Papal fans will have to stick with snail mail

Screenshot of the Vatican web site's homepage. In 2005, the Vatican internet office created a special email address for the new pope, but there won't be one this time.

Screenshot of the Vatican web site’s homepage. In 2005, the Vatican Internet office created a special email address for Pope Benedict, but there won’t be one this time for Pope Francis.

VATICAN CITY — When Pope Benedict XVI was elected pope in 2005, the Vatican quickly (just 16 hours after his election) set up six different email addresses by language for well-wishers to send greetings and prayers.

Just two days after the accounts were set up, the Vatican Internet office received over 56,000 emails. But as more people found out about the addresses, the servers soon crashed, prompting the Vatican, this time around, to no longer continue the shortly-lived tradition.

Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told journalists today that the 2005 initiative triggered “an avalanche  of messages that put the system in crisis.”

The small staff at the Internet office is also “unable to respond to the number of emails that come in,” therefore,  an email address is not currently in the cards, he said.

“I don’t know if it will happen in the future, but for now there are no plans,” he said.

So greetings, messages and notes will have to go via Twitter @Pontifex. Or if 140 characters aren’t enough, there’s always the old-fashioned way: via snail mail to His Holiness Pope Francis, 00120 Vatican City State. But don’t go overboard or the poor papal postmen lugging all those the letters might protest and discourage that option too!