Tag Archives: Brazil

Purgatory and indulgences: Still around. Still anti-biblical.

I wish this was a parody: Vatican offers ‘time off purgatory’ to followers of Pope Francis tweets.

Many people think that the false teachings about purgatory* and indulgences have gone away, but the Catholic religion still adheres to them.  The distinctions below should appear to be arbitrary to you, because anti-biblical teachings like these are man-made and inevitably loosely defined.

I note that they are anti-biblical (the opposite of the Bible) and not just non-biblical (not in the Bible) because they are works-based and teach that what Jesus did on the cross was helpful but not sufficient.  Any implication that Jesus’ death and resurrection weren’t enough to save you is a sure sign of a false teaching.  If you say you need Jesus plus your works, that is false.  If you say you don’t need Jesus, or that He is just an option, that is false.

In its latest attempt to keep up with the times the Vatican has married one of its oldest traditions to the world of social media by offering “indulgences” to followers of Pope Francis’ tweets.

The church’s granted indulgences reduce the time Catholics believe they will have to spend in purgatory after they have confessed and been absolved of their sins.

The remissions got a bad name in the Middle Ages because unscrupulous churchmen sold them for large sums of money. But now indulgences are being applied to

the 21st century.

They should have had a bad name for mocking the cross and being false teachings.  The idea that they were only bad when peddled by unscrupulous churchmen charged too much just added to the falsehood.

But a senior Vatican official warned web-surfing Catholics that indulgences still required a dose of old-fashioned faith, and that paradise was not just a few mouse clicks away.

“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 daily Corriere della Sera.

Indulgences these days are granted to those who carry out certain tasks – such as climbing the Sacred Steps, in Rome (reportedly brought from Pontius Pilate’s house after Jesus scaled them before his crucifixion), a feat that earns believers seven years off purgatory.

That sounds a lot closer to getting a coffee from the vending machine than it does to the Bible.

But attendance at events such as the Catholic World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro, a week-long event starting on 22 July, can also win an indulgence.

Mindful of the faithful who cannot afford to fly to Brazil, the Vatican’s sacred apostolic penitentiary, a court which handles the forgiveness of sins, has also extended the privilege to those following the “rites and pious exercises” of the event on television, radio and through social media.

“That includes following Twitter,” said a source at the penitentiary, referring to Pope Francis’ Twitter account, which has gathered seven million followers. “But you must be following the events live. It is not as if you can get an indulgence by chatting on the internet.”

Yeah, what kind of silly process do you think this is?!  I had to double check and ensure I wasn’t quoting from The Onion.

. . .

“What really counts is that the tweets the Pope sends from Brazil or the photos of the Catholic World Youth Day that go up on Pinterest produce authentic spiritual fruit in the hearts of everyone,” said Celli.

If the spiritual fruit is authentic then the first thing they will do is leave the Catholic religion.  I know many people who go to Catholic churches who sound like Protestants in their theology.  They don’t hold to the false teachings but go out of habit.  Or their organizations may be led by “bad Catholics” (by which I mean good) who never teach things like this.  I wish they would move to churches that are God-honoring.

I realize that it may be initially frustrating to hear about such things, but I encourage people to consider what a great tool it is to educate Catholics about what their religion really teaches.  So many of them think that the church doesn’t really teach about indulgences, purgatory, Marianism, praying to the dead, etc.  When they slip up and show how they still hold to these doctrines we should help them publicize it.

Like I always say, the Reformation happened for a reason.  Actually, 95 of them.  And they haven’t changed.

* pur·ga·to·ry (in the belief of Roman Catholics and others) a condition or place in which the souls of those dying penitent are purified from venial sins, or undergo the temporal punishment that, after the guilt of mortal sin has been remitted, still remains to be endured by the sinner.