There's something sad about watching people beg for Twitter followers. There's something SURREAL about watching the POPE do it.

The Vatican really wants people to follow POPE FRANCIS on Twitter during Catholic World Youth Day . . . which is a weeklong event in Rio from July 23rd to 28th. They're saying if you follow the Pope on Twitter that week, the Vatican is offering something called "indulgences."

When the Pope gives someone an indulgence, it reduces the amount of time they spend in purgatory after they die, before they make their trip to the afterlife. In other words, if you follow the Pope on Twitter . . . he'll FAST TRACK your path to HEAVEN.

And don't worry, he won't fast-track your path to hell. In Catholic doctrine, no one goes from purgatory to hell. If you get to purgatory at all, sooner or later you end up in heaven.

The Pope's Twitter account is @Pontifex. He currently has about 2.7 million followers.