In a Google Hangout in February, Pope Francis admitted to children with disabilities and special needs in Brazil, India, Spain and the United States: “”I am old-fashioned when it comes to computers. I’m a dinosaur. I don’t know how to work a computer. What a pity, huh?”
Even so, Pope Francis does not let that hinder him from using technology to be with his people. He takes selfies with teenagers, does spontaneous mobile phone interviews with reporters and his following on Twitter continues to grow.
On June 26, 2014, the Long Island Catholic Examiner posted an article by Deirdre Haggerty which began:
Pope Francis is the “most influential” Twitter user, beating out the Barack Obama account according to the 2014 Twiplomacy Study released on Wednesday. Since the Pontiff’s first tweet on March 17, 2013 asking Catholics to pray for him, Pope Francis’ @pontifex accounts in nine languages have grown substantially, making the Twiplomacy findings not unusual.
My own recent unofficial count of followers of @pontifex worldwide is 19.3 million. Most follow in Spanish: 8.2M; then English: 5.6M; Italian: 2.5M and Portuguese 1.3M.
If you are not on Twitter, you can find the Pope’s Tweets on the Vatican News website and also on the Pope App if you have a smartphone.
Here is a sample of some of his most popular tweets in 2015 (This is based on retweets.):
Having faith does not mean having no difficulties, but having the strength to face them, knowing we are not alone.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) February 6, 2015
In this one, the Holy Father said everything with a hashtag:
Here is a theme that the Holy Father stresses repeatedly as he speaks about the mercy of God.
There is no sin that God cannot pardon. All we need to do is ask for forgiveness.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) February 21, 2015
What impresses me is that Pope Benedict XVI who began tweeting @pontifex and now Pope Francis who continues it are leaders who, while not computer literate themselves, realized the power of social media and the urgency to use it to spread the gospel. They did not let their personal limitations stand in the way.
May we all have such vision, courage and zeal for building the Kingdom of God on earth.