With a week before his first tweet the popularity of the Pope’s Twitter account swelled enourmously within 24 hours, reaching nearly half a million followers on the social site. The first tweet from Benedict XVI will not come out until December 12.

The most popular of the Pope’s eight accounts is the English-language version@Pontifex, which has well over 350,000 followers. Adding the pontif’s seven other language versions, more than 500,000 Twitter users have suscribed to his account in a 24-hour span.

The questions on faith many users are asking the Pope using the hash tag #askpontifex are also visible. Examples include, “Who do you hope to reach most of all with your Twitter account?” or “How does the Catholic Church plan to respond to future advances in our scientific understanding of the world?” Users will have to wait a few more days to get their answers.

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