Pope Benedict XVI will send his first tweet next week and he's being asked to address the thorny issue of who should replace Ricky Ponting in the Test batting line-up.
Source:
AAP
4 Dec 2012 - 7:47 PM  UPDATED 26 Aug 2013 - 10:48 AM

Pope Benedict XVI will send his first tweet next week and he's being asked to address the thorny issue of who should replace Ricky Ponting in the Test batting line-up.

The 85-year-old pontiff launched his pontifex Twitter handle on Monday night (AEDT) and will send his first tweet on December 12, during a question and answer session with devotees.

The Vatican has asked for a series of questions to be sent to his holiness via the #askpontifex hashtag, a selection of which he'll answer next week.

And Cricket Australia didn't hesitate to ask for divine inspiration with one its most pressing questions.

"With suggestions flying around, we want to ask you Pope Benedict XVI pontifex - who do you think should replace Ricky Ponting? #askpontifex," Cricket Australia tweeted.

Whether the Pope, who is not known for his expertise on slip cordons or batting line-ups, actually answers is up for debate.

What is certain is that the new papal Twitter account is a hit. It gained 2000 followers seconds after launching and by Tuesday afternoon there were 307,000. By way of comparison, Kevin Rudd - one of Australia's first and most popular Twitter identities - has just over 1,175,447 followers.

The Catholic Church in Australia welcomed the new account and said its popularity demonstrated people still held the church in high esteem.

"The fact that the Pope has nearly 300,000 followers after just two days says much for the power of this medium, and the faith that people still have in the church," a spokesman said. Editor of Australian Catholics magazine, Michael McVeigh, also welcomed the new account.

"With a click of a button on his mobile phone, he'll be able to reach more people than were at World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008," Mr McVeigh told AAP. He expects Pope Benedict to offer his followers spiritual guidance rather than cricketing advice.