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Pope Benedict XVI was first pontiff to tweet

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Twitter

(CNN) — Assuming Pope Benedict XVI steps down as planned at the end of February, his tenure on Twitter will have been fleeting.

The pope has been active on the social-media platform for only two months. During that time he has sent just 34 tweets — 33 if you don’t count one that corrected a typo in a previous message.

The spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics stunned the world Monday with the news that he will resign February 28 “because of advanced age.”

Most of the pope’s messages to his 1.5 million followers have promoted Catholic doctrine and teachings, although he has also occasionally commented on current events, condemning violence in Nigeria and Syria. One tweet asked followers for suggestions on how to be more prayerful when “we are so busy with the demands of work, families and the world?”

The first Catholic pope to use Twitter, he tweets under the handle @Pontifex — meaning “bridge builder” in Latin.

All his messages have been retweeted by thousands of followers, although others have used Twitter to criticize the Catholic Church over sexual abuse by priests, its stance on gay marriage and other issues.

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