Pope Benedict XVI has tweeted his support for the March for Life taking place today in Washington DC.
“I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life,” the Holy Father wrote this afternoon on the micro-blogging site.
This is the first time the Pope has used @pontifex - his personal Twitter account - to express his support for a direct cause, as opposed to issuing statements on the faith.
The March for Life, which this year marks the 40th anniversary of Roe vs Wade, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to the U.S. capital today.
Earlier this week, Bishop Carrasco de Paula, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said the U.S. march is an historic witness to the sanctity of human life. “[It is] very important, not only for the country, but for the whole world,”, he told CNA Jan. 23. “These events which favor human life without limits, from conception until the end, have become a very important historical reference for all other Catholic countries worldwide,” he added.
An estimated 20,000 demonstrators took part in the first March for Life. Last year, there were estimated to be over 400,000.
Yesterday, the Pope urged the faithful to use social networks like Twitter and Facebook to help spread the Gospel message and win converts. He also launched “The Pope App” – a new iPhone app streaming live footage of his homilies and addresses.
Social media websites could be used as “portals of truth and faith” in an increasingly secular age, the Holy Father said in his 2013 World Day of Social Communications message whose theme is “Social Networks: Portals of Truth and Faith; New Spaces for Evangelisation".
“Unless the Good News is made known also in the digital world, it may be absent in the experience of many people,” he added. He also lauded connections made online which he said could blossom into true friendships. Life on the internet was not a purely virtual world but “increasingly becoming part of the very fabric of society,” he said.
“There should be no lack of coherence or unity in the expression of our faith and witness to the Gospel in whatever reality we are called to live, whether physical or digital,” the Pope continued. “When we are present to others, in any way at all, we are called to make known the love of God to the furthest ends of the earth.”