Pope Benedict XVI launched a new Vatican portal some time ago, and now he's touting the abilities of social media to convey large messages in 'concise phrases.'
Twitter has been #blessed: Pope Benedict XVI has given his blessing to social media, particularly media which encourages "concise phrases."
While his Holiness did not specifically mention Twitter, Vatican officials told the Washington Post "it’s safe to say that a reference to ‘tweets’ is there." (read the Pope's full statement here).
The announcement, made as part of the Vatican's World Communications Day, is not surprising. Many church officials are already on Twitter, and the Pope is a big fan of iPad.
The Pope's first tweet came in summer of 2011 when he announced the launch of a new English language Vatican website.
"Dear friends, I just launched news.va. Praise be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings. Pope Benedictus XVI" he tweeted.
He gave further support today, saying "In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated."
The authors of the Gospels seemed to understand that. Many of the most popular phrases quoted by Christians come in under the Twitter limit of 140 characters.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16) is 129 characters including spaces.
"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2) is 123.
"Do not judge, so that you may not be judged." (Matthew 7:1) is downright pithy at 43.
The Old Testament has some Twitter friendly lines, including "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalms 34:7 -- and 67 characters)
The Pope does warn the internet can give us too much information: "Search engines and social networks have become the starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice, ideas, information and answers," he said, but warns "people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware."
The pontiff then says silence (a "precious commodity" he says) -- or at least short Twitter-like answers -- may be preferable.