The Jesuit priest said the pope’s Twitter handle will be announced officially at a later time, although one likely candidate, @BenedictusPPXVI, registered this year already has 2,900 followers without having any tweets.
There are already several fake Twitter accounts set up in the pope’s name — some of which are used to mock the 85-year-old German pontiff.
Vatican officials said the account will propagate the pope’s core messages, links to speeches as well as appeals for solidarity for countries in distress.
The 140-character messages will not be written by the pontiff himself but by Vatican officials, whose texts will be submitted to the pope for approval.
I.Media, a news agency specialising in Vatican affairs, said the pope’s Twitter account exists but its announcement has been delayed by the Secretariat of State — the Holy See’s government — because of the “Vatileaks” scandal.
The months-long case involves the leaking of confidential documents by papal butler Paolo Gabriele, who was convicted last month. A Vatican computer technician is now also on trial for aiding and abetting the crime.
The pope sent his first and so far only tweet from a Vatican account in June 2011 to launch the Vatican’s new information portal, news.va.
“Dear Friends, I just launched www.news.va. Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI,” it read.