Social Media Coverage Of Private Pope Elections

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SCRANTON -- Father Rick Malloy is tackling an interesting topic with his class at the University of Scranton: the top secret selection of the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church in a world that treats almost nothing as top secret.

“They`ve got a machine in the Sistine Chapel so the cardinals can`t tweet!” said Fr. Malloy, S.J.

The world is atwitter about the pope`s election on Twitter and Facebook and blogs.

Father Malloy says this is how his students get their news.

“It`s the only way, that`s the world they know. We hear that they don`t even look at email anymore, I got to figure out how to text them,” said Fr. Malloy.

Even the Vatican itself is having to tackle this issue.

Several members of the College of Cardinals have twitter accounts, including New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Italian Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi.

“It is certainly interesting, considering they`re all like my grandpa`s age and he doesn`t even own a computer or turn one on, but I think it`s a good thing that they`re seeing that is a way to reach people,” said junior Alex Barbolish.

While in the conclave, the cardinals are forbidden contact with the outside world.

According to published reports, the Vatican has installed jamming devices to block cell phone and internet transmissions.

“A conclave of priest because it`s supposed to be a sacred and holy tradition and the fact that they need to install devices to block it, it`s a little overboard, it has it`s goods and bads,” said senior Mario Adajar.

Still, students say this shows the church is entering a new age, with a new leader.

A new leader who, like his predecessor Pope Benedict, may have his own Twitter or Facebook account.

“I`m going to like that post,” said Adajar.

“I would follow him on Twitter but I don’t have Twitter,” said Barbolish.