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In case you didn't already know, the Pope will be in Philadelphia this weekend. Maybe you've seen Facebook posts or selfies with a cutout of Francis lately, but Popes have been hip with new technologies for years. Here are a few facts for you to brush up on your Pope pop culture.



  • Pope Benedict XVI was the first Pope to Tweet on Twitter on Dec. 12, 2012. The day was important because it is the day for the fest of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a saint known for the evangelization of the Americas. This Pope was taking evangelization to Twitter.


  • Benedict the XVI was first to launch a YouTube channel. The Vatican opened the YouTube channel in 2009.


  • Pope Benedict the XVI was the first to have his own bobblehead about 10 years ago.


  • John Paul II was the first to use a Popemobile. Before that, Popes were carried on a chair with poles on the shoulders of 12 bearers.


  • Pope Francis was the first to take a papal selfie. "As a culture, we're less formal, so before where people were afraid to talk to a superior, now people don't mind putting their arm around the Pope," said the Rev. Jonathan Sawicki, pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception— St. Mary's. It's part of his engaging personality, he meets people where they are, said the Rev. Stephen Fernandes, pastor at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Springettsbury Township. This Pope is willing to take technology and capitalize on it, he said.


  • Pope Francis was the first to record a video of himself speaking by cell phone camera, without script.


  • Pope Francis was the first to have a televised virtual audience with Americans part of an ABC News special.


  • Pope Pius the IX was the first Pope to be photographed. People were fascinated with his robes, Sawicki said, because before they had only had paintings of Popes.


  • Pope Pius XI was the first to speak over the radio and was the founder of Vatican radio. He knew radio was the way of reaching the world, and now Vatican radio has expanded and broadcasts in many different languages.


  • Pope Paul VI was the first Pope to fly in a plane. He flew to the Holy Land in 1964.


  • John Paul II was the first to use the Internet when he approved launching the Vatican's website in 1995.


  • John Paul II was the first to release a best-selling CD which was of him reciting the rosary.


  • John Paul II was the first to have a best-selling book called "Crossing the Threshold of Hope". He was also the first Pope to publish a book of poetry. He was an actor, and still wrote poetry even into the end of his life.

-Pope Pop Culture facts from Vatican expert Rocco Palmo of whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com, Diocese of Harrisburg spokesperson Joe Aponick and the Rev. Jonathan Sawicki, pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception- St. Mary's.

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