Pope Francis is big on emphasizing the value of social media, and has both a Twitter and an Instagram account.
“Emails, text messages, social networks and chats can also be fully human forms of communication…” he said in his message for the 50th World Communications Day. “Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote the good of society, but they can also lead to further polarization and division between individuals and groups. The digital world is a public square, a meeting-place where we can either encourage or demean one another, engage in a meaningful discussion or unfair attacks.”
Here are 14 Catholics who excel at Twitter:
- Pope Francis (@Pontifex)
Not only is it the pope but he posts simple tweets that directly relate to things being talked about right now around the world. Far and away the #1 Catholic Twitter account for followers and activity.
- Cardinal Wilfred Napier (@CardinalNapier)
Cardinal Napier from South Africa is the only Cardinal on Twitter who might just respond to a tweet you send him or might retweet random Catholic stuff he finds interesting. He clearly manages his own Twitter account. He provides a full view on Twitter, not just links to his videos or blog posts.
- Mark Hart (@LT_TheBiblegeek)
Mark Hart works for Life Teen and posts interesting reflections on the Gospels and family life that often manage to be funny and insightful at the same time. He has published a book of his tweets.
- Audrey Assad (@audreyassad)
This Catholic singer-songwriter specializes in great worship music and posts about ordinary life and injustices around the world that make her heart bleed. She has a real heart for justice and has no fear of offending people on both sides when pointing out the morality of certain circumstances.
- Common Catholic Girl (@comcatholicgrl)
There are several anonymous Catholic humor accounts on Twitter. In my opinion this one is a cut above the rest because the person running it manages to engage the culture both on Twitter and in general. She lets you into the mind of a young single woman trying to live a Catholic life and seasons her tweets with humor.
If you want inspirational saint quotes, intercessory prayer or Catholic twitter storms, I think this family is the best. They control a whole slew of Twitter accounts.
- John Allen Jr. (@JohnLAllenJr)
John Allen Jr. is, in my opinion at least, the best reporter on the pope and Vatican in the English language. Most of his posts are links to articles on Crux, which is the news website he runs, but he also engages by RTing others and replying to questions.
- Tommy Tighe (@theghissilent)
Also known as The Catholic Hipster, Tommy posts some humorous stuff about living as a Catholic dad; he also podcasts. As I was composing this list, I tweeted a request for suggestions and his name came up far more often than anyone not already on the list. He shows how to use Twitter in ordinary life and with a bit of humor to evangelize.
- Leah Libresco (@LeahLibresco)
Leah became famous 4 years ago in the Catholic world with the headline, “Prominent atheist blogger converts to Catholicism.” Right now she writes for the statistics news site, FiveThirtyEight, and blogs a combination of statistical analysis of everything imaginable, math jokes and neat Catholic stuff. She shows how you can live as a Catholic while fully immersed in the world as a secular journalist.
- Catholic Life (@CatholicPrblm)
Similar to @comcatholicgrl, this account takes a broad perspective on Catholic life, pointing out what we can take lightheartedly while defending the faith strongly against serious attack.
Honorable mentions (These seem worthwhile too but don’t fit in a top 10 list)
- John Yep (@John_Yep_)
John is a seminarian from the Archdiocese of Los Angles who posts daily 15-second insta-homilies from locations that underscore his point. He has more energy than the Energizer bunny.
- Hannah Williams (Hannah not Montana – @hanmariams)
Hannah is a college student who tweets about her ordinary life and posts interesting and humorous tweets about faith and life.
- Fr Jonathan Morris (@fatherjonathan)
Fr. Jonathan is familiar as a priest who is an occasional commentator on Fox News and author of a few books, the most recent being The Serenity Prayer. He posts his weekly homilies and a bit on the news.
- Jennifer Fulwiler (@jenfulwiler)
Of the various accounts from Catholic radio personalities, I like this one best. I think Jen brings out her personality through Twitter and actively engages people. However, no Catholic radio personalities made the top 10, as you need to be a listener to enjoy them fully.
- This list is not meant to feature the most famous Catholics on Twitter, but the Catholics who use Twitter best: the best Catholics using this specific medium. For example, @BishopBarron posts links to all his great YouTube videos but does not post original content to Twitter.
- I tried to get a mix of different types of accounts – humor, news, inspiration, etc. – since I think a balanced Catholic life is best.
- I’ve preferred those who promote the Church as a whole over those who promote a specific perspective. For this reason I excluded accounts devoted exclusively to one particular aspect of Church life or Catholic teaching. I also excluded accounts focused on political debate.
Full disclosure: I’ve had reciprocal Twitter interactions (they’ve responded to me or RTed me) from most on this list, and I know some of these people offline.