After more than a week of buzz and anticipation, Pope Benedict XVI tweeted for the first time this morning. The 85-year-old pontiff’s first tweet was in English. It was sent from a tablet device and racked up over 24,000 retweets in under two hours.

http://twitter.com/Pontifex/statuses/278819486377840640

https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/278820239943274497

The pope offered a prayer before sending his first tweet.

https://twitter.com/finansakrobat/status/278815579966672899

While the pope’s first tweet was in English, he quickly followed up with tweets from his other accounts.

https://twitter.com/Pontifex_es/status/278809804443615232

https://twitter.com/Pontifex_it/status/278810174389637120

https://twitter.com/Pontifex_fr/status/278810174406414336

https://twitter.com/Pontifex_pl/status/278810174444150784

https://twitter.com/Pontifex_ar/status/278810307789484032

https://twitter.com/Pontifex_de/status/278810362801967104

https://twitter.com/Pontifex_pt/status/278810428803526656

And predictably, the death wishes and hate weren’t far behind. The pope offered blessings to all and these are just some of the disgusting tweets he received in response.

https://twitter.com/iCumBl00d/status/278809231250055168

https://twitter.com/TicknerJ/status/278832874604617728

https://twitter.com/MathiesonAlex/status/278828344890507264

https://twitter.com/ExpectLulz/status/278819953975640064

https://twitter.com/biodingo/status/278827649193889792

https://twitter.com/CAXXIMIEI/status/278831653235879936

https://twitter.com/PatrickKidney2/status/278832856397123585

Disgraceful. It seems these are the people most in need of the pope’s blessings.

Update:

The pope’s first tweet now has over 28,000 retweets.

And the hate continues with repulsive fake retweets.

https://twitter.com/A_Bit_2_Rude/status/278815060116258816

Update:

The man has amazing social media reach: 31,000 retweets and counting.

The haters might scoff at the pope’s blessing, but what wouldn’t they give for a retweet?

Update:

At 9:00 a.m. ET, the pope sent additional English-language tweets.

http://twitter.com/Pontifex/statuses/278861784008499201

http://twitter.com/Pontifex/statuses/278862015253061633

And at 10:15 a.m., the first papal tweet has blown past 38,000 retweets.

Update:

It’s not even noon on the East Coast and the pope’s first tweet has been retweeted more than 41,000 times.

Update:

The pope solicits your suggestions on how to be more prayerful. Based on earlier response, this should ratchet up the disgusting hate to previously unseen levels.

https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/278907093065535488

https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/278907314810023938

Update: