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False Alarm: Twitter Account of Cardinal Claiming to Announce Death of Benedict is Fake

© DR

Jesús Colina - published on 03/28/13

Vatican confirms Benedict is still alive

While Benedict lived his first Holy Thursday as Pope emeritus in the retreat of Castel Gandolfo, the Twitter account of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran announced in English, Spanish, French, and Italian, on behalf of the Holy See, that he had died shortly before 3:00 P.M. in Rome.

A shudder went through the Vaticanists who saw the announcement, which came right after the intense days that the Church had lived through with Pope Benedict's resignation and the election of his successor, Pope Francis.

In the absence of statements from the Vatican or other sources of information, Aleteia telephoned Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Information Office of the Holy See, who with wry humor responded that Benedict's doctor is not the least bit worried.

Father Lombardi also confirmed that the Twitter account of Cardinal Tauran is fake. The author of the fake profile took advantage of the high visibility of the French cardinal, who was tasked with pronouncing the "Habemus Papam" from the balcony of the basilica of St. Peter's Basilica to announce the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

This is not the first time that Twitter has announced the death of Benedict XVI. On January 29, when Pope Benedict was in the midst of his ministry as Bishop of Rome, a fake Twitter account of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone also announced his death.

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