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Coming Soon to Twitter: Pope Benedict XVI

Pontiff will see and approve, but probably not write, tweets under the handle of @pontifex.

Twitter will soon be the home of 140-character messages from a higher authority.

Pope Benedict XVI, who has been tweeting occasionally on the Vatican's Twitter news feed since last year, will launch his own personal Twitter feed at noon Dec. 12.

Within hours after the announcement was made Monday, the pope had more than 100,000 followers, according to the New York Times.

While Twitter is known for its lightening-fast dissemination of information and opinions—some of which are instantly regretted—it's doubtful that will be the case with @pontifex, the pope's new Twitter handle, according to The Guardian.

The handle, which means bridge-builder in Latin, was chosen not only for its meaning but also because many other pope-related handles were taken, according to The Times.

The long-awaited papal Twitter account will leave "little room for random ramblings by the pope, and will kick off with a Q&A session to show it truly is his voice," The Guardian reported.

The creation of the papal twitter account is the latest step in the Vatican's effort to embrace the digital world. The Vatican has a YouTube channel, a general Twitter account and a website, Pope2you, already set up, according to The Guardian.

While the Vatican hopes to especially draw young members of the Catholic faith, officials say that no one should expect to be followed or retweeted by the pope.

"He won't follow anyone for now," Greg Burke, a Vatican communications advisor, said at a news conference reported on by The Times. "He will be followed."

Monsignor Paul Tighe, the Vatican's secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, told The Guardian that Benedict will read and approve every tweet that goes out through the account.

The pontiff still writes in longhand and doesn't normally use a computer, according to a report on WHDH.com.

Beginning today, the pope app is available free through the Apple Store.

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