Benedict XVI died, he was the first Pope to bless on Twitter

At 11:28 on December 12, 2012 the first tweet by Joseph Ratzinger on the @Pontifex account

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI disappears precisely on the tenth anniversary of one of his revolutionary and historic gestures: in fact, at 11:28 am on December 12, 2012, Joseph Ratzinger’s first tweet appeared on the @Pontifex account. “Dear friends, it is with joy that I join you via Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless you all from my heart”, wrote Benedict XVI. The first social blessing in history was initially spread in English, and subsequently on the other accounts, nine in all, in the various languages, including Italian, receiving ten thousand shares in a few minutes. It was the beginning of a new form of communication of the Holy See, adopted by Pope Francis who continued on Ratzinger’s path by opening the @Pontifex account also on Instagram.

It was a revolutionary and historic gesture, initially mistaken for an attempt to keep up with fashion, but in reality the result of a long meditation by the Pope who already a few years earlier, speaking of modernity, perceived it as an “indispensable tool” for the diffusion of Gospel the new ways of communication “opened by technological achievements”. And in fact, his gesture was also illuminating for the institutional and political figures who today regularly use social media to communicate. Just three days ago, the announcement of Ratzinger’s deteriorating health was made by Pope Francis, first at the end of the general audience and then on Twitter, with the hashtag #PrayTogether: “#PrayTogether for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who in silence continues to pray for the Church. We ask the Lord to console him and support him in this testimony of love for the Church, until the end”.