Indulgences for WYD — even through Twitter

Pope Francis has said Catholics can earn a plenary indulgence by participating in World Youth Day activities — even through Twitter or other social media.

Those who attend the July 23-28 WYD event in Brazil may obtain the indulgence, “once a day and under the usual conditions (sacramental Confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in accordance with the intentions of the Holy Father), applicable also to the souls of deceased faithful,” said a decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary, Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro.

Those who are unable to attend WYD can receive an indulgence, under the same conditions, if they participate by “following the same rites and spiritual exercises as they occur via television or radio or, with due devotion, via the new means of social communication”.

An indulgence is the remission of temporal punishment in Purgatory due to sin, the guilt of which has been forgiven.

The granting of indulgences by the Pope is based on Jesus’ statement to the apostle Peter, in Matthew 16: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Mario Celli, said: “You don’t get the indulgence the way you get a coffee from a vending machine.

“There’s no counter handing out certificates. To put it another way, it won’t be sufficient to attend the Mass in Rio online [or] follow the Pope on your iPad. These are only tools that are available to believers.

“What really matters is that the Pope’s tweets from Brazil, or the photos of World Youth Day that will be posted on [social media website] Pinterest, should bear authentic spiritual fruit in the hearts of each one of us.”

“Then even a youngster who is a very long way from Brazil and feels involved by a video, a simple text message or an email will be truly taking part in the World Youth Day and will receive the gift of the indulgence.”


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