There were a number of reasons for the Protestant Reformation; but chief among them was resentment over the promise of time off from Purgatory in exchange for money used to enrich the coffers of the Catholic Church. These get out of Purgatory free cards were immediately jettisoned, along with the doctrine of Purgatory, by the Reformation. But they are still an element of Catholicism; albeit without the cash. While indulgences can be received by prayers and other Catholic stuff (Crusaders earned them by killing Muslims and Jews), today's modern Catholic, according to press accounts, can get some time out from the celestial green room by following the Pope on Twitter. This morning, in a subtle iteration of a favorite Fox meme about how the media aren't nice to Catholics, Fr. Morris explained it all to us. Actually he didn't. What the hell?????
Clayton Morris said that "chances are that you've seen the story this week, the Vatican now says following the Pope on Twitter puts you straight into heaven, it's a fast track to heaven." He introduced Fox's very own Fr. Jonathan Morris to sort it out for us. Morris deftly cued up the Fox gospel according to Fox's one true priest; i.e. that the evil, secular mainstream media showed its anti-Catholic bias in its reporting of the story. He said that the reporting "was all over the map, that if you follow the Pope's Twitter account you can bypass Purgatory and go straight to heaven." He asked the cute little padre if this is true. (Notice, no specific headlines were mentioned but the meme was cleverly set.)
Ainsley Earhardt, who was unsuccessful in her effort to pull her skirt down for modesty's sake, asked if this was found "somewhere in the bible." Fr. Morris responded "not exactly." (Uh, not at all because it's a belief developed by Roman Catholicism). Fr. Morris immediately got into agitprop mode with this comment that he's "always amazed that religion reporting is some of the most, some of the worst reporting that's done out there almost as if the producers, the editors, say well, we don't believe this religion stuff..." He then whined about how when there is a good story, "the editors put out this crazy title and that's what happened in this story." Meanwhile, the chyron for the piece was "Start the Salvation, Follow the Pope's Tweets On World Youth Day."
Fr. Morris explained that the Pope will be traveling to Brazil for World Youth Day and that many people will not be able to attend for various reasons. He noted that by "inviting" these folks to follow the trip on digital media, the Church is saying that digital media isn't "some parallel universe, it's actually real." Kooiman interjected that "it's bringing in the youth." Fr. Morris referenced how other religious groups have pilgrimages with "special grace attached, special blessings." He sputtered about how the Pope is saying that "if you take this [the twitter feed] seriously" you will get "special blessings." Earhardt enthused about how this is "a great message." She said that she is now following the Pope and that his messages are "cool."
In criticizing religion writers and headline editors, Fr. Morris might want to speak with those at Fox News Latino who produced this headline," Pope Francis: Vatican's Twitter Followers Can Now Spend Less Time In Purgatory." While the article doesn't say anything about "bypassing Purgatory," it does say that indulgences "reduce the time in Purgatory." A Jesuit, who writes for CNN (more time in Purgatory for that padre) explains it much better than the Fox priest. Rev. James Martin says that the Twitter participation must be done with "devotion" while being sorry for one's sins. The net result is still a fast track to heaven. The devil is in the details?!
For over 500 years, the Catholic Church has aided and abetted people in thinking they can buy their way into that chair at left-hand side of God (where Mary is sitting, BTW): for centuries, wealthy people tried to do so by building a church, by decorating a chapel in a church, etc. all the way down to doing a whole slew of silly as well as good things to earn indulgences. Dante Allighieri has the right idea on how successful they probably were, IMO.
In fact, I seriously doubt that the man called Jesus of Nazareth: you know, the one who chased a bunch of moneychangers (aka traders) out of the temple would have condonned this sort of commerce.