Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI

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He already has a billion followers.

Now, Pope Benedict XVI will join the Twitter-sphere, tweeting from a personal account along with the world's celebrities, leaders and ordinary folk.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi made the announcement Thursday, saying details about Benedict's handle and other information will come when the Vatican officially launches the account, perhaps before the end of the year.

The 85-year-old Benedict sent his first tweet from a Vatican account last year when he launched the Vatican's news information portal, aimed at the world's 1.1 billion Catholics. The new Twitter account will be his own, though it's doubtful Benedict himself will wrestle down his encyclicals, apostolic exhortations and other papal pronouncements into 140-character bites.

Benedict, who writes longhand and doesn't normally use a computer, will more likely sign off on tweets written in his name.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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