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The Pope and Social Media

Religion In The Digital Age


Pope Francis is heading down to Manila in the Philippines for a five day tour of the country and other Asian nations. Millions are expected to endure the weather, heaving crowds and security forces armed to the teeth for a chance to catch a glimpse of the man so holy he could send your breakfast to Heaven.

However, in the social media age where we see world leaders and even military forces popping up on digital channels I suppose that it’s only natural that we get a bit of the Pope on there too.

Interestingly enough, the Pope is actually one of the most digital savvy influential people. As if he needed anything else to be praised for. The charming man in white has already been welcomed by thousands on social media and he’s not even landed in Manila yet.

He’s the second most followed person on Twitter with 17 million followers tweeting him in 9 different languages. Though Obama just nips him to the most follower count, Pope Francis’ tweets have the most reach. His average post is re-tweeted 10,000 times. His post which heralded the start of his two nation trip was re-tweeted 29,000 times. Man, I wish I could generate that much traffic for this blog. Got any tips for me, Francis?

He receives numerous prayers and wishes on his @Pontifex account.

Angelique Mina-Rualo, a bank officer who credits surviving cancer to her Catholic faith commented that: ‘It feels like I am talking to him directly, even if I know it’s run by an administrator. Talking straight to the pope is like talking straight to God.’

Proving that the Pope isn't the only religious person who knows their way around the digital age, Philippine Bishops have created an actual app where people can send their prayers to the Popes or just share their moments of faith with one another. It’s available on the App Store and on the Google Play Store.


The app’s prayer wall has already been flooded with people looking for help to heal the sick, bear children and find work.

‘Pope Francis, please pray for my mom's health. She's having a stroke right now for the second time.’ Is an example of what’s up on the wall at the moment.

Furthermore, there has been a huge number of people taking selfies with the Pope and posting them to social media. Obviously, they’re not selfies with the real Pope but are actually just cardboard cut-outs. Well, you have to respect their admiration and commitment for Francis.

Pope Francis has proved to be an ever popular Pope and seems to be very, very slowly turning around people’s views of the stereotypical narrow minded Catholic mindset. 

Though some people may criticise his popularity based on that all he has done is say very little, but I think it is important to remember that to try to U-Turn something as internalised as the Catholic religion will take a large amount of time.

Either way, Pope Francis and his social media presence should be commended. He’s 78 and he’s got more followers than most celebrities combined. He's also brave enough to travel in a vehicle not completely covered by bullet proof glass. Especially brave when you consider that the last two Popes to visit the Philippines both had assassination attempts fail. 

Not bad Francis, not bad.

Tom has just graduated from University of East London in Creative and Professional Writing. He loves writing and he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other loves include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

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The Pope and Social Media Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, January 15, 2015 Rating: 5
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