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Pope Francis says atheists can do good and go to heaven too! Comments

Pope Francis has good news for atheists. Jesus died and was raised for them as well. His redemptive embrace was for all, not just a chosen few.The choice to accept its reach is our own. The Holy Father was not teaching anything new. In fact, this hope that all who do not yet know God are not only capable of doing good - but will progress toward that knowledge of God by doing good - is ancient. The Church wants all men and women to be saved. Continue Reading

121 - 130 of 154 Comments

  1. Sherry
    1 year ago

    I would like to know the passages that the Pope was using for his homily. This story only lists the Gospel. Thank you.

  2. Michael
    1 year ago

    I agree with the Holy Father that if one is an atheist he or she can still go to heaven- but they MUST be baptized (at least by desire) and have faith in Jesus Christ before they die!!! This is the timeless doctrine of the Church from sacred scripture (Jn 3:5). It has always been the teaching of the Church that it is not enough to be good, one must be holy, and it is through this holiness that one can truly be morally good without running dry.

    The pope knows this. Yet he still exhorts atheists to do good. Let there be no doubt- there can be good atheists, but Pope Francis will agree with me that the 'good atheist' seeks Christ!

  3. Rick
    1 year ago

    God is bigger than a rule book. God is bigger than all of mankind. God is bigger than the universe. God is not a bean counter who will punish you to eternal damnation for not having said the rosary enough times or taken the host the wrong way or gone to the "wrong" church. If your definition of "God" excludes someone, that is your definition, It makes god smaller and easier for you to understand. Not the truth. God is truth, God is love, God is infinite. Anything less than that, is not God.

  4. asdasd
    1 year ago

    as an atheist i can assure you i do not want to go to heaven.

  5. Trinbagonian
    1 year ago

    You know the way some people talk about Jesus and salvation, you would think that they had met God in Heaven and God Himself told them exactly who would be in heaven. But Christians know that it was only Jesus, God made man, who had this honour: "No one has gone up to Heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man Who is in Heaven" John 3:13.

    So What did Jesus do? "When Jesus was at dinner in his house, a number of tax collectors and sinners were also sitting at the table with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them among His followers." Mark 2:15.

    So what did Jesus say? "Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right...Happy the merciful...Happy the peacemakers" Matthew 5 and "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you..give to everyone who asks you..." Luke 6.

    Jesus came as the lowest servant of all. Yes, even below athiests that he may serve them. He Himself said He did not come for the virtuous but for the sinner. I don't know bout you but I ain't the virtuous one and am thankful He came for me.
    Pope Francis is speaking the Truth. Would you refuse aid from a good Samaritan? And Heaven and God know we need more good in the world. Thank you Pope Francis for your call to simplicity, unity, love, and truth. God bless you and may we all do good. May we all come to Christ in good works

  6. Kathy
    1 year ago

    Pope Francis is NOT saying anything new or contradictory to the way to salvation; however, the term "atheist" is something we may not specifically say when we pray for all who do not believe, that they may be saved. He is not saying..just do good works and heaven is yours, but He is reminding us of Jesus' words when He reminds even His closest disciples about people who believe in Him because of what He says, or come to believe because of the works His does. Jesus was our truest example and if people who do not believe in Him because of what He says, they may reach Him through their good works, even perhaps the good works that others do. When anyone reaches out to another, they in fact reach out to Jesus. We, who already know Him, must trust in Him also..for it is He who is the truth; His divinity is beyond our scope of understanding His mercy and love. God wants ALL His children to be saved. A great parable to keep in mind is the Prodigal Son I have already chosen a side and pray everyday that those who do not believe will reach out for the truth. If it is through good works, who are we to judge when they will meet the Lord along their way? I think the Pope's message also reminds us that we are not the faithful if we sit in judgement..only God knows a person's soul. God have mercy on us all.

  7. Yasha Renner
    1 year ago

    I will admit, this article and, indeed, the Holy Father's remarks had me seriously concerned. We have with us, it seems, not a careful theologian, crafting his words with dogmatic precision; we have a man who desires to provoke in us a much needed renewal of faith and love. Certainly this is needed in our day. Personally, I would be more careful with my words, but then again I am not the Pope. Catholic publishers should nevertheless be very careful in their reporting as well as their opinion pieces. So here’s my opinion piece:

    An atheist is by definition "ungodly," who is thus in a state of mortal sin and cannot merit eternal life, unless by the grace of justification. That is Catholic dogma. Yes, Christ's work of redemption, his saving love, extends to all people, saved and sinner alike. None are predestined to the eternal fire; all have freedom to choose God with the help of God. But this in no way implies—and I will take Pope Francis's remarks to mean the contrary—that all who die in their mortal sins, having made a conscious decision to turn from God, will see heaven.

    "[N]o one existing in a state of mortal sin can merit eternal life unless first he be reconciled to God, through his sin being forgiven, which is brought about by grace. For the sinner deserves not life, but death, according to Romans 6:23: 'The wages of sin is death.'" ST, I-II, Q.114, art. 2, respondeo.

    It seems what Pope Francis meant by his remarks is that even atheists have something of the Divine Image within them, which is reason and free-will. Let us recall, with St. Thomas Aquinas, that "Man's meritorious work may be considered in two ways: first, as it proceeds from free-will; secondly, as it proceeds from the grace of the Holy Ghost." ST, I-II, Q.114, A.3, respondeo. The former, while good "relatively," nevertheless cannot merit salvation by its own power; the latter, on the other hand, merits salvation condignly; that is, worthily with the help of God.

    Thus, for example, the work of an atheist who builds a home for a poor family, or who feeds a starving child, is meritorious only in a relative sense, which is a “kind of good” according to St. Thomas. “For God gives men,” says he, “both just and wicked, enough temporal goods to enable them to attain to everlasting life; and thus these temporal goods are simply good” because “they are useful for virtuous works, whereby we are led to heaven . . . .” ST, I-II, Q.114, A.10, respondeo.

    So what is the moral of the story? Go out and do good, even if it happens to be side by side with an atheist, since our sanctification, our increase in grace after the first free grace, depends on the good work of the whole human family. And who knows, in letting “your light shine before others,” the atheist may even “see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.

  8. Anita
    1 year ago

    Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me." He also said in John 3:16: For God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten son, that anyone who believes in Him shall have eternal life". Atheists do not believe in Jesus. Pope Francis couldn't have meant what everyone says he said since that is in direct conflict with the teachings of Christianity and Catholicism. I hope he clarifies his statement.

  9. Rebecca
    1 year ago

    I am disheartened by the ignorant and intolerant remarks being posted here.

    The pope is FINALLY acknowledging that good people go to heaven. If a person is raised in a culture that is not Christian and does not believe in Jesus, but does good deeds and helps the poor, are they not then closer to Jesus than the many American gang members that do violence while believing in Jesus (and with the cross tattooed on themselves)? If a person is unable to to believe in Jesus based on the concrete evidence they have experienced in life, due to their own personal experiences, but chooses to use their life to better the world and the lives of others, are they not closer to Jesus than a middle class person who has had few life struggles, never challenged their own beliefs by spiritual questioning (due to laziness), and does very little for the common good?

    It is amazing that you assume that the good works of an atheist must by necessity be spiritually empty and therefore meaningless in the eyes of a benevolent and just God. Judge not, lest ye be judged.

  10. rafaelmarie
    1 year ago

    Hmmm...I wonder what Canon Law says???...

    "No Salvation Outside the Catholic Church- Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus
    "For, it must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood; but, on the other hand, it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, will not be held guilty of this in the eyes of God." Bl. Pius IX"

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