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

Mitt's awesome ice bucket challenge reax

"Mitt does the most Mitt thing ever."

Jay-Z's Cuba trip did not violate law
The U.S. Treasury Department apparently fears the wrath of the Beygency as much as the rest of the world. A U.S. Treasury investigation has found Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s 2013 Cuba trip did not violate sanctions law. Beyoncé and Jay-Z, close friends of the Obamas,  had obtained permission to visit the blacklisted country from the Treasury’s Office […]
'Harry Potter' made youth more liberal
Millennials grew up in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Deciding who was the Hermione, Harry and Ron in your friend group, wishing for the end of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and  knowing that the correct way to say the “leviosa” spell is “levi-OH-sa” was built into the fabric of  our collective childhood. Apparently Harry and friends are […]
Obama once killed a 'SNL' sketch
Presidents, first ladies and all types of political candidates have been both frequent guests and the butt of jokes on “Saturday Night Live.” The Hollywood Reporter published an excerpt Wednesday of the updated edition of the Saturday Night Live oral history, “Live From New York,” written by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales and it featured a lot of juicy details about […]
Christie defends use of Boss' music

Chris Christie saw The Boss just a week ago, and there's no beef about the guv using his tunes, thank you very much.

White House

Government watchdog says Bergdahl swap was not only illegal, it was doubly illegal

Congress' chief watchdog said that the U.S. prisoner swap involving Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl violated two laws in a report issued Thursday.

10 photos of President Obama in his office that will restore your faith in the presidency

Smile already, America. Your commander in chief is in the driver's seat.

Newt Gingrich: Obama’s ‘golf problem’ is that he stinks when he’s not playing it

"If the economy was growing, the border was controlled, the Middle East was stabilizing and there were no outbreaks of violence in the streets of major American cities, no one would comment on the number of golf games President Obama played."

Obama heads back to vacation after unexplained DC trip
THE HILL – President Obama went back to his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday evening following less than 48 hours in Washington, leaving people puzzled over why he came back in the first place. Obama’s two days in Washington were mostly quiet, and concluded with the president receiving his daily national security briefing in the morning, […]
President Obama ‘didn’t know’ the Missouri governor was calling National Guard to Ferguson

As has been the case with so many crises that have faced America during Obama's time in the White House, it appears the president has learned about the Missouri Governor calling the National Guard to Ferguson on the news.

Congress

McConnell’s plan to shut down Obama
POLITICO – Mitch McConnell has a game plan to confront President Barack Obama with a stark choice next year: Accept bills reining in the administration’s policies or veto them and risk a government shutdown. In an extensive interview here, the typically reserved McConnell laid out his clearest thinking yet of how he would lead the Senate […]
See the 'Best of' Pelosi's incoherent babbles
Whether she is spouting off about  “race ha[ving] something to do” with the Republican stance on immigration or charging across the U.S. House floor to call a fellow representative “insignificant,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is known for saying some crazy things. Roll Call has compiled some of Pelosi’s greatest hits from 2014 in a video […]
Voters do not believe Congress deserves reelection
Most Americans do not believe current members of Congress deserve to be reelected, a new poll finds. A Gallup poll released Monday found that only 19 percent of registered voters say most members of Congress deserve to be reelected. This the second lowest figure since Gallup first started asking the question in 1992. People feel more […]
Schock outlines how GOP can attract millennials
Positive messaging, reaching out in person, and uniting the party behind strong economic policies are all ways Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) thinks the Republican party can win over millennial voters. Schock appeared on CNN Friday to talk with conservative commentator S.E. Cupp about winning young voters. As the second-youngest member of the House of Representatives at […]
Rep. Justin Amash defends his bold victory speech
After a bitter primary fight, Rep. Justin Amash (R- Mich.) delivered a bold victory speech in which he skewered his opponent last week. The Congressman has taken plenty of heat for his less-than-gracious words, but Amash is not backing down. Amash wrote an op-ed in the Grand Rapids Press Thursday to defend his statements and to […]