While Pope Benedict has indirectly used Twitter and other forms of online media to promote the faith in the past, he has never had an account on any social network to which he (the royal he—the Papacy) has been personally connected.
That's going to change as of December 12 (the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe), when he tweets from the new @pontifex account (available there and in other languages at @pontifex_[language code]). The announcement made Twitter's own blog, and is detailed a bit more in this News.va post:
“In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated – as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives.”
On the 12th, the Pope will be responding to questions posted with the hashtag #askpontifex (which is already lighting up with thousands of questions).
I welcome Pope Benedict to Twitter, and hope that the Vatican can help make the @pontifex account a viable means of communicating the faith and interacting with the world at large—in bite-sized chunks.
Here's to a new era of integrated Vatican communications!