Pope Benedict XVI’s shock announcement this morning that he was resigning at the end of the month has completely dominated the Twittersphere this morning (in Italy, he was being run a close second by #justinbieberisthebestidolever).
First came the jokes, as the news had caught all the world leaders, BAFTA winners, and Grammy attendees either napping or sleeping off their hangovers.
Presumably Pope won’t be deploying usual cliche of retiring to spend more time with family? It’s quite a big thing to give up for #Lent
— ACC Gareth Morgan (@ACCGarethMorgan) February 11, 2013
See what Gareth did there? Although, it should be pointed out that the only person aware of the Pontiff’s feelings was his brother Georg, who had known “for months” that the leader of the Catholic Church was mulling over the resignation option.
Of course, with Ash Wednesday coming up, there were the Lenten jokes.
Oh, hang on. He’s just giving it up for lent. #pope
— Deborah Orr (@DeborahJaneOrr) February 11, 2013
With his last day on February 28, thoughts are now turning to what to give His Holiness as a leaving present.
Having a whip-round for The Pope’s leaving gift, if you’d like to contribute please send the moneyvia PaPal
— Popjustice (@Popjustice) February 11, 2013
And then came the atrocious puns.
Ha! Best Pope joke so far:”The Pope is resigning. He will soon be known as Ex-Benedict.”
— Brent A. Martin (@zeitgeistlondon) February 11, 2013
Closely followed by the ironic ones:
Someone in office just made this joke: Pope is going to Goldman’s to do God’s work …
— Anjuli (@AnjuliDavies) February 11, 2013
There was also some speculation about the state of the octogenarian’s health.
1st sensible guy on cnn: “maybe Pope has a serious medical condition” commenting on sudden short notice resignation.
— Salma Jafri (@salmajafri) February 11, 2013
There were, of course, the tributes to the 88-year-old, singling out his work on advancing inter-faith dialog and links, but most world and religious leaders didn’t make it to Twitter. One who did, however, was the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
Archbishop’s message on Pope Benedict’s resignation bit.ly/Y4sDr0
— Lambeth Palace (@lambethpalace) February 11, 2013
But amongst this normal Twitter fodder (one part news, two parts jokes) came a great deal of admiration for the Pontiff. There were those who felt the the Pope deserved praise for a job well done:
Sad ☹. Pope Benedict is resigning on Feb 28. His writings were enlightening and a great inspiration to many… Thank you Pope Benedict XVI ♥
— Kara David (@karadavid) February 11, 2013
And then there were those who applauded the Pope for having the cojones to admit that the job was too much for a man of his age.
Online betting firms are having a field day predicting who the next Bishop of Rome will be–my money’s on Tony Blair.
[Image by Twitter user Sergey Gabdurakhmanov]