Pope tweets: Benedict XVI breaks ice on @Pontifex account

Pope Benedict XVI has

sent his first tweet

, the first time the head of the Catholic Church has waded into the waters of 140-character social networking, and blessing all 675,000+ of his English-language followers. The first message followed a high-profile run up to the Twitter debut, with the Pontiff's plans to expand his social media footprint revealed last week.

"Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart" Pope Benedict XVI

Currently, the Vatican is using the @Pontifex account as a broadcast medium, not one necessarily for discussion. There are eight accounts, catering for eight different languages, and so far each only follows the other seven.

According to the


, the Pope won't be writing each of the messages sent out of the eight different accounts. Instead, he will "sign off" on each message; the Vatican released an image of him supposedly hitting "Tweet" on an iPad earlier.

Later today, according to the

Washington Post

, the Pope will "respond to a few messages" via Twitter.