|The Vatican is modernizing an old tradition on Twitter. Followers of the Papal Twitter account are being offered "indulgences," thereby reducing the amount of time Catholics believe they will have to spend in Purgatory after absolution of sin. Attendance to the upcoming Rio World Youth Day is normally required for such special dispensation, but those following the "rites and pious exercises" of the event through television, radio and social media will be granted the indulgence.
"You can't obtain indulgences like getting a coffee from a vending machine," Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, head of the pontifical council for social communication, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. The indulgence requires the awardee to have previously confessed and be "truly penitent and contrite."
"What really counts is that the tweets the Pope sends from Brazil or the photos of the Catholic World Youth Day that go up on Pinterest produce authentic spiritual fruit in the hearts of everyone," said Celli. Praying while following the event starting on July 22 must be carried out with "requisite devotion."