Twitter Might Get You Into Heaven a Little Faster, Vatican Reveals
Pope Francis: Vatican's Twitter Followers Can Now Spend Less Time in Purgatory
Vatican: Shorten Time in Purgatory By Following Pope on Twitter
Pope Francis Offers Catholic Forgiveness for Their Sins on Twitter During World Youth Day
UK Daily Express
Pope to Grant Plenary Indulgences by Twitter
Des Moines Register
And my favorite:
Follow the Church on Twitter...Or Burn In Purgatory
National Catholic Register
LINCOLN, Neb. — In contrast with media reports of “time off of purgatory” for Pope Francis’ Twitter followers, a canon lawyer explained that indulgences are a way that the Church encourages Christians to prayer.
“Because the Church has the spiritual authority that Christ has given it, the Church can invite us to particularly sanctifying moments and particularly sanctifying opportunities,” JD Flynn, special assistant to Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Neb., explained to CNA July 18.
An indulgence is defined as the remission of the temporal punishment — the required atonement by which an individual makes reparation — due to sins that have already been forgiven.
The Vatican announced July 9 that Pope Francis had mandated that the faithful can receive indulgences through participation in World Youth Day.
A plenary indulgence is offered once a day to those who “devoutly participate in the sacred rites and exercise of devotion” taking place as part of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro from July 22 to 29. The announcement was made June 24 by decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican office dealing with indulgences and confession.
Plenary indulgences are also offered to those who cannot attend the event yet who “participate in spirit in the sacred functions,” provided they follow the rites and exercises by television, radio, or “always with the proper devotion, through the new means of social communication.”
Some mainstream media outlets proclaimed Twitter followers were getting out of purgatory.
Flynn, who holds a licentiate in canon law from Catholic University of America, explained that “a better way to say it would be that the Vatican recognizes that the more time we spend in prayer, the less time we spend in purgatory.”
Allowing indulgences to those who follow World Youth Day through “the new means of social communication,” is “really an invitation to spend time in prayer with the pilgrims of World Youth Day,” he said.
“And because of the Church’s authority, that prayer comes with the special graces of an indulgence.”
Indulgences are based on the Church’s “special recognition … that certain activities, and activities especially at certain times, can be particularly sanctifying,” Flynn said.
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