Does the pope realize how weak he looks when the Vatican walks back his remarks about atheists?


When some underling has to be trotted out to “explain” the real meaning of remarks made by the elderly head of an organization, it only makes the boss look like a figurehead, if not also a fool.

Such seems to be the case with something Pope Francis SAID the other day suggesting that atheists who do good can be redeemed:

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.

If the pope didn’t really mean to say what he seems to have said, wouldn’t it be easy for him to just come forward and explain himself? Wouldn’t that be preferable to having some Vatican bureaucrat tell us what the old guy really meant to say?

The pontiff should be embarrassed by THIS:

After Pope Francis told the world even atheists can go to heaven, the Vatican issued a correction: Atheists are still going to hell.

The Vatican issued an “explanatory note on the meaning of “salvation,” on Thursday, May 23, after media reports circulated indicating that Pope Francis” promised heaven for everyone engaged in good works, including atheists.

In response to the media attention, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who know about the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

(Translation: Atheists are going to Hell if they don’t accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.)

Rosica also said that Francis had “no intention of provoking a theological debate on the nature of salvation,” during his homily on Wednesday.

The current theological confusion began after the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics made comments during the homily of his morning Mass on Wednesday, May 22, indicating that atheists would enjoy the fruits of eternal salvation if they were good people.



  1. Joseph Valenti

    I’d like to know where it is that Pope Francis said that atheists can go to heaven. Will you please quote that part of his homily where it says that? What he did say was that everyone can do good. – or evil. And he suggested that that would be a meeting point. – a meeting point, I assume where we can begin a dialogue. Stick to the facts. We don’t need your interpretation of the Pope’s teaching.

  2. monkey

    Does anyone ever step back and examine some of the crap that spews forth from the institutions of organized religion? I mean, seriously look at it? In any other context, it’s science fiction.

  3. Robert

    “Does anyone ever step back and examine some of the crap that spews forth from the institutions of organized religion? I mean, seriously look at it? In any other context, it’s science fiction.”

    And we as a nation expect our President and elected leaders to believe and tout that science fiction based belief system or they don’t get elected. Yup, them virgin births and resurrections after being dead for 3 days happen all the time.

  4. expdoc

    Haters are gonna hate.

  5. Robert

    expdoc, its about fact based science vs myth, fable and farce based religion. If that’s hate to you, then so be it. It’s amazing how religion has built into it the victim feature, so when ever anybody calls BS, they can claim to be persecuted.

    You want to believe in that stuff, go ahead. You even got tax free status to do that. But, I don’t want my leaders basing their judgements on myths born when people thought the earth was still flat and all the other beliefs that follow in that venue.

  6. monkey

    Robert has it right, for sure.

    expdoc: I don’t hate those who feel like they need organized religion. I actually feel sorry for them and how brainwashed they’ve become. There are far more “believers,” than “non-believers.” Yet, all we ever hear about is how persecuted the “believers” are. Yet, in recorded history, the amount of death and corruption rained down on people in the name of “religion” is staggering. “Believers” can have their “beliefs.” Just quit trying to shove your drivel down the throats of those who choose not to believe.

  7. Speaking of persecution paranoia, my fave is the Cheesehead Conservative Complex, wherein wealthy Wisconsin wingnuts (gotta love alliteration!) believe that liberal union thugs will castigate them, impugn their values and demand political obedience.

    The horror!

  8. Craig Knauss

    “Haters are gonna hate.”

    Which haters are you talking about? The haters that slaughtered tens of thousands during the Crusades? The haters that imprisoned, tortured and murdered thousands during the Spanish Inquisition? The haters that slaughtered the Hugonauts? The haters that persecuted “witches” in Salem, MA and elsewhere?

    You’re right, doc. They do. And they are not all atheists.

  9. expdoc

    Like I said. Haters are gonna hate. A real christian is gonna love, despite the hate from non-believers and faux believers alike.

  10. monkey

    expdoc; your response is clearly proof that you’ve got little defense for your religion or the practice of religion as it’s known today. Look around your GOP today; not seeing a lot of “love” from all those supposed Christians who don’t seem much to like those who aren’t like them.

  11. expdoc

    My response is proof?

    It is proof that people like you will hate religion for your own reasons and that is fine.

    But the good that religion does in this world and has done in the history of the world far outweighs the bad.

  12. monkey

    Ahhh. . . moral relativism. That’s a wonderful defense of evil and one used by Catholics the world over, especially in the last decade. “Oh, priests have ruined the lives of thousands of children by abusing and molesting them? Oh, the Catholic Church is corrupt in so many ways? Well, that’s OK. They’ve done so much to help others, though.” Weakest defense, possible, expdoc. Try again.

  13. Robert

    expdoc, religion poses itself as the saving force of mankind. For that reason there shouldn’t be one death attributed to it, let alone the gruesome ways that many followers have used to kill people and all in the name of their savior.

  14. expdoc

    Weakest defense possible or the easiest way to dismiss billions of people with whom you disagree?

    I am not defending the behavior of corrupt and evil individuals. By all means they should be prosecuted and held to account for their crimes.

    You on the other hand are trashing the good deeds of billions of others.

  15. Robert

    Billions? Give me a break. People in general are decent to each other out of common courtesy and don’t do it only because of their religion. If they do, then let’s hope nothing comes along to sway those billions otherwise. Things could get real scary if people’s fear of some God is all that’s making them behave in a civilized manner.

  16. expdoc

    The Catholic Church alone has more than a billion members.

    And it’s not fear of God that guides behavior it is love of God.

  17. Robert

    I was raised Catholic. I sure remember the fear of God and Purgatory and the nuns and their long pointing sticks. My sister even got to witness a beating of a boy in her class by a nun. I don’t remember getting this love vibe out of my church or catechism, at least as a child. As an adult, I kept thinking how can people believe this stuff as anything other than the life code of the times it was written in. It’s my understanding before religion and the fear of that God it instilled, you know the one that’s everywhere and works in mysterious ways, people were quite uncivil to each other, sometimes how these boards become. I don’t think it was love that motivated them to be civil to each other, it was probably more centered on the Golden Rule and the invention of weapons for use by police forces, but not sure about the latter.

  18. monkey

    Funny how expdoc, who if I recall correctly is an actual physician, who no doubt studied science and scientific evidence and experiments and proof, would hew to religion, whose sole existence is predicated on faith alone, with absolutely no proof that a god, or gods, exist. How do you square those up? And, the fact that one billion people are members of the Catholic Church doesn’t make it any less of a ridiculous organization beset by malfeasance and corruption and, in a non-biblical sense, plenty of evil.

    Another question I always have for my Catholic friends: how do you continue to support an organization that systematically, from nearly the highest levels, condoned and made possible the horrific abuse of thousands of children. If this had happened at a company, let’s say Best Buy for example, they’d be out of business overnight. Yet, all you sheeple continue to send in your checks and support the institution. Square that one up for me, expdoc. In all seriousness, explain that one, please.

  19. expdoc


    I will never be able to “square” it up for you. Plenty of scientists and physicians have a deep faith in God. And it that faith does not run counter to science or scientific thought.

  20. Robert

    Expdoc, how do reconcile the tenants of the church that is based on a man who was born to a virgin and was resurrected after being dead for 3 days. That’s not possible, but the whole existence of Christianity is based on a man who was born to a virgin, something that isn’t even possible? Just what exactly do you believe in when its all predicated on something that isn’t even possible?

    Yet, Patrick will put up here conspiracy theories that people around the world believe in to some degree and they are scoffed and laughed at, yet just about everyone of them is more possible than what we know about how babies are made and what happens to a dead person after 3 days.

  21. expdoc

    That man was Jesus Christ, otherwise known as God.

    That would pretty much explain it.

    But setting aside your inability to believe, it always amazes me that an atheist cannot appreciate the beauty and goodness in a person who would truly strive to live their life as Jesus (whether you believe him to be God or man) taught.

  22. Robert

    expdoc, by all things we know about how babies that become adults are made, he most likely never existed since how he was supposedly conceived just isn’t possible. Besides that, he wasn’t the first savior born to a virgin in those times either. It was the common way saviors were created in the myths of those times.

    And then besides that, my Catholic upbringing taught me there was God the father, Jesus the son, and the holy ghost.. otherwise known as the holy trinity. I think that’s what they were called and where the sign of the cross comes from (Inthe name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (where did the ghost come from anyway)). Has the Catholic dogma changed since I was indoctrinated in the 60s?

    The Catholic mass and belief system is filled with mysticism. I’m sure you’re a very intelligent man, I just don’t understand how you can believe in something virtually that is rooted in mythology and think its real. Not to mention all the other billions that do. It makes no sense to that grown adults can’t tell the difference or have even thought it out that far.

  23. expdoc

    I’ve thought it out for decades and only been a Catholic since 2001.

    We just celebrated Trinity Sunday. Here is some information on it and the Holy Trinity.


  24. monkey

    Expdoc’s links and comments are fine but, without personally attacking you (and I really don’t mean to), some of your comments just bring on belly laughs. “That man was JC, otherwise known as God.” Really? The seriousness with which you write that just shows how deeply rooted religious brainwashing really is. Most of the major stories of the Bible are, again, pure fantasy and science fiction were they to be placed in another venue. Parting a sea? An ark to ride out a 40-day flood? Coming back from the dead after 3 days (or whatever)? Hilarity, for sure.

    Organized religion is predicated on brainwashing the youth, exerting control over great masses of the population, preying on the less educated, and allowing people to justify their bad behavior by blaming it on “Satan” or sin. And, it’s about money and power and corruption and control. Nothing less. The notion that you need religion to live a productive, spiritual and good life, treating others well, is patently absurb.

  25. expdoc

    Monkey, you are so very confused, I actually feel a little bit sad for your hate.

    Where did I say that you “need religion to live a productive, spiritual and good life, treating others well” ?

    What you think is hilarity is either your insecurity over your lack of faith or some need to mock others who do have faith. If you don’t believe that’s fine, that is your choice.

    I would turn your statement around on you and ask why would you mock others who use religious principle to ” live a productive, spiritual and good life, and treat others well”?

  26. monkey

    You continue to dodge my questions and veer away from the real isssues at hand. I have no issues with religion, per se. I don’t hate people who are religious. If you want to believe in a god or gods, that’s fine. But, keep it out of the public marketplace, keep it out of schools, keep it out of politics, and basically keep it to yourself. It’s best kept between you and whatever deity in which you choose to believe.

    This self-righteousness and hypocrisy that comes from many religious people and religious institutions causes more problems in our world and society than the “good” you claim that religion does.

  27. expdoc

    What question have I dodged?

    I have faith, you do not. That is how I can believe something that you clearly think is crazy.

    I vehemently disagree with you on your assessment of the relative good and evil caused by religion. I have a feeling you have little appreciation for the good that has been and will be effected by religion.

    But that is a matter of opinion from which you will never be dissuaded.

    Any other questions?

  28. expdoc says:
    May 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I vehemently disagree with you on your assessment of the relative good and evil caused by religion. I have a feeling you have little appreciation for the good that has been and will be effected by religion.


    Yours, or all religions?

    Funny, but just as I was about to post this brief comment, I noticed the captcha prompt below asked me to type the word “miraculous”.

  29. doc: Here are a few quotes from the late Christopher Hitchens to ponder:

    “Violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children: organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience.”

    “God did not create man in his own image. Evidently, it was quite the other way about, which is the painless explanation for the profusion of gods and religions, and the fratricide both between and among faiths, that we see all about us and that has so retarded the development of civilization.”

    “Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse.”

    “We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.”

    “Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.”

    “I can think of a handful of priests and bishops and rabbis and imams who have put humanity ahead of their own sect or creed. History gives us many other such examples…but this is a compliment to humanism, not to religion.”

    “There can be no doubt that the cult of death and the insistence upon portents of the end proceed from a surreptitious desire to see it happen, and to put an end to the anxiety and doubt that always threaten the hold of faith.”

  30. expdoc


    My answer might depend on your definition of religion, but I would be thinking of the major accepted religions of the world

  31. expdoc


    It seems that religious and non-religous peoples alike are often confounded by the intersect of evil with religion.

    Declaring oneself the adherent to a particular religion does not make a person less human or less susceptible to evil influence. In fact, a priest I know often preaches that where there is great good there is also the potential for the greatest evil.

  32. monkey

    expdoc: Answer my question about your adherence to the Catholic faith in light of the thousands of children systematically abused and molested with full knowledge of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. How do you remain in the church and give it your money? I asked that earlier and you ignored it.

    I can appreciate the good that some religions or churches have done. But, it will never counter the evil that they’ve done. Ever. You seem to be comfortable in the fact that, though thousands of lives were ruined by abusive priests, for example, that’s OK because the church gives a lot to charity or some such nonsense. Glad that you’re comfortable with that. I’m not.

  33. expdoc

    I am not “comfortable” with what has happened with the abuse situation in the Church and I never said that I was.

    But as I just noted above, people do not suddenly become less capable of evil when they join a Church or even when they become priests. We are ALL sinners and can all continually strive to be better human beings. I personally feel that religion can help you to do that, I personally have chosen the teachings of Jesus because of my faith.

    I am comfortable with what the Church is currently doing (at least in my Archdiocese) to combat the abuse issue.

    I think people who want to use sexual abuse of children to single out the Catholic Church are blissfully unaware of how prevalent this problem is in our society and in the world. It is a problem that is not limited to or even more prevalent in the Catholic Church.

    My children would be as safe or safer in a Catholic church (at least in the Milwaukee Archdiocese) than they would be in any organization with children involved.

    I have noted here before that my oldest was sexually abused in Rockford when we lived there and it had nothing to do with a Catholic priest or any other religious.

    Read this link about the good the Catholic Church alone has accomplished in it’s history.


  34. monkey

    Ahh, yes, the “it’s OK to sin, ’cause we’re all sinners” defense. Used throughout the ages to justify all kinds of horrific behavior in the name of religion. Of course sexual abuse is a problem. But, the Catholic church at its highest level (including at least a few Popes) covered it up and exacerbated it by looking the other way, moving monstrous priests from parish to parish to continue their horrific behavior and destroyed thousands of lives in the process. Glad all you parishioners are blissfully unaware of what actually went on. I’d suggest you dig a bit deeper. There have been dozens of detailed investigative pieces and some documentaries that will turn your stomach. But, keep on keeping on in your faith. That’s fine. Ignorance is clearly bliss.

    Not going to bother reading a link about the Catholic Church that, judging from the site name, is pro-Catholic. If it’s not, I’ll consider it. But, it seems like reading a critique of the GOP by the National Review.

    And, again, re-read my earlier comment. No amount of good ever trumps evil. Sorry. Not a defense. Use that argument with a 10 year old who was raped by a priest and see how well that works.

    Happily, demographics are not on your side either. Fewer men are entering the priesthood. Nuns are dying off. Women continue to be treated as second-class citizens in Catholic Church as the church clings to decades-old beliefs and tries to exert control. Younger generations are realizing that and moving away from the church and its antiquated beliefs. Perhaps there’s hope for the future.

  35. expdoc

    Haters are gonna hate.

    And apparently they love to put words into peoples mouths to justify their hate.

    You haven’t told me anything I don’t know and that hasn’t been openly discussed many times in my church. In fact, I am certain I am more educated on the topic than you are, maybe you should dig deeper?

    Happily, more men are entering the priesthood in my archdiocese and the ones I have met are outstanding individuals.

    Here is another link from the Catholic Church that you will refuse to read. After all, ignorance is bliss for those determined to hate.


  36. doc: Have they told you anything in your church about why women can’t be priests?

    Have they explained how Pope Paul VI rejected the recommendations of a papal commission on birth control mainly because he couldn’t bring himself to admit that he and previous popes might have been wrong on that issue?

    Have they explained the Vatican’s role in the rise of anti-Semitism?

    Have they mentioned that the church has paid more than $3 billion to settle lawsuits arising from sex abuse by priests?

    I’m just asking, mind you.

  37. monkey

    expdoc: Doubt your level of knowledge rises up to mine on this issue. Being shielded by the church and getting your “facts” from the same church that’s facilitated and enabled the abuse doesn’t count. Took a look at your “archmil” site that you linked. Funny, a resource from the archdiocese with protection tips on abuse? That’s pretty much like the fox guarding the hen house and giving tips to the hens on how to stay safe. You seem like a smart guy but you’ll have to try better than that.

    And, you’ll need to find some better phrases than “haters are gonna hate.” Empty and meaningless. I don’t hate Catholics and I don’t hate the Catholic church. I’m simply disgusted by the ridiculous hypocrisy inherent in organized religion and I’m perpetually disappointed when otherwise educated individuals buy into that and help encourage it. As an institution, the Catholic church is corrupt, wields its power to do bad things and enabled the abuse of children, period.

    Glad you’re getting nice priests. Plenty of the most heinous abusers were “outstanding individuals” at the same time they were raping little boys. Check out the documentaries “Hand of God” or “Deliver Us from Evil” and then come back with your argument that “yeah, but the Catholic Church does lots of good. . . ” If you’re not sick to your stomach watching these films and are comfortable with the institutional behavior in the church that enabled these monsters to move from parish to parish, then I guess the church’s brainwashing was a success.

    We’re obviously going to agree to disagree on this issue and if you’d like to have the last word, be my guest. Hope you’re comfortable with your church.

  38. Brian Opsahl

    The root to evil is money….The Catholic Church consulted it’s lawyers (money) and did the math no differant than say Ford and those pinto’s that used to blow-up during a rear end collision. The cheapest is NOT always the best way…obviously.

    The pain they have caused these kids for the inactions of the leaders is keeping folks away from even entering the Church. How can anybody do this kind of sick crap to a child…?

  39. expdoc


    Actually, I have had conversations with priests and seminarians about all of those topics with the exception of the anti-Semitism. We talked about anti-dentites but not anti-Semites.

    But I will check it out.

  40. expdoc


    You didn’t look at the site very closely. In fact, the link is about a mandatory program that the archdiocese runs for all adults who will be interacting with any kids in the church.

    Would you prefer the archdiocese not talk about abuse? I thought that was your criticism in the first place?

    What this really comes down to is that you will not be happy unless the church goes away completely.

    Which it will not do.

    The rates of abuse amongst priests are similar to those amongst other professionals that work with kids. The grave error of the church was the hubris with which they dealt with the issue. Very similar (in my mind) to what happened at Penn State.

    Here is a non-Catholic link with more information that you should read.


    Let me be very clear…The sexual victimization of children by priests (or by anyone for that matter) is inexcusable. Church officials protecting offenders rather than victims is also inexcuseable. There is much to be angry about. Many get even more upset when accountability and responsibility in the Church doesn’t seem to occur.

    Many reasonable and thoughtful people argue that the Catholic Church should allow married men, women, and those who are homosexual to be ordained as priests and deacons (as the Episcopals do) to prevent clergy abuse from occurring. But the current data on clergy abuse just doesn’t seem to support these arguments. Perhaps future data will change current findings but you have to go with the best available data to inform one’s thinking now.

    The recent clergy abuse stories coming out of Europe and South America are not surprising but we have to be reasoned letting good data and logic inform us rather than relying on myths, anger, and hysteria. If someone (or some group) has empirical data that can contradict the 6 points mentioned above, please present it and let it be subjected to academic peer review. We all may have particular beliefs and perspectives about the causes, contexts, nature, and scope of clergy sexual abuse in the Church but we should be informed by empirical quality data and reason.

  41. Brian Opsahl

    That’s not how you deal with our President Doc…

    You all watch your fox lying news and then come to these blogs writing the trash they throw at there viewers night after night….were’s the empirical quality data and reason from anybody from your side…?

  42. Robert

    This is a popular subject. Patrick, based on the number of comments from past posted story lines, what subjects have received the most posts? If that’s not privileged information. I’m curious what gets people’s angst up and what people typically blow off as not interested enough to comment on (much). It’s obvious religion is one of the more high volume themes.

  43. expdoc

    I remember posts hitting triple digits several times in the past. I think it was in the days of the Peanut.

  44. Robert

    What was the subject matter? Do you recall?

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