In today's modern age, we're used to getting things fast. Our food, our money, even our social interactions can be brought to us at the speed of light and in the comfort of our home. And now, from the guys who first invented and then abolished Limbo, you can get to your afterlife faster.
The Catholic Church announced today that they're bringing back Plenary Indulgences. According to the church teaching, sinners still face Purgatory (an imaginary place where they have to face punishment before going on to heaven). Even if you are absolved in the confessional and say your Our Fathers or Hail Marys as penance, you still gotta stop by heaven's waiting room when you die. But now, thanks to the Church, you can receive an indulgence that reduces or eliminates the your stay in Purgatory.
This idea of indulgence isn't new; back in the 1500's, the Church would literally sell them. But now they come free with one confession per year. Dioceses are hard-up for people to go hold fast to their traditions and keep the Church as the number-one authority of matters of sin and afterlife, and they're offering this incentive to try to reclaim their dwindling numbers. As said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, "We just want to people to return to the ideas they used to know."
The very nature of religion is exposed in that statement. After all that we've learned since the Bronze Age, why on Earth would anyone want to return to the ways we used to do things? I'll tell you why: it's because they want to live in their fantasy. They don't like the fact that we're learning more and more about how reality works, and they just wish we could go back to the days of witch-burnings, bloodletting, and the iron rule superstition. We're dragging them, kicking and screaming, into the twenty-first century's light of reason and science -- and they're scared to death.
I hope this backfires, and more and more intellectually inquisitive people continue to doubt the ridiculous ideas that the Vatican comes up with. If they can just make this shit up without any sort of evidence, there's no reason at all for agreeing with them. It's like the saying goes, "if you give a mouse a cookie, he'll want a glass of milk". If we continue to keep a mindset of "Well, you can't DISPROVE it" then this and anything else is fair game. Hell, maybe tomorrow they'll say that members of the Church get a free t-shirt when they enter heaven. You gonna buy that too?