Pope Benedict XVI: Now on Twitter!

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It's hard to envision Pope Benedict XVI cranking out musings on his iPhone 5 every 20 minutes, but the pontiff has officially joined Twitter, according to reports.

At the age of 85, the Pope himself is about to be launched into the brave new world of social networking, complete with the official handle of “@pontifex”.

Pope Benedict XVI

@pontifex already has 360,000+ followers and has yet to Tweet once. Badass.

It's easy to see why the Catholic Church, which has struggled to connect with teenagers and young adults (as have all religions) launched this initiative.

Archbishop Claudio Celli, head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, pointed out that some 140 million people currently use Twitter.

Of those, nearly 40 percent are in the 16-24 age group.

“This is a new market for ideas and the church should be there ... This is not the only way [to spread the Catholic Church’s message] but it is a very useful one," he said.

"It’s cost-effective and not labour-intensive.”

Do not expect a new tweet from the Pope every half hour - more like once a week, if that - but the Vatican insists any tweets from the Pope will be genuine.

While the Pope will not be typing out his thoughts in 140 characters or less, he will oversee and ensure Tweets have “his engagement and approval.”

Archbishop Celli said the 140 character limit will prove something of a “challenge” but that Twitter offers a “wonderful opportunity to share his nuggets of wisdom."

The Pope will begin tweeting December 12, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, when he will answer some of the questions sent to #askpontifex about faith and belief.

The Pope (with the help of staff members) will also be tweeting in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish and Arabic.

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