Andrew Brown has an article at the Comment is Free section of the Guardian, headlined The pope's Twitter blessing: not absurd or boring to Filipino migrant workers. The article has the strapline: "Pope Benedict XVI has started tweeting. Bored, rich westerners may mock, but so far he has made a success of his account."
This made me a little shamefaced after my (I hope gentle) mockery of the Pontifical High Tweet yesterday. This morning I tweeted:
Don't forget to reply to tweets from @pontifex - he needs us to engage, not leave it to the anti-clericalsLooking at the Twitter account and the replies to the Holy Father's messages, the penny dropped. It dawned on me that while the Pope's tweets are of necessity rather general in scope, they do provide an instant opportunity for the entire Catholic twitterverse to engage with others.
Entirely predictably, many of the replies to the Pope's tweets are aggressive, anti-clerical and snarky. For those who have the time, these can be replied to with charity. For anyone who follows @pontifex, it is possible to take a few moments to reply in a different vein. For example, when the Pope tweets
Any suggestions on how to be more prayerful when we are so busy with the demands of work, families and the world?we could, er, make some positive suggestions, no? We don't need to fuss about whether Pope Benedict will personally read our tweets: other people around the world who are following @pontifex will do so.
The Pope's engagement with Twitter can become a platform for Catholics all over the world to engage in proclaiming the faith. @pontifex thus becomes a crowd-sourced form of evangelisation.