IT'S official - Pope Benedict has revealed his hand on Twitter as @pontifex.
The pope will start tweeting on December 12, the feast of the Madonna of Guadalupe.
"The handle is a good one. It means 'pope' and it also means 'bridge builder'," said Greg Burke, senior media adviser to the Vatican.
"The pope wants to reach out to everyone," he told a news conference.
The first papal tweets will be answers to questions sent to @pontifex.
The tweets will be going out in Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Arabic and French. Other languages will be added in the future.
"We are going to get a spiritual message. The pope is not going to be walking around with a Blackberry or an iPad and no one is going to be putting words into the pope's mouth. He will tweet what he wants to tweet," Burke said.
Primarily, the tweets will come from the contents of his weekly general audience, Sunday blessings and homilies on major Church holidays. They will also include reaction to major world events, such as natural disasters.
The leader of the world's 1.2 billion or so Roman Catholics will not, of course, send the tweets himself, but he will sign off on them before they are sent in his name.