Pope Benedict XVI tweeted his last words at 11 a.m. today, ending his brief -- and highly-hyped  -- era as the first Catholic pontiff to embrace social media.

 

The pope joined Twitter on Dec. 12 after months of lobbying from the social-networking site. The move was big news for the Catholic Church, which has a long-standing reputation for slowness to adopt new technology.

Since then, the pope’s English-language account, @pontifex, has racked up more than 1.5 million followers. But the future of Twitter in the church is anything but clear.

As the Post’s Jason Horowitz reports from Vatican City, many church officials doubt the power of social media and seem skeptical with its ethos of transparency. Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, the president of the church’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications, is one of the few true believers.

“I don’t even think that there is a force voluntarily against this,” he said of the opposition to social media in the Vatican. “It’s that we have people who belong to another culture. Many people still have an instrument-based view of communication. I have an instrument, an iPhone. There is no understanding that there is another world, a network that we all live in together. There isn’t this understanding.”