Tweets of Our Time

Tweets of Our Time: That New One from The Pope

Pontifex, our Holy Memelord.
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB
Illustration: Sam Taylor; Pope photo via @Pontifex

"Tweets of Our Time" is a series where we usher 140-character missives of great note into a sort of unofficial hall of fame.

Show me the tweet:


Who has done the tweet? Pope Francis, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics (or at least someone who works for him?) has done this tweet.

Hasn't he, er, got form for this sort of thing? He certainly does – His Holiness knows his way around a tweet, as per this much-loved banger from 2015:


This one was particularly amazing because it prompted a load of quote tweets like "your mum when you leave a mug in your bedroom", which were, I'm afraid to say, both relatable and funny.

Very seriously, with banter this lip-smacking, why has he not quit being the Pope to become a memelord? It really does seem like a missed opportunity, doesn’t it? Though I would say there's probably job more clout-y than being "God's Representative on Earth".

Anyway, back to the tweet in question. What the fuck? It appears that during the World Youth Day Catholic summit in Panama over the weekend, the Pope experienced a moment of divine inspiration. 'To reach out to young people, one must speak their language,' thought Pontifex. 'And what do young people like more than anything? They like smashing the mf like on Instagram.' I like to think that, in a moment of reflection – after a really cracking few "Our Fathers", or something – it occurred to Pope Francis that the Virgin Mary was really the first and most powerful "influencer" (???) because she influenced God into putting the baby Jesus in her by saying, "OK then." Then this tweet, like Jesus from Mary's virgin womb, was born.

Hang on, does this even make sense? I mean, no. If anyone is the influencer here, it is God, because – if you’re following Catholic logic, at least – he's the one who actually made the immaculate conception happen (at this moment, I'd like to thank my 11 years of extremely biased Catholic education for my knowledge in this area). If the Bible is to be taken literally, God also influenced the universe into being; influenced a lad into making the world’s biggest boat and herding two of every single possible animal onto it (because he wanted to flood the entire world to purge it of sin x); and influenced his kid into rising from the dead. In today's terms, God is like the Kim Kardashian of deities. If God had an Instagram, he'd have like 50 million followers, a multi-product makeup line and an ongoing war with Kylie Jenner, which would see them constantly trying to outdo each other for Most Liked Post of All Time.

Regardless of the small matter of "making sense", this is a phenomenal Twete, isn't it? It is. The tweet is good because it possesses the je ne sais quoi that makes many legendary tweets so. It borders on absolute fucking nonsense, for one, and for another, it kind of crosses a line you’re desperately willing it to step over. Like, as soon as you see the word "influential", alarm bells start going off a bit and you wonder if he's about to say what you think he’s going to say, but you don’t quite believe he’s actually going to do it. And then he DOES – he calls the Virgin Mary an influencer – and, by the time you read the words "'influencer' of God", you’re experiencing a near-religious euphoria. I want to put this tweet on my shoulders. I want to book this tweet a victory tour, put it atop an open top bus, throw it a parade. It's amazing.

Is Catholicism… good now? Absolutely not.