The Pope Tweets for First Time

His Holiness sent initial message from iPad

Pope Benedict XVI is on Twitter, and he tweets from an iPad.

His Holiness sent out an initial tweet, announcing the launch of a Vatican news portal. Vatican officials said the Pope personally sent out the social networking missive.

"Dear Friends, I just launched Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI," read the tweet.

The tweet was sent using Twitter's iPad app, meaning the head of the Catholic Church has an iPad. The message went out a day before the 60the anniversary of Benedict's ordination as a priest.

The news portal aggregates information from the Vatican's various media platforms. The portal was launched for the feast day of St. Peter and Paul, which falls on June 29 but officially begins with a vesper service June 28.

The site will be a one-stop shop for articles republished from L'Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio, Vatican Television and other Vatican media outlets. It will also provide livestreams of papal events and post links to Facebook walls of homilies and speeches.

Msgr. Claudio Maria Celli said the Vatican hopes to use the Internet and power of the social media to disseminate the message of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

"I think we must educate the Roman Curia of what is the real meaning of communication," said Msgr. Celli, who will manage the portal. "Little by little, they will perceive that this is the real meaning to be present, to have a relevance."

The 83-year-old pontiff is not known to embrace technology, preferring to write out his speeches in longhand. He said earlier this year that the Internet provided the opportunity to build relationships and fellowship, but he warned of its pitfalls.

"It is important to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives," the Pope said.

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