At 5:30 am Eastern Time, Pope Benedict XVI reached out to the world of digital seekers via his personal twitter profile - @pontiflex.
He began with a blessing: "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."
He launched his first tweet from a new personal account at the end of his weekly general audience. The text of the Tweet, in Italian, flashed on the jumbo screens in the modernist Pope Paul VI Hall where the audience was held.
His Holiness was pictured tweeting his first personal words to followers today on an iPad tablet from inside the Vatican.
Unexpectedly, the Pope quickly followed up his first foray onto Twitter with four further tweets, first asking the question: “How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?” in reference to the Church’s recent initiative intended to prompt a return to religion.
He then went on to respond to the question, saying: "By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need."
His next question reads: “How can faith in Jesus be lived in a world without hope?”
Followed swiftly by 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 Vatican has stated previously that the Pope will not be following any other users, and so far this remains the case, @pontifex only following the other language accounts of His Holiness.