.- Just after holding the synod on the New Evangelization, Vatican officials say that Pope Benedict XVI will start his own Twitter account.
The announcement of his new account, which may be launched by the end of the year, comes after bishops from around the world met in Rome to discuss ways to evangelize an increasingly secular world.
At the evangelization synod of bishops, which concluded on Oct. 28, one of the messages that emerged was that social networks and other new media environments are places where "consciences are often formed, where people spend their time and live their lives. It is a new opportunity for touching the human heart."
Pope Benedict has used Twitter before, but the one instance of that happening involved him launching a news portal for all of the Vatican’s news outlets. He inaugurated that portal by tweeting, "Dear Friends, I just launched News.va. Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI."
But the Pope will now have his own account, which will offer feeds in five or six languages, and some believe Latin, the Church's official language, could be one of them.
"We've been speaking for some time now of a Twitter on behalf of the Pope," Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See press office, told CNA on Nov. 9. "The project continues to be studied. All the relevant information, including also its handling, is not now known."
"It's possible that this will happen by the end of the year, but I always recommend waiting for the official announcements before giving indications of the precise time," he added.
The Vatican already has several accounts in different languages, including Vatican news @news_va_en, Vatican communications @PCCS_VA, and the social network @Pope2YouVatican.
The Twitter account for the Vatican news site has 105,000 followers and shares links to Vatican Radio’s stories and other news updates every hour.
But there are also several fake accounts that claim to be Pope Benedict's.
The Pope, who still writes letters by hand, will not be tweeting himself, but he will approve each message posted on his behalf.
"Tweets will be fairly infrequent and their content will probably not veer too far from his texts, and on many occasions point to the things the Pope says," a Vatican official told Newsmax.
The Vatican is hoping to evangelize through Twitter, which has around 500 million users.