Can Roman Catholics now Twitter themselves out of Hell?
I personally enjoyed doing this cartoon because it reminds me of Gandalf flying on the back of the eagles in Lord of the Rings. But here we have the Pope flying on the back of the twitter bird. Here’s why:
In an effort to greater use social media for the benefit of Catholics worldwide, it has been announced that the Pope will decrease your punishment for sins and shorten your stay in Purgatory via Twitter.
The Vatican’s Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary publication says that the Pope will be giving “plenary indulgences”, which reduces one’s time in purgatory, to his Twitter followers. These indulgences have always been given in person but now they are being distributed virtually as well.
Wouldn’t Luther have a ball with this one? In his day indulgences were sold for large sums of money. Now all you need is a cellphone.
I tweeted this news last night and some of the reactions I got, including privately, was, “What’s wrong with this? The Pope’s is just conveying comfort and forgiveness to his followers. What matters is that people take this to heart and that it produce true repentance.” Devout followers are very defensive of their religion. I know. Been there.
What gets me isn’t the Twitter deal. The church using social media is no big deal. Good on ya! What gets me is that all the effort, rather than going into changing theology that invokes fear, insecurity, guilt, shame and superstition, is going into embedding these superstitious beliefs even further. The church, not just the Roman Catholic church but all of the church, just finds ways of making its beliefs more entrenched by playing on the fears of its people. Religion is one of the most powerful means of trapping the mind in terror. What Luther challenged was the superstition that bound the people. Things have not changed. It’s not the indulgences, it’s the fear of Hell as an effective means of control.
It is magical theology invented by magical theologians who concoct magical methods for its people to cope with it.