Vatican offering ‘indulgences’ to reduce time in ‘purgatory’ for following Pope Francis on Twitter, etc.


The ecumenical Pope Francis is taking steps to provide his version of forgiveness to more people:

July 17, 2013

Salvation – or at least a shorter stay in Purgatory – might now be only a tweet away with news that Pope Francis is to offer “indulgences” – remissions for temporary punishment – to the faithful who follow him on the social media site…

The Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican court that rules on the forgiveness of sins, has said that indulgences may be given to those who follow the “rites and pious exercises” of the event on television, radio and through social media.

The Penitentiary said that Pope Francis’ Twitter account, which has already gathered seven million followers, would be one such medium.

Vatican officials, noted however, that to obtain indulgences over the internet or otherwise, believers would first have to confess their sins, offer prayers and attend Mass.

This report is consistent with something my wife Joyce and I recently were told.  On June 18, 2013, while in Rome, when we went to pick up tickets to possibly see Pope Francis in Vatican City, an American nun gave a briefing about that.  She flat out told everyone that if they attended the Pope’s speech the next day (which we did not), all of our accumulated time in ‘purgatory’ could be wiped out if we also went to confession and mass within a week or so (my recollection is that Catholics teach one could theoretically spend over a million years in purgatory, hence this reduction of accumulated time has an appeal to those who believe in this non-biblical doctrine–Vatican coffers have received a lot of money from people who give donations to have priests pray for themselves or loved ones to hopefully have less time in purgatory).

Protestants may recall that one of the reasons that Martin Luther gave for separating from the Church of Rome was a practice it had at the time for selling ‘indulgences’ for money.  Partially in response to this, a Vatican commission to look into Catholic abuses was put together by Pope Paul III and was under the direction of Cardinal Gasparo Contarini and Cardinal Carafa (Cardinal Carafa became Pope Paul IV in 1555). It was called the Consilium de Emendanda Ecclesia of 1537.  It made a recommended change to the indulgence situation.

One Catholic scholar, E. Duffy, felt that in 1300 Pope Boniface VIII enriched the Church of Rome through the granting of a particular indulgence to the masses:

Boniface is a mysterious man, proud, ambitious fierce…It was Boniface who declared the first Jubilee or Holy Year in 1300, when tens of thousands of pilgrims converged on Rome to gain indulgences, adding enormously to the prestige of the papacy…(and in the process enriching the Roman basilicas, where the sacristans were said to have had to scoop in pilgrim offerings with rakes).  This promise of ‘full and copious pardon’ to all who visited Peter and the Lateran after confessing their sins was the most spectacular exercise of power of the keys since Urban II issued the first Crusade Indulgence…

Boniface…displayed some of the worst traits of clerical careerism, enriching his relatives at the expense of the Church, and waging a relentless was against family’s traditional rivals (Duffy, Eamon. Saints & Sinners: A History of the Popes. Yale University Press, New Haven (CT), 2002, p. 160).

I have written about Pope Boniface before (see Boniface the Martyr and Boniface the Pope). In the past, the granting of indulgences was not necessarily tied to going to mass or confession.

But it is interesting to note that the use of granting ‘indulgences’ allegedly increased the prestige of the Vatican and brought more visitors.  On June 18, 2013, a nun told us that Vatican City was being affected by ‘pope mania.’  She said that 10-20 times more people were coming to the Wednesday public audiences to see Pope Francis than had came to see either the former Pope Benedict XVI or his predecessor John Paul II.  Perhaps the indulgences matter plays a role (though the fact that Francis is a new pope is likely to be a bigger factor at this time).  While I do not believe that Pope Francis is a lot like Pope Boniface VIII, the end result of getting more interest in the Church of Rome is similar.

Catholics do not wish to spend time in the place that they call purgatory.  It is essentially considered to be a place of punishment for what Catholics tend to call venial sins.  Here is a little bit about it from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

Purgatory (Lat., “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.

Perhaps I should mention that very few people understand the origin of purgatory, and that is covered in the article Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory?

Some items of related interest may include:

Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life?
What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die? When did Limbo start being taught? What is the truth about dead babies?
Will You Be Deceived by Antichrist? 1964 article by David Jon Hill, originally published in the old Good News magazine.
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis I is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis I be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? This is a YouTube video.
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the Continuing Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle This electronic version of a new 186 page book (in the print version). And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? What does the Bible say about a pope near this time? Is the final pope to be an antipope and antichrist? Does Catholic prophecy point to Pope Francis as being the dreaded “Peter the Roma”? This 186 page book provides information and answers. This book is available for USD$9.98 in printed form The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis.
The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman” An Irish bishop allegedly predicted something about 112 popes in the 12th century. Pope Benedict XVI was number 111. Francis would seem to be number 112–if he is that one–and if so, he is to reign until Rome is destroyed. May he be an antipope/final Antichrist?

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