Buy your way to Heaven! The Catholic Church brings back indulgences

These days, you can get a deal on anything. Even salvation! Pope Benedict has announced that his faithful can once again pay the Catholic Church to ease their way through Purgatory and into the Gates of Heaven.

Never mind that Martin Luther fired up the Reformation because of them: Plenary Indulgences are back.

The New York Times reports that even though the church officially broke with the age-old practice -- you do something good, and the Church will help absolve you -- in 1960, the Pope has quietly reintroduced it. The Catholic Church had technically banned the practice of selling indulgences as long ago as 1567.

As the Times points out, a monetary donation wouldn't go amiss toward earning an indulgence. It writes, "charitable contributions, combined with other acts, can help you earn one." You can even buy indulgences this way for loved ones who are already dead, greasing their way to Heaven by doing something for the Church here on Earth.

Why would the Catholic Church agree to this reversal? It wouldn't be the harsh economy, would it, or the church's fading influence? Not at all, says a Brooklyn bishop. "Because there is sin in the world," he told the newspaper.

Reformation? What Reformation?
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