In an unprecedented and never before seen move, the Vatican is offering “indulgences” to Twitter followers of Pope Francis’ account.
We cannot blame the Vatican for trying to keep up with the times and attract the younger members of the Catholic Church.
This comes in light of World Youth Day, a week-long event taking place from July 22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Indulgences are granted to those who perform certain tasks that are considered out of the ordinary such as climbing the Sacred Steps in Rome, which earns believers seven years off purgatory.
Attending events such as World Youth Day can also earn an indulgence, but Rome realizes that it is not possible for everyone to attend for different reasons.
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.
This is the first time the Vatican is including sites such as Twitter in their acceptable means of obtaining an indulgence.
In recent years attending events such as holy masses during Lent via television stations like EWTN, the Catholic network, have been approved for the obtaining of indulgences.
The announcement is clear that the time online should not be spent being social,
“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.”
Other conditions for obtaining the indulgence via social media are to having previously confessed and be truly contrite of sins committed.
Aside from the Pope’s popular Twitter account, who has garnered over two million followers, the Vatican has an app that can be downloaded on smartphones, they’ll start a Facebook page, and they have also said they plan to use Pinterest.
What do you think of the Vatican’s move to give indulgences for attending events on Twitter?