The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has followed the lead of Pope Francis in offering indulgences for those who follow him on Twitter. There was widespread head-scratching earlier in the week at the announcement by the Vatican that the Papal court handling pardons for sins had ruled that contrite Catholics could gain ‘indulgences’ by following World Youth Day on Twitter.
The Anglican model is slightly different, as the doctrine of Purgatory and Indulgences are among those doctrines which the Church of England has discarded since its break from Rome. However, Archbishop Welby, sensing an opportunity for an easy win to please his home crowd, has ruled that PCC members who follow @ABCJustin or @LambethPalace on Twitter will be able to download a voucher allowing them to leave PCC meetings after the first 90 minutes, even if they are the vicar.
A spokesperson for the Church of England said, “Like the Orthodox Church, we do not have a doctrine of Purgatory in the Church of England. Our official line is that this Roman idea ‘is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God’. However, the Pope’s concept of Twitter-bribes to get his follower count up looked good to us. Who among the Anglican flock has not been trapped in an epic PCC meeting where having what amounts to a ‘Go home or to the pub’ card from the Archbishop of Canterbury would not have been a blessed relief from torment?.”