In last tweet, a wish for joy from Benedict XVI

Paterno Esmaquel II
Pope Benedict XVI thanks netizens for their 'love and support' as he closes his Twitter account after nearly 3 months

MANILA, Philippines – Pope Benedict XVI on Friday morning, March 1 (Thursday afternoon, February 28 in Rome), delivered his farewell message on social media as he prepared to leave the papacy.

“Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the center of your lives,” Benedict said on his Twitter account @Pontifex. The account will close as soon as he resigns.

It was Benedict’s farewell to the social media world, barely 3 months after he became the first pope to create a Twitter account.

Since he joined Twitter on Dec 12, 2012, he posted 39 tweets and gained over 1.5 million followers in his English account alone. He kept 9 accounts in various languages.

On Thursday, Benedict steps down from the papacy – the first pope to do so in 600 years. He will retire to a monastery.

He said in his final speech on Wednesday, February 27, that he resigned “for the good of the Church.”

“Loving the Church also means having the courage to make difficult, trying choices, having ever before oneself the good of the Church and not one’s own,” the Pope said. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.