Pope Benedict XVI sends out first tweet December 12

(AP Modified) - Pope Benedict XVI has sent out his first tweet from his verified account @Pontifex .

The 85-year-old holy man tweeted at 5:28 this morning, "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart."

The Pope joined Twitter earlier this month on December 3 and has since gained just under 680,000 followers.

The Vatican said, the Pope plans to tweet in eight languages and will respond to live questions about faith during his weekly general audience.

Papal tweets will be sent simultaneously in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Polish and Arabic, Burke said. Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, the president of the Vatican's social communications office, said he hoped to add Chinese. 

Greg Burke, the Vatican's communications adviser, said the handle @Pontifex was chosen because it not only means pope in Latin, but also bridge-builder, suggesting unity.

Burke also says that everything the Pope tweets will be his own words, although it may not be him pushing the button.

While the pope was expected to push the button this morning, subsequent tweets will be sent by someone in the Vatican's secretariat of state. They will, however, all be approved by the Pope, officials said.      

The Vatican stressed the papal tweets aren't to be considered infallible teachings, merely "pearls of wisdom" in the Pope's own words.

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