Pope's Twitter account goes dark, for now

March 3, 2013 at 3:58 PM

VATICAN CITY, March 3 (UPI) -- With St. Peter's square silent this weekend, tourists were left to wonder who will be the next pope -- and whether or not he would join Twitter.

Since Pope Benedict XVI stepped down last week becoming "pope emeritus," the Roman Catholic church is in a period of Sede Vacante, or Vacant See. There is no leader to recite the Angelus in the Vatican, as Benedict did 455 times as pope, Vatican Radio said Sunday.

And there's no one to run the Twitter handle @pontifex, either, the National Catholic Register noted. Within an hour of Benedict's resignation, the Vatican had removed all 39 tweets from Benedict, who first joined Twitter 11 weeks ago.

The tweets have been archived on the Vatican's website. Benedict's smiling avatar has been removed from the account and in its place is the Vatican seal.

Benedict's former @pontifex handle has more than 3 million Twitter followers.

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