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

Michael Bay might direct Benghazi movie

Bay, who has spent the last several years gaining popularity for his "Transformers" films, is reportedly in talks to direct the Benghazi film "13 Hours," according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Holder wants Denzel to play him in movie

Holder spoke to The Hill about Hollywood and politics while at an event at the Washington Ideas Forum Wednesday that was hosted by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.

'Rival Survival' premiering Wednesday

Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) are getting ready to show America their bipartisan fire-starting skills on "Rival Survival," a reality show starring tho lawmakers that premiers Wednesday night on the Discovery Channel.

Lovitz has a field day with Hillary

Before Hillary Clinton's jobs comment is swept aside as a minor whoopsie, a few words from Jon Lovitz.

John Oliver has some ideas for the FDA

Some people want more nutrition information on food labels--but who really understands those labels anyway?

White House

Russian hackers broke into the White House network

Hackers with suspected ties to the Russian government recently broke into the White House’s unclassified computer network, the Washington Post reported Tuesday night.

Obama is withholding over 15,000 Fast and Furious documents

President Obama claimed executive privilege to withhold over 15,000 documents relating to Operation Fast and Furious, including nearly 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife.

White House fence jumper charged with assault
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 23-year-old Maryland man who climbed over the White House fence Wednesday night has been charged with felonies for assaulting two police dogs and making threats, the Secret Service said Thursday. Dominic Adesanya of Bel Air, Maryland, is in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service for previous outstanding warrants, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said. […]
President Obama, unpaid bills and the curious editing of the White House transcript
President Obama, some unpaid bills and a curiously “inaudible” section of the White House recording of a speech — that’s how all good stories start, right? While at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chicago, Obama cracked a joke about the “unpaid bills” at his home. The joke was reported by the White House Press […]
Secrecy shrouds how the Obamas cook their chicken wings

Now it seems the Obamas are tight-lipped even about their eating habits.

Congress

Justin Amash envisions a libertarian Congress

Rep. Justin Amash, the libertarian congressman from Michigan, knows that Congress is far from libertarian. But someday, he thinks that might change.

Rand Paul: The GOP's image ‘sucks’

Rand Paul didn’t mince words about the GOP.

Small college's students thrown into 2014 election

Young people tend not to engage much in the humdrum local politics that go into midterm elections. But what if it’s happening literally in their own backyard?

GOP senator: 'Sorry the government's so f***ed'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made some self-deprecating jokes and colorful remarks about the state of the government during a recent private gathering, per a recording provided to CNN by South Carolina Democrats.

Top lawmaker's Ebola claim

A leading House Republican says he is aware of information that points to the United States eventually receiving non-U.S. Ebola patients for treatment.