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • TheXian

      So they used new contemporary studies. And through these studies, they estimate how much data is actually true. Can you describe their formula to me?

      Also, a lot of what the Catholic church says is wrong. We get it. Does it mean that the entire idea is false? No, it means we have to figure out what is true, just like usual.

      December 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Reality

      Read the cited references to determine the formulas and reasoning for the conclusions concerning the authenticity of the NT passages.

      Some references used in these studies and conclusions:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
      o
      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      Added references are available for perusal upon request.

      December 4, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Spade (as in the card suit, sam)

      There you go again, seeing things at face value. Look, I understand and accept that only 30% of the NT is really true. Here's the thing: 70% is symbolism, and 30% is the real truth and message! So, to people who can't read between the lines, the bible is only 30% true.

      Example: The Bible says that Jesus and Mary's bodies went up to Heaven. They probably didn't, in real life. However, does it really matter if the bodies went to heaven or not? The important message is this: Christ died, endured three days in Hell, appeared to the disciples to send them on a mission, and went up to Heaven. That's what they say at Mass, and they don't elaborate, because it's not necessary.

      You're also taking Heaven for what people say it is! How are they supposed to know what it's like anyway? What the Vatican said is complete BS. Not even the Pope himself has the slighest idea of what Heaven is like, whether it's a place or state.

      The thing is, the Bible is not meant to be taken completely literally. It's meant to teach! What is really important is what message it gets across to the reader, not the story it depicts.

      And the quote near the end, saying that Catholicism was political and the disciples completely made up the Bible...that's just atheist crap. Nothing has ever hinted or pointed towards that theory, and it really does sound like a complete nonbeliever speaking who has never 'tasted' religion with an open mind. And believe me, I don't deny facts, because I believe that the truth of Jesus and God is still extant, even when you gather up all the scientific data.

      December 4, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Reality

      Summarizing with a prayer. Said prayer should replace the current Creed said at the RCC Mass:

      The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      December 5, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Spade

      What? Okay, now you're just mocking the RCC and proving nothing. Nobody cares about your stupid Atheist's Creed. It doesn't prove anything to me, all it does is iterate the viewpoint of nonbelievers, which I have had ENOUGH of!! Do you understand that the location of Jesus' body does not matter? And the part about the Easter story being completely fabricated...you probably sourced that from some atheist scientist! It'll take more than some biased nutjob's assumptions to convince me that the Ressurection was fake; I'd definitely like to see your references. Your statements are as opinionated as mine. Again, I'll need to see your sources before I really believe that Jesus was a "temple rabble-rouser".

      Plus, if these 'stories' are really as false as you say they are (which is 100% false), then how would it get so popular as you say it got? Over 30% of the world is Christian, and Christianity has existed for, well, 2,012 years. Do you really think that these people (or anybody else religious, which is over 80% of the world) have ALL been fooled for so long? I've never heard of anything else like it; it doesn't seem like human nature for false beliefs to exist in such magnitude.

      December 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.