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Pope Francis says atheists who do good are redeemed

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A Facebook reader of the Applesauce post just before this one (HERE) has passed along  THIS:

Pope Francis rocked some religious and atheist minds today when he declared that everyone was redeemed through Jesus, including atheists…

Using scripture from the Gospel of Mark, Francis explained how upset Jesus’ disciples were that someone outside their group was doing good, according to a report from Vatican Radio:

“They complain,” the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.” The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of ​​possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” “This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation.”

Pope Francis went further in his sermon to say:

“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”.. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

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10 Comments

  1. expdoc

    This doesn’t seem surprising to me at all. This is what I have been consistently taught in both the Rockford and Milwaukee archdiocese.

  2. doc: I dare say that countless rank-and-file Catholics and adherents of other Christian denominations think of atheists as agents of Satan. They’re not going to like what the pope said.

    Moreover, lots of devout religionists don’t understand how atheists could lead good and moral lives when they have no fear of eternal damnation for doing wrong. It’s almost as if some devout folks do good not for its own sake but just to avoid the fires of hell.

  3. Eduardo

    This is wrong. Those who refuse the Son refuse the Father. I can accept that others who claim Jesus, although wrong on many things, can be redeemed, but not those who refuse. They make God a liar and are therefore not good on the face of it.

  4. Eduardo: So you think you know more about this than the pope, right?

    That’s funny.

  5. expdoc

    I have never once, in 13 years in the Catholic Church, been taught that atheists are agents of Satan or anything of the sort. I have also never been taught that believers are anything other than sinners themselves. That includes priests, bishops etc.

    I also fully realize that their are people who attend church merely because they feel they are “buying shares in the afterlife”.

    As a believer I am worried enough about my own behavior and my own soul. I will leave the decision about everyone else to man upstairs.

  6. Robert

    He has a kind face. I’ll be curious if he can modernize the church. Allowing woman to be ordained and priest to marry would be a start.

    As much as I have no interest in organized religion, of all the religions I could have been raised in, I’m glad I was raised Catholic. There’s something about Catholics I meet that I share a bond with. It’s kind of unwritten and unspoken. You just have it because we all went through the same indoctrination and shared a common experience, kind of like the Mormons and other churches that had their own mystical side to them. The pagentry of the masses is great and was even better when the mass was in Latin. Besides that, we’re God’s favorites. That’s what I was always told except back then it was a secret.

  7. At Boylan, in 2013 mind you, children are explicitly taught that every single non-Catholic will go to hell. In front of impressionable young minds, religion teachers relish speaking for God, which, according to Church dogma, is about as huge a sin as there is.

    Nice to see that even the Pope has evolved beyond our local diocese.

  8. expdoc

    Robert,

    I would be shocked if he did either of the things you suggested to “modernize” the church.

  9. expdoc

    Thank God we moved from Rockford. Here is a Catholic priest trying to explain the views of the Church.

    http://www.staugcatholic.org/articleSynd.asp?ArticleID=400

    Dear Fr. Joe: A lot of people are angry about a document recently published by the Church. One of my friends said that the Catholic Church said that only Catholics can get into heaven. Is that true?
    Nope. This document could easily be put under the category of “most misunderstood.” I thank you for your question, because it is essential when we study our beliefs that we not get our information solely from the media.
    So, what does this newest document (Dominus Iesus) say? Clearly, it is an attempt by the Church to reiterate and clarify the Second Vatican Council’s work with regard to the question of salvation for non-Catholics and non-Christians. The central idea? That Jesus Christ is the way to heaven. Only Jesus. We state that firmly in all we do and this is one thing about which we will not compromise or change.
    Being nice is not enough. Being good is not enough. We can never get to the point where we earn salvation. Salvation is a gift that comes from God through the words and actions of Jesus. Look at your Bible. In the Gospel of John 16:6, Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes unto the Father except through me.”
    So, does that mean non-Catholics go to hell? Or people who do not believe in Jesus? Nope again! Take a look at your Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 836-848. There, the Church clearly breaks down its attitude toward “non-Christians.” Be sure to check that out.
    What is the idea, then? How do we say that no one is saved outside of Jesus and yet say that non-Christians can be holy people who we will see in heaven? Well, we go back to two things: First, there is the fact that all of us are God’s children and form what the Church calls “that one community that is the human family.” Our common Creator connects us to one another. Second, we look at the act of Jesus on the cross. That perfect act is so powerful and lasting that it extends to all of creation. Put these two things together and you have the core of Dominus Iesus.

    Let’s go step by step:
    1. We believe that our worship of Jesus on the cross, living for him and imitating him is the way to salvation.
    2. Christians do this and are connected through our loving God to the rest of his children who love God, but don’t know Jesus.
    3. These two realities combine to offer salvation to the whole world.
    Whew! It wasn’t easy to put all that together! There it is, though. Please, do not forget to pull out your Catechism of the Catholic Church and see what the Church says specifically about non-Christians. If you do not have a catechism, try your local parish. They should have a copy for you.

  10. Craig Knauss

    The Pope is really going to screw with the “Christian” fundamentalists by declaring redemption for atheists who have done good deeds without acceptance of Christ. Fundamentalists, on the other hand, believe that acceptance of Christ ensures redemption, regardless of how much evil one has done. I was raised a Lutheran and was taught the correct interpretation was in between, that is one had to do good AND accept Christ. I believe we are all judged according to our deeds, good or bad.

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