Vatican is not offering indulgences for following the Pope on Twitter

Pope FrancisLess than a year after Pope Benedict XVI first got a Twitter account, rumors began circulating that the Vatican was now offering indulgences through the social media network.

The Vatican announced Wednesday that the papal court that handles the forgiveness of sins will now offer “indulgences” — or blessings that reduce the time Catholics believe they will spend in purgatory after the confession of their sins — to those following the Pope’s tweets. At least that’s what The Guardian reported.

But according to CNNthe story was blown out of proportion. The original document from the Vatican reveals that those who are unable to attend the upcoming Catholic World Youth Day in person can tune in “via television and radio, always with due devotion, through the new means of social communication.”

The new decree allows those attending remotely to receive indulgences, but they must “follow these same rites and pious exercises” as those physically in attendance.

One Vatican official also stressed that getting an indulgence isn’t as easy as clicking the “follow” button.

“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 newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The story originally became Twitter-focused after a Guardian source told the news organization that the Vatican’s definition of “social communication” included the micro-blogging site.

“That includes following Twitter,” a source at the penitentiary told The Guardian. “But you must be following the events live. It is not as if you can get an indulgence by chatting on the Internet.”

Indulgences are controversial within the church, as they were sold for money during the late medieval period. They are normally granted to those who carry out pious tasks, such as climbing the Sacred Steps in Rome.

Besides presences on Facebook and Twitter, the Vatican recently released a smartphone app for Catholic news and reportedly plans to begin using Pinterest soon.

UPDATE: This story originally reported that the Vatican was giving indulgences for following the Pope on Twitter, but this is inaccurate.

Comments

Polititainment

Secret Service once threatened Mr. Met's life

Mr. Met sure has a lot of fans in New York. But the larger-than-life mascot definitely doesn't have one in the Secret Service, who threatened to shoot and kill him if he approached President Bill Clinton, according to a firsthand account.

Jill Biden on Joe: "I fell in love with the boys first"

Second Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden didn't marry Vice President Joe Biden for his sense of humor -- instead, she "fell in love" with his two sons first.

Joe Biden's first Instagram photo

Ladies and gentlemen of this great nation, rejoice! Vice President Joe Biden has joined Instagram -- and his first post is everything you ever dreamed it would be.

Celebrate Tax Day with this ditty

What better way to celebrate curse Tax Day than with a little toe-tapping, finger-snapping ditty that perfectly describes how we all feel about the Internal Revenue Service?

Joy Behar roasts Chris Christie

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) may need some ice for a few burns he sustained from former "The View" host Joy Behar, as the comedian delivered an awkward roast of the 2016 presidential hopeful.

White House

Jay Carney: “Never been a more transparent administration”

Despite consistent objections by journalists that the White House overly restricts press access, Press Secretary Jay Carney believes that there has "never been a more transparent administration."

Jay Carney: Toughest interview for Obama in 2012 was with Jon Stewart

Give comedian Jon Stewart a gold star sticker. The host of The Daily Show was President Barack Obama's toughest interviewer during the 2012 election cycle, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Thursday.

The most powerful selfie in the world

Joe Biden — he's just like you, and he takes selfies, too.

Obama: Republicans a threat to the right to vote

President Barack Obama slammed Republicans on Friday for supporting voter identification law and labeled the GOP as a threat to the right to vote.

Republicans renew fight against Obamacare as Sebelius resigns

FOX NEWS -- Republicans responded to news of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' resignation from the Obama administration on Thursday with fresh calls to repeal the president's health care law.

Read more at FOX News.

Congress

Rep Black: GOP budget makes a path to a bright future

Our nation is $17.4 trillion in debt and out of control Washington spending has no end in sight. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that on our current trajectory we will return to $1 trillion annual budget deficits by the year 2022.

Cruz: Impeach Holder

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pulled no punches when criticizing Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday, as he called on Congress to impeach the Department of Justice head.

Pelosi: GOP not acting on immigration because of race

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pulled the race card when speaking about Republicans' inaction in passing comprehensive immigration reform and said "race has something to do" with the GOP not bringing such legislation to the House floor.

House passes Ryan's budget plan

The House on Thursday passed a 10-year Republican spending plan drafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

Read more at The Washington Examiner.

Harry Reid's Koch-fueled meltdown

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been in a Koch-fueled rage, seizing moments left and right (mostly from the left) to bash Charles and David Koch.