By Olivia DeFrances, Staff Writer

As the world gets more and more centered around the internet and social media, even some of the most ancient institutions have to keep up. In this case, it’s the main man at the Vatican. It was officially announced Monday that the pope is creating a Twitter.

Pope Benedict XVI’s twitter handle is @Pontifex, and he almost immediately received half a million followers. The pope will start tweeting officially on Dec. 12, and many people are eager to hear what he has to tweet about. The first papal tweets will be responses to questions with the hashtag #askpontifex.


The pope’s Twitter / SCREENSHOT VIA @Pontifex’s Twitter page

The pope won’t actually be the one tweeting for the most part, but he will sign off on tweets created by aides. However, the big first tweet on Dec. 12 will come straight from the man himself. It seems as if people are accepting the concept of a tweeting pope as just another way that the world is evolving. Communication is now different, and the pope can reach millions of followers via social media. It’s a fascinating twist, but just consider it today’s version of a public statement.

It will be interesting to see how many people decide to tweet to the pope, and how different types of people will react to what he has to say. Maybe people will now start asking themselves, “WWJT? – What Would Jesus Tweet?” Who knows? All we can do is stay tuned for the pope’s big tweet on Dec. 12.

Below is a Storify highlighting some of the most recent questions, both serious and mocking, the pope has been asked over Twitter.

  1. SacredActivist
    What is one thing the you know that you can reveal to us at this time that may be helpful to our unfolding? Further insight?
  2. edrescherphd
    Dear @pontifex Do you still believe in papal infallibility after thinking #askpontifex was a good idea? |…
  3. AnaGonz64165660
    looking forward to the Holy Father’s tweet on December 12 #askpontifex
  4. ThingSandwich
    Can God give so many Africans AIDS that even He can’t cure them all? Just kidding, I know the AIDS is all you, buddy. #askpontifex
  5. Siochain2
    @Pontifex When did the Church turn into a marketing tool for greedy, grasping Catholic bloggers? #askpontifex
  6. GeneHunt
    I hear the Pope is handing out cakes of liquorice…put me down for a quarter of a pound. #AskPontefract #Askpontifex
  7. popenheimser
    #AskPontifex Do you condemn Harry Potter, because it makes your holy fantasy book competition?
  8. Speramus
    Is it possible for VA rules extraordinary ministers of Eucharist? They must be taught to purify pyx!…#askpontifex
  9. MarinaCardi
    RT @thelazza: #AskPontifex @Pontifex where is Emanuela Orlandi? Why you don’t say that? Remember she is a Vatican citizen!
  10. nlikes
    What should I have for dinner? #askpontifex (OMG – the pope is so YESTERDAY….)
  11. karnaswanson
    RT @FrPontifex: #AskPontifex @pontifex What advice do you have for priests as we face the challenges of the new evangelization?& Can I keep my Twitter name?