Hip Priests Post #Ashtag Selfies to Celebrate Ash Wednesday (PHOTO)

Excuse me while I flog myself for being a really bad Catholic. Despite attending Catholic school for 12 years, I just remembered, like 10 minutes ago, that today is Ash Wednesday. Had I grown up in a time when priests were doing insanely cool things like creating Twitter "ashtags" and posting photos of themselves sporting black ashes on their foreheads, I would have had an easier time remembering.


Welcome to the latest selfie trend: the ashtag, which is being used by priests and people of faith on Twitter and Instagram to show off the ashes they receive today on their foreheads as part of the Christian holiday, which signifies the start of Lent. For those who are unfamiliar with Lent, it is a 40-day period prior to Easter in which Christians sometimes fast, give up something they like, or make an effort to go out of their way to do something good for others.

Young folks aren't the only ones using #ashtag and #showyourash hashtags. Priests, otherwise known as those men who aren't supposed to crack a smile or approve of technological advances, are also getting in on the fun. If you need photographic proof (I know I did), here you go:


As you can imagine, not everyone is happy about this. A lot of religious people are arguing that it isn't very Christian to parade around boasting about your good deeds. I have to say, I vaguely remember being told in religion class to keep my Lenten sacrifice to myself and not boast about the fact that I had managed to go 40 (okay, 25) days without chocolate. So I understand where they're coming from.

With that said—and take my words with a grain of salt because I am, admittedly, a horrible Catholic—I think I would have embraced Christianity a lot more as a younger person had I felt my leaders were connected to the same universe in which I was living. Priests and nuns always seemed like mythical figures to me, and once I realized they were just men and women, I found it hard to get on board with what they were preaching.

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Personally, I'm a big fan of the way Pope Francis has embraced disenfranchised Catholics by seeming more willing to change with the times and connect with younger people. Why shouldn't priests do a little PR for Catholicism on Instagram and Twitter? Smart move, in my sinful opinion.

What do you think about ashtags?


Image via Official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr

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