On December 12, 2012, using the Twitter handle @Pontifex, Pope Benedict XVI, sent his first tweet from the Vatican. By this date he already had over 800,000 followers. The pope's first tweet read:
“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.” Soon thereafter he added “How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives? By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need.”
Use of Twitter continued the church's long-standing tradition of implementing the latest technology in communication and education, beginning with the church's sponsorship of printing at the monastery of Subiaco in 1465.