If you are a Roman Catholic, this should interest you.
According to the Vatican‘s Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary publication, Pope Francis will be giving “plenary indulgences” — which is a special act that is said to reduce time in purgatory — to his Twitter followers. The Pope typically offers indulgences to those who see him in person, but for the first time this year, it will extend to virtual visits, too.
The decision was made as the Pope gears up to visit the World Youth Festival in Brazil next week. The Guardian is reporting Catholics will be able to follow the “rites and pious exercises” that the Pope will do in Brazil online.
For social followers who have previously confessed their sins, have been absolved by a priest and have attended mass, they can follow along live through the social networking site and receive that special forgiveness. Users must follow the events live to participate.
“You don’t obtain an indulgence like you get a coffee from a vending machine,” Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication, told Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary. “It’s not enough just to watch a Mass online or follow Pope Francis via live streaming on your iPad or by connecting to Pope2You.net. These are just devices. What really counts is that the Tweet that the Pope will send from Brazil or the photos from World Youth Day produce genuine spiritual fruit in the heart of the person.”
The Vatican has been embracing social media more in the past year. In December, Pope Benedict received his own personal handle. But this isn’t the first time a Pope has used a new platform to reach the masses. In 1931, Pope Pius XI worked with the Italian inventor of the radio, Guglielmo Marconi, to set up the Vatican’s first radio broadcasting.
Culled from mashable.com