The moment was historic as the Pope sent out his first ever tweet.
One year and half later, Benedict XVI will have his own account on social networking site Twitter, a monumental occasion within the virtual world. But, within the Vatican, the Pope is not the first to embrace this new technology.
Among the most popular Catholic leaders in cyberspace is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York. He has over 61,500 followers, and uses Twitter frequently to share photos and articles about his latest events. He also shows off his great sense of humor.
Yet despite the popularity among American cardinals, Italian Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi also stands out. The prefect of the Pontifical Council for Culture has 26,000 followers and often tweets in various languages.
Another popular Italian is Angelo Scola, Patriarch of Milan. His latest tweet uses the hashtag #Advent, which kicks off Sunday, and offers advice on how to spend that time. He even has his own web page, www.angeloscola.it.
Meanwhile, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley has his own blog, which he updates weekly, and his own Twitter account to share photos and articles with his 6,700 followers.
The archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Luis Martínez Sistach, is new to social networking and follows only 22 people, among them the Catalunya Cristiana weekly. He has over 1,000 followers, and growing.
Still other Princes of the Church are sticking to Facebook. Newly created Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, has over 100,000 likes on his Facebook profile.
With Benedict XVI slated to join cyberspace, it is likely that he will top the rankings in the coming days.