Follow the Pope on Twitter and you’ll get time off from purgatory. Sorta.

jewish-zombieThe Catholic church made headlines yesterday by announcing that you can cut down your time in purgatory by following the Pope on Twitter. Or at least that’s what you might think if you went by the headlines alone.

Apparently this new method of granting indulgences is tied into the upcoming Catholic World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro attendance of which is grounds for indulgences for the participants. The Church realizes that not everyone can afford to attend the week-long event, but they still want to be able to offer the same purgatory time reduction to those poor folks so they’ve turned to social media:

 Vatican offers ‘time off purgatory’ to followers of Pope Francis tweets 

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.”

Got that? You’ve got to be paying attention if you want the indulgence. Simple clicking the Follow button on the Pope’s Twitter profile ain’t gonna work.

“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.

Which is a pretty funny thing to say because at one point in time that’s pretty much how indulgences worked. Except instead of shoving money into a vending machine you just shoved it into your local priest.

Never let it be said that the Catholic church isn’t hip with the kids these days. Worship via social media is about as hip as you can get! What they don’t want you to know is I can offer you the same deal and you don’t need to follow me on Twitter or anyplace else. Hell, you don’t even need to ask me for the indulgence. There’s no such thing as purgatory so there’s nothing to need an indulgence for.

But don’t tell too many people. The Pope needs to get his Twitter follower count up somehow.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised…

So wrong and yet I can’t help but laugh at it.

Update: Thanks to Google Image Search, I’ve tracked down the origin of this webcomic: Fredo and Pidjin. The Webcomic by Eugen Erhan. I’ve added him to my Google reader. 

Tim Minchin’s “Pope Song.”

I loves me some Tim Minchin and this song is no exception. It uses a lot of variations of the word “fuck” so it’s very much NSFW. Or for Catholics for that matter:

I bet he gets some letters over this one. So much the better.

Pope blames atheists for environmental destruction.

Gotta love the Pope. If ever there was a perfect example of religious hubris and hypocrisy at its finest then the Pope is it. The fact that he can claim to be a font of morality after the travesty of justice that was the pedophile priest scandal shows that it’s not just the evangelicals that are immune to reality. Needless to say he find atheism to be a root cause of many of the ills the world faces.

Take, for example, environmental destruction. According to the Pope the blame lies with atheists and secularism:

Is it not true that inconsiderate use of creation begins where God is marginalized or also where his existence is denied? If the human creature’s relationship with the Creator weakens, matter is reduced to egoistic possession, man becomes the “final authority,” and the objective of existence is reduced to a feverish race to possess the most possible.

Creation, matter structured in an intelligent manner by God, is entrusted to man’s responsibility, who is able to interpret and refashion it actively, without regarding himself as the absolute owner. Man is called to exercise responsible government to protect it, to obtain benefits and cultivate it, finding the necessary resources for a dignified existence for all. With the help of nature itself and with the commitment of its own work and creativity, humanity is able to assume the grave duty to hand over to the new generations an earth which, in turn, the latter will be able to inhabit worthily and cultivate further.

I don’t know of any atheists personally, though I don’t doubt there are some out there somewhere, who feel that fucking up the planet isn’t a problem. I do know a lot of Christians who have argued that it doesn’t matter if we fuck up the planet because Jesus is coming back “Any Day Now™” and will wipe the planet clean of all unbelievers and restore it to like-new condition. In fact you can find numerous newspaper articles with arguments from Christians saying that environmentalism is Satanic and un-Christian and God declared man had dominion over the Earth to do with as he pleases, etc. and so on.

Meanwhile most of the atheists I know realize that this is the only home we have and if we make it too toxic it’ll be bad for the long-term survival of the species. We don’t believe in a magic sky fairy that’ll come down on a cloud and make it all better. We’ve got no one to rely on but ourselves. Yet, somehow, the Pope believes it’s all our fault.

Pope warns of misuse of religion.

Does anyone know where I can get my Irony Meter repaired or replaced? I read this article and almost fell off my chair:

Pope warns of misuse of religion – BBC News

Pope Benedict XVI has warned against the misuse of religion for political ends, in a speech to Muslim leaders on the second day of his visit to Jordan.

Speaking in the King Hussein Mosque in Amman, he argued that religion was a force for good, but its “manipulation” caused divisions and even violence.

[…] “Some assert that religion is necessarily a cause of division in our world and so they argue that the lesser attention given to religion in the public sphere the better,” he said.

“Certainly, the contradiction of tensions and divisions between the followers of different religious traditions, sadly, cannot be denied.

“However, is it not also the case that often it is the ideological manipulation of religion, sometimes for political ends, that is the real catalyst for tension and division, and at times even violence in society?”

Can Beenadick actually look at himself in the mirror? How many Africans will die from his misuse of religion? How many little boys are suffering from his priests’ misuse of religion? etc, etc.

But the Pope is so… mockable!

Apparently some Catholic bishops aren’t happy that some of us like to mock the Pope and they think we should stop:

ROME (CNS)—Mockery is not acceptable in public discussions, especially when the subject is the pope, said the president of the Italian Catholic bishops’ conference.

[…] “We will not accept that the pope, in the media or anywhere else, is mocked or offended,” said Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, opening the spring meeting of the permanent council of the Italian bishops’ conference.

Fuck the Pope and fuck Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco too. When the Pope stops saying shit that’s worth mocking then I’ll stop mocking him, but until then he’s fair game. Considering his position as the head of the Catholic church it’s probably unlikable he’ll stop saying things that are worth mocking anytime soon.

*Cue the Imperial March Theme*

Granted this picture is of the previous Pope, but it amused me nonetheless. Click it for a bigger version.

Pope calls euthanasia a “false solution.”

The Pope don’t like the idea of you cheating God out of the enjoyment of watching you go through the slow, painful death God has planned for you by having someone euthanasize you:

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that euthanasia is a “false solution” to suffering, adding his voice to a bitter debate in Italy over the fate of a comatose woman whose father wants to remove her feeding tube.

Actually it’s a pretty real solution. Suffering before death, then you die, no longer suffering. Problem solved.

During his Sunday blessing, Benedict said that love can help confront pain and that “no tear, from those who suffer and those who are with them, is lost before God.”

God collects your sweet, sweet tears because He can’t get enough of how good they taste! He’s particularly fond of adding carbonation and cola flavoring to make his own Tears of the Suffering Soda! It gives you divine appeal!

That’s like sex appeal, but holier.

Pope declares Holy War against false visions of Jesus and his mom.

OK all you fakers and posers out there who are always claiming to see the Virgin Mary in your scrambled eggs or Jesus in your baby’s soiled diapers, you’re officially on alert! The Pope has had enough of this nonsense and he’s laying the smack down:

The Pope is declaring a ‘holy war’ against people who claim falsely that the Virgin Mary is appearing to them.

He will attempt to snuff out an explosion of bogus heavenly apparitions with new guidelines to help bishops root out frauds.

Benedict XVI plans to publish criteria to help them distinguish between true and false claims of visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, messages, stigmata – the appearances of the five wounds of Christ – and weeping or bleeding statues.

In some cases exorcists will be used to determine if a credible apparition is ‘divine’ origin or ‘demonic’.

Ha ha! The joke’s on him! There are no “credible” apparitions!

The Pope is said to be deeply concerned by the explosion in the number of pseudo-mystics who, claiming a direct line to God, set themselves against the bishops and lure the Catholic faithful out of the Church and into cults.

If there’s one thing that gets the Pope hot under his collar it’s competition for the hearts and minds of the overly credulous and self-delusional.

When a claim of heavenly apparitions occurs, the local bishop will need to set up a commission of psychiatrists, psychologists, theologians and priests who will investigate the claims systematically.

The first step will be to impose silence on the alleged visionaries and if they refuse to obey then this will be taken as a sign that their claims are false.

The first rule of Seeing Jesus Club is you don’t talk about Seeing Jesus Club!

As it turns out there’s an excellent job opportunity here for us atheists:

The visionaries will next be visited by psychiatrists, either atheists or Catholics, to certify their mental health and to verify whether they are suffering from conditions of a hysterical or hallucinatory character or from delusions of leadership.

The irony in the above statement is almost too much to take. But it gets even better:

The third step will be to investigate the person’s level of education and to determine if they have had access to material that could be used to falsely support their claims.

If the visionary is considered credible they will ultimately be questioned by one or more demonologists and exorcists to exclude the possibility that Satan is hiding behind the apparitions in order to deceive the faithful.

I smell the makings of an excellent reality TV show in this idea. A little work from the boys in Hollywood and the Vatican would have another source of revenue to pay off all those pedophile priest lawsuits! Good to see the Pope is tackling the really important problems facing the Catholic church!

Pope claims an “inalienable right” for Catholics to act like Fundamentalists.

Apparently the Pope is tired of Fundamentalist Evangelists hogging the asshole spotlight for so long and wants Catholics to get in on the action:

The Roman Catholic Church has the inalienable right and duty to convert any person to Christianity, Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday.

Evangelism is a central mission of the Church, the pope told a Vatican body that encourages Catholic missionary activity.

The appeal for the conversion of “all nations,” attributed to Jesus Christ in the Gospels, remains “an obligatory mandate for the entire Church and for every believer in Christ,” the pontiff said.

“This apostolic commitment is both a duty and an inalienable right, the very expression of religious freedom with its moral, social and political dimensions,” he said.

[…] In December, the Vatican published a doctrinal note reaffirming the mission of all the faithful to seek to convert non-Catholics including members of other Christian denominations, while avoiding placing undue pressure on them.

I love the usage of undue pressure in that last bit. I suppose it means we shouldn’t expect any new Inquisitions anytime soon and for that I am truly grateful. Still, if any significant amount of Catholics actually tries to put this into practice then things are sure to get more annoying as a Missionary Arms Race breaks out between the Fundamentalists and Catholics. On the plus side at least they’ll be aggravating the hell out of the Protestants too which should be fun to watch.