For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 21 July 2013.
Around 1.5 million Catholics, including some 2,000 Australians, are expected to flock to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate World Youth Day with the Argentine Pontiff later this month. For those who can’t make it to Brazil, forgiveness may be available to contrite sinners who follow Francis’s progress on social media.
It seems the Vatican court has said that indulgences may be given to those who follow Catholic practices on TV, radio or social media. Indulgences are granted to those who carry out certain tasks – such as climbing the Sacred Steps in Rome, a feat that earns believers seven years off purgatory.
But the appropriation of commercial culture and language demeans any spiritual practice, whatever one thinks of the validity of the practice.
Pope Benedict XVI got rid of the doctrine of Limbo (for those who die unbaptised). Could it be that the much more significant Catholic doctrine of Purgatory is about to go the same way?
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.