Pope joins tweeting masses with Pontifex handle

The Associated Press

VATICAN CITY — Benedict XVI, the pope known for his hefty volumes of theology and lengthy encyclicals, is now trying brevity — spreading the faith through his own Twitter account (at)Pontifex.

The pontiff will tweet in eight languages starting Dec. 12, responding live to questions about faith during his weekly general audience, the Vatican said Monday.

Within 10 hours of the announcement, Benedict had garnered nearly a quarter-million followers on the English version, with thousands more following him in the other language accounts.

The Vatican has been increasing its presence in social media, using YouTube and Facebook pages for special events and Twitter to engage believers and nonbelievers alike, particularly the young.