He’s no Gaga or Bieber, but Pope captivates followers online

He might not be up there with Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber in terms of followers just yet but Pope Benedict has made it to Twitter.

After an interminable lead in, Pope Benedict XVI, or @pontifex as all the kids will now surely call him, finally issued his first tweet yesterday. In fact, the German octogenarian managed five whole tweets on subjects close to his heart like, well, Catholicism and Jesus.

The first official tweet was: “Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.”

That was followed an hour later by questions from the faithful — the first of which seemed to be: “How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?”

We had Il Papa’s answer for this within the hour: “By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need”.

This question and answer theme was also followed in the next two tweets: “How can faith in Jesus be lived in a world without hope?” The answer: “We can be certain that a believer is never alone. God is the solid rock upon which we build our lives and his love is always faithful.”

The pontiff is also racking up quite a list of followers. So far, he has amassed more than 1m, while he is only following seven people, all of which are his own accounts in different languages.

You can do that sort of thing when you are infallible.

However, those who think the Pope is rattling out the tweets himself on his iPad or smartphone might be left disappointed.

Twitter had an employee by the Pope’s side as he sent his first pre-drafted tweet. The Vatican has said someone else may have actually typed it for him.

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