FaithWorld

Vatican crows that Pope Benedict beats Justin Bieber on re-tweets

(Pope Benedict XVI’s twitter account is pictured with his first tweet on an iPad tablet in this photo illustration taken in Milan December 12, 2012. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini)

Pope Benedict, white-haired, 85, and a neophyte to social media site Twitter, has beaten out 18-year old heartthrob Justin Bieber to set a percentage record for re-tweeting by his followers, the Vatican said on Thursday.

The Vatican newspaper said that as of noon Italian time on Thursday the pope had 2.1 million followers on Twitter, eight days after his first tweet was sent.

While Canadian singer-songwriter Bieber has roughly 15 times as many followers – 31.7 million – the Vatican newspaper said Benedict had beaten Bieber on re-tweets.

It said about 50 percent of the pope’s followers had re-tweeted his first tweet on December 12 while only 0.7 percent of Bieber’s followers had re-tweeted one of the singer’s most popular tweets on September 26, when he commented on the death by cancer of a six-year-old fan.

Pope gets over half million Twitter followers a day after joining as @Pontifex

(Pope Benedict XVI’s twitter account is pictured on a smart phone in front of the Twitter logo displayed on a laptop in this photo illustration taken in Rome December 3, 2012. Benedict’s new handle on Twitter will be @pontifex, beating out other contenders that had been considered to showcase the thoughts of one of the world’s most visible leaders. The Vatican said on Monday that the pope will start tweeting on December 12. REUTERS/Max Rossi )

Even though he hasn’t sent a single tweet yet, Pope Benedict had more than half a million Twitter followers in eight languages on Tuesday, the day after the Vatican unveiled his handle: @Pontifex.

They included people ranging from the simple Roman Catholic faithful to a Jewish head of state.

Read all about it: Pope Benedict is not the Grinch that stole Christmas!

(Pope Benedict XVI, wearing the white fur-trimmed red bonnet reserved to Popes and called camauro, arrives to celebrate his general audience in St. Peter’s square at the Vatican December 21, 2005.REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico)

And so it came to pass that in the eighth year of Pope Benedict’s reign, some tabloid and social media decreed that he had cancelled Christmas.

The day after Benedict’s latest book “The Infancy Narratives – Jesus of Nazareth” – was published on November 20, Vatican officials found some headlines they were not expecting.

Pope Benedict’s third book on Jesus reaffirms doctrine of his virgin birth

(Italian-language copies of Pope Benedict XVI’s book “The Childhood of Jesus” are seen during a presentation in the Vatican November 20, 2012.  REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

Pope Benedict published the last part of his trilogy on the life of Jesus on Tuesday, delivering an early childhood narrative which strongly reaffirms the doctrine of the virgin birth as an “unequivocal” truth of faith.

The book, 137 pages in its English version, is titled “The Infancy Narratives – Jesus of Nazareth” and will be published around the world in some 20 languages. It goes on sale on Wednesday.

“Uncle Technology” joins the Assisi family of St Francis

A visitor uses a touch screen to view a digital detail of a fresco by Giotto in the basilica of St Francis in Assisi October 6, 2012. REUTERS/Handout

St Francis of Assisi, who called the sun “brother” and the moon “sister,” might have referred to it as “uncle technology”.

Visitors to the monumental basilica-convent complex where St Francis is buried in the Umbrian hill town of Assisi will now be able to enjoy a touch-screen and 3-D experience to help them better appreciate the art, history and spirituality inside.

Pope Benedict says the world needs more (literary) Latin lovers

(A closeup of the illuminated letter P in the 1407AD Latin Bible on display in Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, England..)

“Pro Dei amore Latinam linguam discite”.

If you don’t know what that means, Pope Benedict is on your case.

In fact, he’s not only on your case, he’s on your declension, your conjugation, your tense, your person, your voice and your mood.

“Pro Dei amore Latinam linguam discite” means “For the love of God, study Latin!” And that is what the pope wants to see more of.

Vatican may eventually limit visits to the Sistine Chapel

(Pope Benedict XVI leads a special meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican November 21, 2009. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano )

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes turned 500 on Wednesday with the Vatican warning it may eventually limit visitors to protect one of the wonders of Western civilisation.

On October 31, 1512, only 20 years after the discovery of America, Pope Julius II said an evening vespers service to inaugurate the room where Michelangelo toiled for four years, much of it on his back, to finish his ceiling frescoes.

Pope’s butler fascinated by occult, Free Masons, spies and Vatican scandals

(Start of the trial of Pope Benedict’s former butler Paolo Gabriele (3rd L, in grey), accused of stealing and leaking the pontiff’s personal papers, at the Vatican September 29, 2012. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

Pope Benedict’s former butler stole highly sensitive papers the pontiff had marked “to be destroyed” and compromised Vatican security through his actions, the Holy See’s police told his trial on Wednesday.

On the third day of Paolo Gabriele’s trial, testimony depicted a man fascinated by the occult, Masonic lodges, secret services and past Italian and Vatican scandals.

Vatican court to reserve some evidence in butler case for Pope Benedict

(Pope Benedict’s former butler Paolo Gabriele (R), accused of stealing and leaking the pontiff’s personal papers, sits at the start of his trial at the Vatican September 29, 2012. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

The court trying Pope Benedict’s former butler on charges of aggravated theft ruled on Saturday that the results of a sensitive separate investigation carried out by cardinals for the pope will not be admitted as trial evidence.

At the first hearing of the long-awaiting trial of Paolo Gabriele, charged with stealing and leaking sensitive papal documents alleging corruption in the Vatican, the court rejected a defense request to include the cardinals’ probe.

“Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” is first record of claim that Christ married, scholar says

(Jesus and the woman of Canaan, Codex Egberti, Fol 35v, dated to between 980 and 993)

An ancient Coptic papyrus whose scribe quotes Jesus referring to “my wife” is the first clear recorded statement of a claim that he was married, the Harvard scholar who unveiled the 1,700-year-old fragment said on Wednesday.

But Karen King, Professor at Harvard Divinity School, said the landmark discovery of the fragment still provided no definitive historical answer to the question of whether Jesus had a spouse.