What Would You #AskPontifex? Tell Me & Win

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week (the same one my non-tweeting husband lives under), you’ve heard the exciting news that Pope Benedict XVI has officially launched his Twitter presence and that he will begin tweeting next week on December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and of the unborn. As I write this, his Twitter profile at @Pontifex has already garnered over half a million followers even before having tweeted. He is currently following the seven other alternative language profiles created to address us in a variety of languages.

It’s been announced that the Holy Father will occasionally respond to inquiries from the faithful and others who have questions of faith by using the hashtag #AskPontifex. For the uninitiated or non-geeks among us, a hashtag is defined as “A tag embedded in a message posted on the Twitter microblogging service, consisting of a word within the message prefixed with a hash sign.” Using the search feature on Twitter, it’s possible and actually highly engaging to follow various hashtags being discussed on the social media. Many of us involved in the New Evangelization are actively employing hashtags in our work. When major news hits, I honestly frequently check Twitter hashtags along with consulting trusted media sources. It’s often possible to get a terrific eyewitness perspective this way.

So #askpontifex opens up a beautiful potential for dialogue. Yes, our Holy Father will likely respond on occasion to queries. But the truth is you and I can do so as well — by frequently checking the hashtag and engaging with folks there, we have the opportunity to be on the front lines of the New Evangelization and to engage even doubters and idiots with love and respect — but especially with the truth. Here are a few recent examples of questions asked today:

Recent questions asked at #askpontifex at Twitter

My fellow Patheos Catholic Channel bloggers have been engaging in a dialogue about #askpontifex and thought it would be interesting for many of us to share what we would ask the Holy Father using this hashtag. Our own Elizabeth Scalia  addressed this topic yesterday and you’ll see many of our Channel’s bloggers taking it up in the days ahead.  I’ve pondered too many of the questions I might ask him in my own simple way. They include his recommendations for sharing the faith with my young adult sons, his words on his favorite saints, and the obvious, “will you come to my house for dinner?” But I think if given one shot, my question would have to be:

Dear @Pontifex in what ways did your mother pass the faith along to you & what advice do you have for Catholic Moms today? #askpontifex

The Church and New Media – comment and win!

And now it’s your turn. I’d like to know what you would ask @Pontifex in 140 characters or less. Please leave your comments here on the blog, but feel free to tweet them too using #askpontifex!

To entice you to comment, I am going to draw one random question from our commenters here to win a copy of the fantastic book The Church and New Media by Brandon Vogt.

Leave your comment by midnight pacific on Friday, December 7, 2012 to be eligible for this drawing.

Update: Congratulations to Natalie, our winner. Thanks to all who shared their thoughts and comments!

About Lisa M. Hendey

Lisa Hendey is the founder and webmaster of CatholicMom.com and the author of The Grace of YesA Book of Saints for Catholic Moms and The Handbook for Catholic Moms. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and is a frequent television and radio guest and host. Visit her at LisaHendey.com.

  • http://deegray.com Dee Gray

    My question would be — “What took you so long?!?”

  • http://mycatholicfamilycircus.blogspot.com/ Jackie C

    My question to the Pope would be:
    How would he be able to reach out on twitter to lukewarm Catholics that think that the church has to change it’s traditional views to this ever changing world? For as a traditional Catholic, I find that my lukewarm friends and family, think I am too extreme. I think the problem may lie in the U.S. priests and bishops that are sliding off a little on the tradition of the Church and not standing by the true convictions and traditions that Catholic Church has to offer. Just a thought that I hope would be answered in lay terms for Catholics that believe that the faith right now in the United States is under scrutiny to conform with the ‘cultural (far left) world”. God bless you Holy Father.

  • Margaret Rose Realy

    Your Holiness, where in the gardens is your favorite place to sit and talk with God?

  • http://aknottedlife.blogspot.com Bonnie

    Well, you can see what I asked him: What’s a favorite childhood memory. I hope he answers and I hope it’s something about one of his parents. Your question is goooood, Lisa.

    To be honest, the reason I asked was because so many of the questions were mean, ugly, and vile. I love our pope and I wanted him to get another glimmer of that love amongst all the hurt under that hashtag. God bless him.

  • http://theprompt.faithweb.com Anthony Tan

    I’ve tweeted this: @Pontifex Your Holiness, what is your favourite visual work of Art? #AskPontifex

  • Brandee L

    I would ask His Holiness how a new Catholic should be Catholic. I joined the Church a few years ago, but I just don’t know how to fully live my faith.

    • Nan

      Brandee, I know I’m not the pope, and while I’d be interested to hear what he has to say, in the even that he doesn’t choose your question, how to live your faith is going to shift with your growth in faith and changes in your life. Confession, Mass and Adoration are always recommended as are books by faithful Catholics. I’m not an expert myself, but stick to books by the Church Fathers, books by and about Saints and the Holy Father. My diocese is encouraging people to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

      If you look at the lives of the saints and the different charisms of the various religious orders, you’ll see that there isn’t just one way to live your faith. Look at Mother Teresa who first joined a religious order, then was called to found another. Look at St. Dominic, of the Rosary; St. Teresa of Avila’s Carmelite reformation, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, St. Francis, the Carthusians…the list goes on. St. Margaret Mary and the Sacred Heart. On All Saints Day a couple of years ago, my then pastor told us that sins are boring and if you want to look at things that are extraordinary, look at the lives of the saints. Each lived a completely different life than the next and became a saint due to that life. There are tons of books on individual saints, general books on the lives of the saints with short biographies and websites that have subscriptions to send you the saint of the day. While I have several books of saints (one vintage title on Irish saints), and biographies of individual saints, I also subscribe to e-mailed saints and learn a lot that way.

      Know that whatever happens in your life, nothing is too awful to be forgiven; the big mistake Judas made was not in his betrayal of Jesus but in his failure to understand that God loves us so much that he will forgive us any sin so long as we confess and express our contrition. Know also that He loves you more than humans can fully understand. Never despair if he seems far from you; this is when he holds you closest.

  • http://www.dr-cliff.com Dr. Cliff

    My question to the Pope’s is about his thoughts on The Still, Soft Voice: if he senses it or believes in the concept; and how it’s related to the Bible’s writings.

  • http://www.olphglenview.org Natalie

    Your Holiness, if you were stranded on a desert island what one piece of music would you want to have with you to listen to?

  • Pingback: “Shepherds lead as they follow” Even to Twitter

  • Thinkling

    Your Holiness, what books are you reading now? What genres do you read a lot of? What languages do you mostly read in?

    Yeah three for the price of one, but I would imagine his reading habits are quite intriguing.