In its latest attempt to keep up with the times the Vatican has married one of its oldest traditions to the world of social media by offering “indulgences” to followers of Pope Francis’ tweets.
The church’s granted indulgences reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory after they have confessed and been absolved of their sins.
In fairness to Pope Francis, the offered benefits only apply if you are following these tweets live during the Pope’s visit to Rio later this month. But still there are quite a few problems with this whole Twitter thing.
First of all, purgatory does not exist.
Secondly, any spiritual gain is a matter of grace not human effort. Indulgences were part of the Protestant Reformation’s critique of the Roman church. During that time of history, people could receive an indulgence by making contributions to the papal emissaries. Biblical Christianity declares that the cost of our salvation was paid by Jesus when he gave his life on the cross. We are freely offered pardon by the grace of God.
Thirdly, involving following along on Twitter with spiritual gain is almost laughable…if it were not so sad.
If you follow me on Twitter, I hope you find occasional inspiration amidst the tweets about sports and life.
But to put it more succinctly, below are the three guaranteed spiritual benefits of following @fgantz on Twitter: