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.


  1. john patrick says

    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.

  2. RMc says

    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

  3. Joesph Foster says

    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.

  4. Paul B. says

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

  5. andrew says

    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.

  6. Edward says

    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.

  7. Bill says

    @Bob: don’t know if you’ll get to heaven faster, but the priest may figuratively get to stay in heaven longer if you are talented in a certain way that would surely trip some filters if spelled out.

  8. DannyEastVillage says

    @ Joseph Foster: Yes I understood your point, but I don’t think you got mine: hubris is a disturbing, soul-destroying trait in a person. By contrast, the Vatican’s continuing the idea of “indulgences” and then tying them to Twitter is just, well, silly.

  9. says

    I always think it’s funny when elements of religion collide with elements of economy. Why can’t you buy your way out of hell? Does it make more sense, is it less ridiculous, to just be interred in hell for all time? After all Heaven has a class system, meaning they have currency of some form, meaning they have debt. Heaven has slaves, why shouldn’t hell?

    Of course it all falls apart under this kind of scrutiny, but I have always loved the Mormon religion. From an atheist outsider perspective, it is a shamanistic religion, one person has a direct connection to god and can literally talk back and forth with him. In olden days that made the shaman a very important man, now it makes him a bureaucrat. An old Mormon friend of mine once wrote a letter to god to ask if she could pierce her ears, god wrote back and said she totally could, she showed all the people at her church the letter (I guess earrings are like banned or something).

    If you are gonna believe in something made up, at least have fun with it!

  10. Jerry6 says

    It took me over eight minnots (sp?) to stop laughing enough to type this comment. Is this Pope so stupid as believe that ANY mentally sound person really believes in the Heaven-Hell-Purgatory nonsense any more? The only “Heaven-Hell-Purgatory” that exists is in the memories of living people who actually knew, or had heard about, any person in question.

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