Indulgences via Twitter

Pope Francis will be offering a plenary indulgence–that is, a full release from Purgatory for sins committed up to that point–for those who follow the World Youth Day activities on Twitter or other social media sites.

When you read the glowing account of “forgiveness” in the following news story, realize that, according to Roman Catholic doctrine, you have to pay a penalty for your sins by doing time in Purgatory even for sins that have been forgiven and even for sins that have been confessed and absolved.  They won’t damn you, but you still have to be punished for them.  The formula given in Luther’s time was three years of torment for each sin you have committed.  You do the math.  An indulgence, though, would apply the extra merits of the saints, a treasury administered by the church, to you, remitting a certain number of years of that penalty, or in the case of a plenary indulgence, the whole sentence, though the sins you commit today and afterwards will still count against you.  Used to you could buy indulgences, but after the counter-Reformation reforms, you get them not with money but for doing various “spiritual actions” as specified by the gift of the pope.

Question for our Roman Catholic friends:  If the extra merits of the saints can redeem a person from the temporal penalty for sins meted out in Purgatory, why can’t the merits of Christ–which are surely infinite–prevent a baptized, faithful Christian from having to endure any penalties whatsoever?

From USA Today:

Following Pope Francis’s Twitter feed may be good for your soul — both in this life and the next.

The spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church plans to grant plenary indulgences by Twitter during the World Youth Day 2013 event, which will be held July 23-28 in Brazil.

The indulgences, which Catholics believe can reduce the time a soul spends in purgatory, will be available to Francis’ nearly 7.5 million Twitter followers in all languages — if they tune in to World Youth Day broadcasts or take other spiritual actions. To get an indulgence, Catholics must have already had their sins absolved by a priest.

Pope Francis issued a decree about indulgences and social media on July 9, according to the Rome-based Zenit news organization, which covers the Vatican.

“The faithful who on account of a legitimate impediment cannot attend the aforementioned celebrations may obtain Plenary Indulgence under the usual spiritual, sacramental and prayer conditions, in a spirit of filial submission to the Roman Pontiff, by participation in the sacred functions on the days indicated, following the same rites and spiritual exercises as they occur via television or radio or, with due devotion, via the new means of social communication,” the decree states.

Keep reading at How you can save your soul: In 140 characters or less.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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