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Pope Benedict XVI kneels to pray as he celebrates the Christmas Midnight Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, early Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2007. Pope Benedict XVI ushered in Christmas early Tuesday by celebrating Midnight Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. (CBS)
VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Benedict won't start tweeting until next week, but he already has 150,000 followers on the English version of his Twitter account.
The Vatican says Benedict will tweet in eight languages starting Dec. 12, answering questions about faith during his general audience.
Greg Burke, the Vatican's communications adviser, says the personal handle @Pontifex was chosen because it not only means pope in Latin, but also bridge-builder, suggesting unity.
He stressed that the papal tweets aren't to be considered infallible teachings, merely "pearls of wisdom" in the pope's own words.
The Vatican has been increasing its presence in social media, using YouTube channels and Facebook pages for special events and Twitter to engage believers and nonbelievers alike, particularly the young.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)