The papal conclave is one of the Roman Catholic Church’s most sacred and secretive traditions. So how does that fit with the modern social media age?
As you might expect, there are some restrictions in place. The same secrecy rules that have applied to the College of Cardinals since the Middle Ages still apply but now they extend to iPhones, iPads and social media accounts.
At least two Americans believed early on to be in the mix for Pope – Cardinals Sean O’Malley of Boston and Timothy Dolan of New York are pretty clued-in to the social media world. They have both gone silent since the conclave began in accordance with an oath of secrecy.
The recently launched papal Twitter feed has also gone quiet since Benedict XVI’s departure. That hasn’t stopped words like “Pope” and “Rome” from trending on the social network though.
Some are shunning social media in favor of apps to keep up with what’s happening in Vatican City. The Pope App for Apple and Android is a project of The Vatican’s media offices – dubbed an all-access pass to papal events.
Another app called Pope Alarm is a text and e-mail messaging service from the Fellowship of Catholic University Students – designed to keep papal watchers in the know as soon as the traditional plume of white smoke appears and a new leader for the church is chosen.