Pope Francis as the Selfie Pontiff

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Pope Francis

Pope Francis, now the selfie-savvy pontiff, has joined the social media site Instagram with smashing success. Francis has become the first pontiff ever to join the social media phenomenon Instagram, where he wishes to show the world his walk with God. Now, his beloved admirers can watch the man who looks after their faith in the earthly world.

Shortly after the announcement that Francis was on Instagram, he garnered 100,000 followers within the first hour. In a show of support by his Catholic followers, his first picture gained 92,000 likes. This image featured the pontiff on his knees in prayer and was truly an instant sensation among his admirers.

Francis, no stranger to social media, took over Pope Benedict’s Twitter account in March 2013. His bold decision to join the social media revolution and share his walk with God has come as a surprise to quite a few. For the first time, in a tradition that has lasted almost 2,000 years, devout Catholics can see exactly what his Holiness does and how he does it. For many it is a blessing in disguise and one that is certainly welcome, as the numbers have shown.

As the Supreme Pastor, the pope historically spends his time traveling around and getting to know his people. As the voice of the church, it has often been their job to voice the opinion of the Catholic Church to the people of the world and act as a guiding light to give people hope. The responsibilities of a Supreme Pastor seem endless and with his position in the limelight constantly, he is a man of monumental influence.

Francis, like many before him, has traveled far and wide to meet the people and address some of the issues in today’s world. From blessing babies to addressing the leaders of nations, this man has been hard at work making sure the word and work of the Lord is being spread throughout the world. Speaking against injustice when needed and standing up for the values of the Catholic Church when questioned, his work is never-ending.

With so much work to do and so many opportunities to speak to the world and show them what he does, the pope has created an Instagram account. The decision to join Instagram was made during a consultation between Francis and the secretariat of communications Dario Viganò, who stated that the pope wanted to share his walk with God and that he held a strong conviction “that pictures can reveal many things that words can’t.”

So with the help of Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom, the 79-year-old pope created the first ever Papel Instagram. According to CBS News, his current profile reads, “I want to walk with you along the way of God’s mercy and tenderness.”

Now for the first time in an almost 2,000-year-old tradition, people can subscribe and see images of the pope spreading the word. The next time he goes on a trip to Kenya to speak with Catholics, or give a sermon to suffering and impoverished people, blessing an innocent child, or speaking with Barack Obama over the issues that concern this world most, his followers will be there.

With his witty character and his uncanny ability to hold such a traditionally revert position, Francis has contemporized the Papacy and joined yet another social media outlet. Those who are keen to follow the selfie-pontiff can now join Francis on Instagram and see how His Holiness walks with God.

By Harrison Baker
Edited by Cathy Milne & Jeanette Smith


The Washington Post: Welcome to Instagram, Pope Francis!
CBS News: Pope Francis Makes His Debut on Instagram
NBC: Pope Francis Joins Instagram, Garners 575,000 Followers

Image Courtesy of European Parliament’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License.