Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Holy Twitterums

It was Benedict XVI who started tweeting, and I commented at the time that the tweets tended to be bland aphorisms. When Benedict resigned, the Pontifical Twitter Account went into "Sede Vacante" mode and only emerged on the election of Francis.

I commented then that I would be watching his tweets, implying that I hoped they would be an improvement on the banal aphorisms coming from Benedict - well, not quite from Benedict himself; I gather, since, that an Irishman was writing them for him.

So I have been following Francis's tweets from the beginning and have already been twice ridiculed for my daily responses on Twitter.

I need to make a few things clear. I don't for a moment think Francis reads my responses. In fact, I don't think Francis even reads his own tweets, much less writes them. I assume they are composed and launched into the ether by some Holy Hack.

So, why do I bother replying.

Well, in the first place, it's a sort of test to keep me alert on these long mornings. I just resolved to try and post a reply to his every tweet that in some way related to the subject being tweeted. This can be difficult as the current tweets, like the previous tweeter's, have descended into equally bland aphorisms.

While I'm at it, and if there is any room left, I then just throw in a reminder that the silenced are still muted and that it would be a singular gesture to #FreeTonyFlannery, who has been greatly wronged by a church that refuses to redefine some of its dogmas to make them intelligible to a modern audience. This it does out of a misplaced sense of the immutability of "tradition" and a fear of the "appalling vista" that it sees before it should it admit to ever having been wrong.

So there. I'm not losing a night's sleep over the Pope's tweeets nor do I spend any time composing replies. When one of his tweets pops up on my Tweetdeck, I just shoot from the hip.

Having said all that, I will be interested to see if this Pope, irrespective of his tweets, does make for a change from his two immediate predecessors. He is certainly more pastoral and communicative in his manner and rumour has it that he favours a more decentralised and collegiate church. Good. The real test will be whether he succeeds in getting the church out of the doctrinal hole into which it is still digging itself.

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