By Kevin J. Jones
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York debuted on Twitter last week, adapting his engaging, humorous style to the popular microblogging site and quickly becoming the third most followed cardinal.
“Hey everybody. It’s Timothy Cardinal Tebow. I mean Dolan,” the cardinal’s first tweet said May 8, alluding to the new New York Jets quarterback and football star Tim Tebow.
The cardinal uses Twitter to talk about his daily actions, his appearances on SiriusXM Radio’s The Catholic Channel, and events like Mother’s Day.
Although limited to 140 characters per tweet, he has also touched on spiritual matters.
“St Therese of Lisieux reminds us that doing the ordinary things of life extraordinarily well, for the glory of God, is the path to sanctity,” he said May 10.
“Every person or institution will eventually let us down. Our ultimate trust must be in God and we will never be disappointed,” he said the day before.
Cardinal Dolan also uses Twitter to send his readers to the full texts of his speeches and statements. He published a link to his full commencement speech for the Catholic University of America and sent out a link to his May 9 statement which called President Obama’s support for same-sex marriage “deeply saddening.”
As of Wednesday, more than 7,500 people were following the cardinal, who heads the U.S. bishops’ conference. By comparison, the bishops’ conference itself has attracted about 18,700 followers on Twitter since its January 2009 debut.
The cardinal added over 2,500 followers on each of his first two days on Twitter, according to the website TwitterCounter.com.
At least six other cardinals have taken to Twitter. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council of Culture, has 18,600 followers, Cardinal Odilo Scherer of Sao Paolo has 13,700 and Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan has 7,200.
After Cardinal Dolan come Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who has 3,800 followers, Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City with 2,800, and Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of Durban, South Africa, who has 1,300 followers.
Cardinal Dolan’s Twitter page is at twitter.com/CardinalDolan.