(To my regular readers, I've taken a few days off from blogging due to a death in my family. My wife's (our?) aunt died from cancer last week, and we have been in mourning. I'll be writing about the experience in the next monthly Thank you letter that I send to email subscribers.)
I found this story, Pope Francis Offers Indulgences To Twitter, Social Media Followers Of World Youth Day on the Huffington Post, and then followed a link to the original article from The Guardian, Vatican offers 'time off purgatory' to followers of Pope Francis tweets.
The newest marketing pitch from the Holy See is as awful as the title of those articles suggest. (Quotes are form the latter article.)
In its latest attempt to keep up with the times the Vatican has married one of its oldest traditions to the world of social media by offering "indulgences" to followers of Pope Francis' tweets.
The church's granted indulgences reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory after they have confessed and been absolved of their sins.I'm wondering if you get more indulgences if you retweet the pope. What if you post them on your facebook page? Does one get more purgatorian relief if one has more followers? I think there should be a council of some sort to hash out these important issues.
Oh, wait, there are terms and conditions that apply to getting indulgences. If there weren't then the entire celestial market would be flooded with the things and lose their inherent value.
But a senior Vatican official warned web-surfing Catholics that indulgences still required a dose of old-fashioned faith, and that paradise was not just a few mouse clicks away.
"You can't obtain indulgences like getting a coffee from a vending machine," Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, head of the pontifical council for social communication, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.What does a good Catholic have to do then?
But attendance at events such as the Catholic World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro, a week-long event starting on 22 July, can also win an indulgence.
Mindful of the faithful who cannot afford to fly to Brazil, the Vatican's sacred apostolic penitentiary, a court which handles the forgiveness of sins, has also extended the privilege to those following the "rites and pious exercises" of the event on television, radio and through social media.
"That includes following Twitter," said a source at the penitentiary, referring to Pope Francis' Twitter account, which has gathered seven million followers. "But you must be following the events live. It is not as if you can get an indulgence by chatting on the internet."Big difference there, eh? When the pope live tweets from Brazil you better pay attention!
I thought I'd end this post with Laughing in Purgatory's own incentive program for sharing .