Pope Francis I
Follow the Pope on Twitter and you'll get time off Purgatory, a Vatican official has claimed this week.

It's not an Onion article, it's an officially endorsed claim, and so you can see why the editorial board at the Onion is contemplating closing down, now that reality is constantly upstaging their best satirists.

Here's how your Twitter bought salvation works: to begin with you have to perform a properly Church sanctioned task.

Well, what were you expecting? Your eternal reward can't be bought quite as easily as a Venti, Quad Shot Latte, no fat no foam at Starbucks.

To avail of the holy Twitter deal, first you'll have to learn about indulgences. Indulgences are one of the Catholic Church's oldest and most controversial practices. Critics call them blessings that are purchased for cold hard cash.

For centuries, for varying price points, the Church has provided indulgences to the faithful to reduce the time they'll spend in Purgatory, after they've confessed and been absolved of their sins that is.

Now the Vatican's sacred apostolic penitentiary, a court which apparently handles the forgiveness of sins (who knew?) has extended indulgences to all those following the 'rites and pious exercises' of the Church through social media.

'That includes following Twitter,' a source at the penitentiary told the press this week, referring to Pope Francis' Twitter account, which has gathered seven million followers.

So Twitter really can do God's work, it turns out. But as always with the Vatican, there's a catch: 'You must be following the events live. It is not as if you can get an indulgence by chatting on the internet.'

That's Vatican speak for Terms and Conditions Apply, Your Results May Vary.

But will there be iPhones in Purgatory, one wonders? Where exactly will you charge them? And how will you update your iOS without a Thunderbolt port?

It's purgatorial just to have to contemplate.