02/28/2013 04:00 pm ET Updated Feb 28, 2013

Pope Twitter Account Transforms As Benedict Resigns, Tweets Deleted

Pope Benedict XVI is pope no more. The Vatican wasted no time reflecting that on his official Twitter account.

All of his tweets were deleted on the social network (though an archive preserves them here), his picture has been replaced with the papal seal, and the account's name is now "Sede Vacante." That last phrase is Latin for "the seat being vacant," as journalist Gio Benitez pointed out.

The scrubbing of tweets and other changes would seem to suggest the account is not shutting down completely, contrary to an earlier report. It has accumulated 1.6 million followers since launching in December, so it would seem wise for the Catholic Church to pass those on to the next Pope.

Indeed, Monsignor Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, confirmed that the papal account will be inactive until a new Pope is chosen, “not shut down,” Alex Kantrowitz reported for Forbes.

Pope Benedict XVI was notably the first Pope to have a Facebook and Twitter account.

What happens now, with no Pope currently serving the Church? HuffPost Religion's Jaweed Kaleem explains here.



Pope's Last Day