How do you reinvigorate an institution that prides itself on preserving two thousand years of history? That is the challenge Jorge Mario Bergoglio faced when he became Pope Francis in March 2013. From the beginning, with his commitment to "remember the poor," Francis embarked on a mission to "rebrand" the Church so that it better reflected its founder, Jesus Christ, instead of preserving institutional power and prestige. Amid surprising pronouncements and reforms and a humble and humorous approach to his office, Francis's most surprising strategy may be his decision to leverage a modern innovation that his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, had begun to use: a Twitter account with which, for the first time in history, the pope can communicate directly with his global flock. With more than 21 million followers reading Tweets in 9 languages, Francis regularly posts his 140-character (or less) sermons a few times each week.
The Boston Globe and Crux journalist Michael O'Loughlin argues that Pope Francis's social media output reveals the secret to his popularity and provides a window into his priorities, passions, and exciting and revolutionary vision for the Church. With chapters on the primary themes used in Francis's Tweets—the poor, forgiveness, immigration, youth, mercy, joy, even "sports," and more—O'Loughlin explains the biographical and historical context for what the pope writes as well the spirituality these posts embody. Surprisingly, O'Loughlin discovers that by following these 140-character sermons, we not only better understand the pope's revolutionary agenda but can also be inspired to be better Christians.