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     Home > Culture and Society  >  2013-11-23 19:37:00
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Pope's 10 million Twitter followers derive from unlikely places

A visiting Vatican official said a large part of the 10 million Twitter followers of Pope Francis are Filipinos working abroad, especially in the Middle East.

“When the pope went on Twitter … we were surprised to see that in the Middle Eastern countries and Gulf states, there was a huge following. Then we realized that those were the Filipinos,” Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications, told reporters in Manila on Thursday.

He said Twitter has been an important tool for Filipino workers to exercise their faith despite being in places where religious freedom is limited.

“These Filipinos are in a situation that is not easy for Catholics, but Twitter is something that allowed them some connection to the Church,” said Msgr. Tighe, who is part of the team that manages the Pope’s Twitter account @Pontifex.

"What I want to tell Filipinos around the world is: make sure you see in social media the potential to build good relationships among yourselves, to build up your faith and sense of belongingness to the church and closeness to Christ," he said.

Msgr. Tighe said the pope usually composes his tweets in Spanish or Italian and a team translates the messages to seven other languages.

The church official also discussed the Vatican's acquisition of the .catholic domain from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

Msgr. Tighe said the Vatican took the .catholic domain as "a way of having a space in the digital arena where the Church can have an authentic presence.”

He said if all Catholic institutions use the .catholic domain, people will easily find authentic Catholic sites.

Msgr. Tighe said his office is hoping that churches that have developed a digital presence will help those in other parts of the world that are not so developed as “an exercise in church solidarity in community.”

Msgr. Tighe is in Manila for the Catholic Social Media Summit this weekend.Source: UCAN


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