A Twitter hype in the Church?

twitterFollowing the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI on Twitter, various prelates and curial bodies have followed suit. While it is a welcome development from a communication standpoint, we will have to see if all these new users will prove able to achieve and maintain their momentum. Twitter, after all, becomes useful only with regular use.

For now, let’s highlight some of the new Catholic users of the short-message service. It’s not a complete list, for I am sure I missed some, but at least they are interesting enough to follow and encourage in their use of Twitter.

In the United States, the great bishop of Madison, Robert Morlino, has tweeted three times and shows a healthy openness to listening to his followers: “I’m not on here (facebook or twitter) every day, but feel free to ask questions and I’ll answer what I can,” he tweeted today.

Archbishop-Terrence-Prendergast-Ottawa-Citizen-photoCanadian Archbishop Terrence Prendergast (pictured) of Ottawa opened his account yesterday. He tweets in both French and English, the two languages he also employs on his blog.

Australia’s Bishop Anthony Fisher joined on the same day as the Holy Father, saying, “I’ve decided to take the plunge into twitter and instagram. If the Holy Father can do it, so can I!” With 31 tweets, Bishop Fisher seems to rather take to Twitter.

The first German bishop has also arrived on Twitter. He is Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg. He obviously tweets in German. His first tweet today was, translated: “Hello. I have decided to start Twittering and I wish for many followers. For now a good weekend and a good second Sunday of Advent.”

The Vatican Observatory also joined two days ago, perhaps putting to bed the silly notion that the Church doesn’t do science.

————————————————-

Edited to remove the link to the assumed Twitter account of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has since proven to be a parody account.

‘Bel Giorgio’ takes over the household

In a move that was expected since last month’s consistory, Pope Benedict XVI appointed his private secretary, Msgr. Georg Gänswein, as prefect of the Papal Household. He succeeds Cardinal James Harvey, who was assigned to become the archpriest of the basilica of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls with his creation as cardinal.

gänswein

Undoubtedly one of the most visible and definitely the most popular curial prelates, ‘Gorgeous George’ will simultaneously be elevated to the dignity of archbishop.

Archbishop-elect Gänswein has been the closest daily collaborator of the Holy Father since before the latter’s election as pope. As prefect he will be responsible for all audiences of the pope, as well as all travels within Italy and all major events that the pope participates in. There is no indication that he will cease to be the pope’s personal secretary, though, so for the time being at least, Archbishop Gänswein will be pulling double-duty.

The new archbishop, who will be given the titular see of Urbs Salvia, is noted for his careful performance of his duty, a testament to German pünktlichkeit  and thoroughness perhaps. It has, in any case, now led to his even greater influence in the closest circles around the pope, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Pope Benedict does not seem to be the kind of man who needs dozens of people around him at any time, instead preferring the simple company of a few trusted collaborators.

A date for Gänswein’s consecration has not been announced, but it is a safe bet that it will take place on the Feast of the Epiphany, 6 January, when the pope generally consecrates a number of bishops himself.

Photo credit: Alessandra Tarantino, PA