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Vatican Offers 'Time Off Purgatory' for Following Pope Francis on Twitter


Sinful Catholics can now earn indulgences, reducing the time they'll have to spend in purgatory for their sins, by following Pope Francis on Twitter, the Guardian reports:

FrancisIndulgences these days are granted to those who carry out certain tasks – such as climbing the Sacred Steps, in Rome (reportedly brought from Pontius Pilate's house after Jesus scaled them before his crucifixion), a feat that earns believers seven years off purgatory.

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."

For interested sinners, the Pope's handle is @pontifex.

The Vatican also plans on opening a Pinterest account soon, according to the article, where you'll presumably also be able to buy time by pinning photos of red Prada shoes, and such. Though we doubt time on Venerabilis, the recently-reported  hook-up website for gay priests, will ever count.

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  1. So. God is omnipresent, but if I'm on a ten second delay from Rio I'm headed for hell? How about a three second delay?

    Posted by: melvin | Jul 16, 2013 6:39:12 PM

  2. This is wonderful! Who needs the Communion of the Saints when we've got Twitter?

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Jul 16, 2013 6:46:47 PM

  3. This has to be from The Onion. Otherwise, they need to quit, because they'll never top reality.

    Posted by: Mike in the tundra | Jul 16, 2013 6:47:08 PM

  4. Religion, thy name is hubris.

    Posted by: Joesph Foster | Jul 16, 2013 6:55:06 PM

  5. Do they expect his tweets to be so painful that people who follow them can avoid suffering in purgatory? And does the "sacred apostolic penitentiary" run purgatory these days? Sounds like prison terms reduced by time already served, for people who are convicted at trial.

    Posted by: john patrick | Jul 16, 2013 6:58:39 PM

  6. @ Joseph Foster: you really take this as seriously as hubris?

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Jul 16, 2013 6:59:12 PM

  7. Beats having to pay for it

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Jul 16, 2013 7:14:51 PM

  8. Same garbage, but now it's "high-tech" garbage.

    Posted by: Geoff | Jul 16, 2013 7:59:00 PM

  9. Yup. because the word "Twitter" appears in the Bible. Jesua tweeted as he was being nailed to the cross "Pontius Pilate is so hot he #NailedMeWithThorns

    Posted by: RMc | Jul 16, 2013 8:34:59 PM

  10. Indulgence for following some delusional dude on Twitter? Talk about cheapening your brand. Torquemada must be spinning in his grave.

    Posted by: Onnyjay | Jul 16, 2013 8:37:00 PM

  11. If he adds me for "Candy Crush" contact is a deal ...

    Posted by: MArk | Jul 16, 2013 8:47:30 PM

  12. Yes, hubris as defined is excessive pride, arrogance, or presumption especially as it applies to a/the presumed god/s. It is not man's or the church's place to decide dispositions of presumed souls in a presumed afterlife, that job is presumably God's and a presumed God's alone.

    Posted by: Joesph Foster | Jul 16, 2013 8:51:47 PM

  13. “Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” ― Mark Twain

    Posted by: Dearcomrade | Jul 16, 2013 9:13:31 PM

  14. Christianity, Celebrating the irony of a carpenter being nailed to a piece of wood for two thousand years.

    Posted by: Dearcomrade | Jul 16, 2013 9:15:16 PM

  15. Roman Catholicism, making it up as we go along.

    Posted by: David | Jul 16, 2013 9:15:32 PM

  16. You get to heaven faster if you let the priest follow you into the restroom?

    Posted by: Bob | Jul 16, 2013 9:40:55 PM

  17. It's a joke, yes?

    Posted by: Drummond | Jul 16, 2013 9:50:31 PM

  18. I'll take my absolution via twitter with a side of greasy fries.'s my absolution coupon cause this is my tenth visit and it's free. How pathetic is this $hit?

    Posted by: Paul B. | Jul 16, 2013 10:10:15 PM

  19. I also heard that the dead Pope John Paul II is giving a TV interview next week.

    Posted by: simon | Jul 16, 2013 10:38:35 PM

  20. And there are people who actually believe this stuff?
    I don't know a single one.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jul 16, 2013 10:52:47 PM

  21. Wow, did not think it was possible to respect the church any less, until I read this.

    Posted by: Bubba | Jul 16, 2013 10:56:57 PM

  22. Catholicism is so ridiculous - if purgatory were real, how could these people possibly determine what does and doesn't alter ones time there?

    Posted by: JMC | Jul 16, 2013 11:03:19 PM

  23. If you think that getting time off in Purgatory for following Francis on Twitter is crazy, what must you think about Transubstantiation? That's what happens when the priest says a few "magic" words over a tasteless piece of bread and it becomes the creator of the entire universe. By receiving communion you actually eat God. I kid you not. That is what the Roman Church teaches and hundreds of millions of people believe it.

    Posted by: andrew | Jul 16, 2013 11:09:29 PM

  24. It just get crazier and more stupid all the time. And there are actual people with supposed brains that believe this?

    Posted by: bructer | Jul 17, 2013 12:05:31 AM

  25. Anyone who believes the "source" at the Vatican quoted in this story is as much an idiot as anyone who believes in purgatory and indulgences. Seriously--the Pope is a guy with a doctorate level education who has devoted his life to helping the poor through his vocation, and you think he actually puts any stock in Twitter or in a completely outmoded piece of theology? This is obviously either a joke or a bad source or both.

    Posted by: Edward | Jul 17, 2013 12:27:20 AM

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