The pope has some solace for those unable to make the trip to Brazil for World Youth Day next week - an occasion that by attending helps the soul in purgatory. By making use of social media and the internet to watch these events, and read speeches made there the user with a genuine spiritual heart (there is the catch) may obtain an indulgence. This reduces your time in purgatory which is a sort of house arrest with Big Brother housemates before you get to enter heavenly paradise.
An indulgence is a removal of the punishment from sin. Although you are forgiven in Confession for sins the punishment stills remains, which would have to be conducted through purification like in purgatory. If an indulgence is done that part or all of the punishment is removed.
And remember, indulgences are only possible because of God's love displayed on the Cross. Without Jesus Christ, we would have no chance to be forgiven and obtain salvation.
A universal indulgence is granted anywhere in the world while a local indulgence applies to only a specific place or area. A perpetual indulgence is one that may be gained at any time while a temporary indulgence only is available for certain times, for example, like certain indulgences for the Holy Souls in November. A plenary indulgence is the complete remission of the temporal punishment of sin. [Source]
Martin Luther has this to say on indulges in his 95 Theses:
Lastly, works of piety and charity are infinitely better than indulgences, and yet they do not preach these with such display or so much zeal; nay, they keep silence about them for the sake of preaching pardons. And yet it is the first and sole duty of all bishops, that the people should learn the Gospel and Christian charity: for Christ nowhere commands that indulgences should be preached. What a dreadful thing it is then, what peril to a bishop, if, while the Gospel is passed over in silence, he permits nothing but the noisy outcry of indulgences to be spread among his people, and bestows more care on these than on the Gospel! [Source]
Indeed some hoped by purchasing indulgences in Luther's time they may avoid purgatory altogether - his point was sin was already forgiven free of charge. One wonders what the Vatican Bank may say for those wishing to deposit nowadays. Luther countered catholic dogma on indulgences by saying God's Grace and faith in Christ alone gave salvation.
Even the act of fellowship and communion with one another is poisoned by an odious self serving concept. Indulgences make outrages claims to mediate on behalf of the dead in the next world. With this belief your immortal soul can suffer immeasurably compared to your mortal condition if you do not act. Who wants to be in a Big Brother House any day longer than they have to?
I hope one day this stuff of nightmares in an after life will be treated as nothing more than a fairy tale, made up by primates.
Follow the event for joyful communion, but do not follow a sham.