VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While the thought of receiving a blessing by text from Pope Francis could have millions of mobile users glued to their smartphones, the Vatican spokesman said that isn’t his style.
The spokesman, Greg Burke, issued a statement on Twitter Dec. 13 saying that Pope Francis doesn’t use the instant messaging platform WhatsApp.
Reports of “the Holy Father using WhatsApp are false,” Burke tweeted. “He does not send messages or blessings through this medium.”
The Pope Francis Foundation, a Catholic organization in Corrientes, Argentina, announced Dec. 12 the launch of “Wabot-Papa Francisco,” a chatbot that allows users to contact the pope and keep up-to-date with his schedule, reported the Argentine newspaper, La Nacion.
The foundation said the chatbot would respond to users queries through “texts, images, video, audio and documents,” La Nacion reported.
“You can also have a simulated chat with His Holiness. Wabot technology allows the entire Catholic community or people of any other faith to interact with the pope,” the foundation said.
The pope, the organization added, “is a technological man, he believes that technology can help many people and understands that it is the future of communications.”
In his message for the 50th World Communications Day Jan. 24, 2016, Pope Francis acknowledged that emails, text messages, social networks and chats can be “fully human forms of communication.”
However, he added, “it is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal.”
Despite his favorable attitude toward new forms of communication, the pope has also admitted that he is “a dinosaur” when it comes to technology.
During a Google Hangout conversation sponsored by Scholas Occurrentes in 2015, a young girl from Spain asked the pope if he liked to take photos and upload them to a computer.
“Do you want me to tell you the truth?” the pope asked. “I’m a disaster with machines. I don’t know how to work a computer. What a shame!”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: New Vatican news site ready to launch before Christmas
NEXT: Pope wants church to be voice of the poor in Amazon
Share this story