Cardinals will not allowed to access their Twitter accounts during conclave, according to Catholic News Service. This restriction is applicable to the 9 cardinals who have Twitter accounts. In all, there are "117 red-vested princes of the church who are eligible to vote for a new pope."

"[T]he College of Cardinals does include at least nine active tweeters," reports the Catholic News Service. "From the moment they enter the Sistine Chapel to cast their ballots, they will be forbidden access to their accounts along with all other forms of communication with the outside world."

The pope himself recently joined Twitter last year, and now has over 1.5 million followers.

Many of the cardinals who use Twitter have taken to the social media tool to mention the pope's resignation, which was announced last week.

The news service reports:

After the pope's announcement, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, (@CardRavasi) president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, almost immediately tweeted a traditional prayer in Latin: "Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genetrix" ("Under thy protection we seek refuge, O Holy Mother of God.")

The Italian cardinal, often mentioned on pundits' lists of possible popes, has more than 35,400 followers and tweets frequently.

Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Scherer of Sao Paulo (@DomOdiloScherer) is not a daily tweeter. But on Feb. 14 he used Twitter, with its 140-character maximum for messages, to comment, "I am impressed with the interpretations I have read of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI."

The cardinal has more than 22,700 Twitter followers.

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