Can young Catholics tweet their way to heaven? Not exactly: there's a catch

CINCINNATI - Following the Pope on Twitter won't exactly lead to less time in Purgatory for Catholics, but it could help.

Pope Francis is inviting young Catholics to be involved with World Youth Day, and if they can't make it to Brazil, they can do so via social networks.

World Youth Day takes place from July 22-29 in Rio de Janeiro, and the Pope is offering a Plenary Indulgence to participants. An indulgence is something that buys Catholics less time in Purgatory, and the @Pontifex is offering them to those truly following along on their smartphones.

Here is our Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro explained it on the  Vatican's website:

"Those faithful who are legitimately prevented may obtain the Plenary Indulgence as long as, having fulfilled the usual conditions — spiritual, sacramental and of prayer — with the intention of filial submission to the Roman Pontiff, they participate in spirit in the sacred functions on the specific days, and as long as they follow these same rites and devotional practices via television and radio or, always with the proper devotion, through the new means of social communication."

In other words, a tweet is not a free pass.

We first told you about this story on Good Morning Tri-State, and several @WCPO Twitter followers weighed in with their takes on the news, with some saying that a follow isn't exactly a free pass through the pearly gates.

  • @Ampatriot tweeted: I guess if you follow him, you can sneak in the Gates…?
  • @MattSwaim tweeted: Lots of misunderstanding RE:what the Vatican said, and what indugences are. The real story: …
  • @MorningAnna tweeted: It's actually for saying special prayers for World Youth Day & following via media.

Are you up early watching Good Morning Tri-State? Join the Twitter conversation with the hashtag #9wakeup.

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