Call it “Vatican 3″, call it the Catholic church keeping up with the times, call it the newest service offered via social media. Call it what you will, it’s a novel twist. The Vatican is offering indulgences to people who follow Pope Francis on Twitter. That’s right, Papal tweets can get you indulgences.
In case you are not familiar with the concept of ‘indulgences’ as the term applies to the Catholic church, the granting of an indulgence essentially reduces or removes the amount of time that you will have to spend in purgatory due to your sins. You can think of it sort of like time off for good behaviour or, in this case, time reduced for following the Pope on Twitter.
Typically indulgences are obtained by completing some sort of faith-based task, although there was a period in history when they were being sold, resulting in scandal and the indulgences’ fall from grace for a time (this was rectified when, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “in 1567 Pope Pius V canceled all grants of indulgences involving any fees or other financial transactions”).
Warns Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, head of the pontifical council for social communication, “You can’t obtain indulgences like getting a coffee from a vending machine.”
In these modern times, indulgences can be earned through such faith-based acts as attending the World Youth Day.
And following the Pope on Twitter.
Given this, we also have to assume that Pope Francis is the Mayor of Vatican City.
You can follow the Pope on Twitter here.