Pope Still Bigger On Twitter Than North Korea And State Of The Union Address

Never underestimate the power of a religious leader on social media.

Pope Still Bigger On Twitter Than North Korea And State Of The Union Address

It is 24 hours after the Pope announced his resignation and the Twittersphere is still full of Pontiff-related news. Although there’s still a prevalence of jokes and memes doing the rounds, there seems to be a predilection for more serious stuff, such as the succession process, as well as retweets of this extraordinary photo, taken at 6pm last night, of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome being struck by a huge fork of lighting.

The news was actually broken because one of the agency journalists covering the Vatican beat could speak Latin. Giovanna Chirri, whose tweet broke the story, said she wasn’t sure she could believe her ears when she heard Benedict XVI announce the news, coming as it did after three canonizations.

The news, she said, made her cry. The number of Ms Chirri’s followers on her Twitter page have increased nearly fivefold since yesterday.

Media outlets are already talking about the frontrunners to succeed Benedict XVI, who will be taken to Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer retreat after he resigns, at 8pm on February 28

What yesterday seemed shocking is now more of a liberating gesture for the Catholic Church, say some.

The big question on religious commentators minds is this: will the current incumbent of the Papal Throne’s decision hold the door open for future Pontiffs to call it a day when they feel they cannot do the job justice any more?

The Vatican is dismissing the Pope’s recent operation to replace the battery in his Pacemaker as the reason for his resignation, but putting it down to general old age.

But Twitter wouldn’t be Twitter without the conspiracy theories, and so here’s one for all of us who might be wondering about what the future will bring the Catholic Church.

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My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.