Pope Tweets: 'Dear Friends... '

Wednesday - 12/12/2012, 5:26am EST

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The pope has tweeted.

In perhaps the most drawn out Twitter launch ever, Pope Benedict XVI pushed the button on a tablet brought to him at the end of his general audience Wednesday. It read: "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart."

Later in the day he was to respond to a few messages sent to him from around the world.

As the countdown to his first tweet from his Twitter handle (at)Pontifex neared, the pope had garnered nearly 1 million followers in the eight languages of his account.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)