The Holy Father has arrived...on Twitter.
Which means, I'm not ashamed to say, he got there before me. I've never really gotten the point of Twitter. If I want to tell a bunch of people what I'm doing, I just update my Facebook status. Also, I can't see myself "following" any celebrity tweeters. To me, that seems more than a little voyeuristic.
My good friend Bonnie started up with Twitter, so I made a false start at using it, so I could follow her. I think I signed up and that was as far as I got.
When I heard Pope Benedict had his own Twitter handle (that's what they're called, right?) I figured it was as good a time as any to give it another go.
I went to work that night and read about the vitriol which has been shot at His Holiness through his Twitter feed. People who are understandably angry about the recent scandals surrounding church members, people who do not understand the Church and how it works in the world, and people who just hate religion in general have been taking their anger out on the Holy Father's Twitter feed since he opened it.
This gave me pause. I have stopped reading people's comments on news stories about religion in general and especially the Catholic Church. Many people seem to find it "safe" in some way to sit behind their computer screens and spout falsehoods about Church teachings, fire angry messages about the scandals, or just bash religion. These comments have always been difficult to read and are even more so when directed at a figure I hold so dearly as Pope Benedict.
But of course, this is exactly why we should all now create Twitter accounts. It is upon us to surround the Holy Father virtually with love and support. For every angry, deprecatory, or hateful comment he receives we should be there with messages of hope, support, grace, and love. There are over a billion of us, I'm sure if we all work together, we can beat back the tide of anger and malice that surrounds His Holiness online.
So, I went to Twitter again. I started following Bonnie. Then I looked for the Pope's pages and realized I had no idea how to operate the site and ended up not leaving a message because I couldn't figure it out.
I'll try again later.