December 30, 2012. (Romereports.com)
In December, Benedict XVI became the first Pope in history to use Twitter
. The news made headlines, and contributed to gaining nearly a million followers in one week. His first message was a thank you note to his followers. He then answered a few question about faith, sent by a few of his followers from around the globe.
One of December's highlights was the Pope's audience with circus performers
. Hundreds of clowns, trapezists, and majorettes took over Vatican City. The pope met with them, and as a gift they performed for him. The audience even featured a special appearance by a lion cub.
Another big announcement happened in early December, when the Pope unveiled his new Popemobile. It's more secure and allows better views of the pontiff. He took his first ride through Rome for the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
“It reminds us that the power of God's love is stronger than evil. It can fill all the gaps provoked by people's selfishness, families, nations and the world.”
At the end of the month, the Pope declared former pontiff Paul VI as venerable, clearing the way for his beatification within one or two years. He was the pope that closed off the Second Vatican Council, and he named Joseph Ratzinger archbishop of Munich, and created him cardinal.
For Christmas, the Pope gave thanks to a southern Italian city for donating a spruce Christmas tree. It features prominently on St. Peter's Square. Benedict XVI took that time to remind everyone of the significance of the tree.
“God made man and has been among us to disperse the shadows of error and sin, leaving mankind its divine light. This light, which is symbolized by the tree, has not waned as the centuries and millenniums go by, instead it continues to glow among us to light up each man that comes into the world.”
This Christmas will also be a bit more austere at the Vatican. The city-state announced new measure to manage expenses. An an example, this year's Nativity set was sponsored by a city, and not by the Vatican.
VIC @JavierMbrocal /RCarr