By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/30/2013 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
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.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Holy Father is full of surprises, born of true and faithful humility. On Wednesday he declared that all people, not just Catholics, are redeemed through Jesus, even atheists.
However, he did emphasize there was a catch. Those people must still do good. In fact, it is in doing good that they are led to the One who is the Source of all that is good. In essence he simply restated the hope of the Church that all come to know God, through His Son Jesus Christ.
Francis based his homily on the message of Christ to his disciples taken from the Gospel of Mark. Francis delivered his message by sharing a story of a Catholic who asked a priest if atheists were saved by Christ.
"They complain," Francis said, "If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good." He explained that Jesus corrected them, "Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good."
The disciples, Pope Francis explained, "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."
"Even them, everyone, we all have the duty to do good, Pope Francis said on Vatican Radio.
"Just do good" was his challenge, "and we'll find a meeting point."
Francis explained himself, "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."
Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, told the Huffington Post, "Pope Francis is saying, more clearly than ever before, that Christ offered himself as a sacrifice for everyone. That's always been a Christian belief. You can find St. Paul saying in the First Letter to Timothy that Jesus gave himself as a 'ransom for all.' But rarely do you hear it said by Catholics so forcefully, and with such evident joy. And in this era of religious controversies, it's a timely reminder that God cannot be confined to our narrow categories."
Pope Francis is trying to deepen our understanding of the fullness of Christ's sacrifice and its reach, which extends to all men and women. We often fall into familiar ways of thinking that are closed. We divide ourselves into groups, forgetting that we are all children of God, identical, regardless of any divisions we establish for ourselves.We are also all called to the One who created us and, through His Son,is recreating us anew. He calls us to accept His salavation.
The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) contains an important explanation of the phenomena referred to as 'Atheism' (See, GS #17-22). It is a very large term and we have to first examine what is meant when it is embraced by an individual to best understand the effect of the claim.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that "Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a sin against the virtue of religion but the imputability of the offense can be significantly diminished in virtue of the intentions and the circumstances" (CCC#2125).
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. On Good Friday we all pray:
Let us pray also for those who do not believe in Christ,that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit,they, too, may enter on the way of salvation. Almighty ever-living God,grant to those who do not confess Christ that, by walking before you with a sincere heart, they may find the truth and that we ourselves, being constant in mutual love and striving to understand more fully the mystery of your life, may be made more perfect witnesses to your love in the world. Through Christ our Lord.
We are judged by a just God who will welcome us based on what we have done with what we knew. Those who do not know God will be judged on the good they have done and the values lived by, to paraphrase a quote oft attributed to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
However, the most loving thing we can do for all men and women is recognize that they too hunger for the God who created them and then help them to find Him as He is fully and completely revealed in his Son Jesus Christ and the Church. That includes recognizing the good that they do and joining with them in the work.
These latest comments are consistent with Pope Francis' efforts to reach out to people of other faiths and of no faith at all. By emphasizing our common bonds, our Holy Father breaks down artificial barriers so that we may see, and love, one another more clearly.
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
A pastor from Lancaster, California shared a haunting decision that created his 23-year-old "sin." He revealed details of this "sin" in a confession with his article posted in Charisma News. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The California pastor shared ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Several individual celebrations are scheduled for the Jubilee of Mercy in 2016. The faithful will observe with pilgrimages to Rome to celebrate with Pope Francis. Of the specific groups that will have their own days of observances, they include consecrated men ... continue reading
By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Cuban officials have given the go ahead for the papal altar to be erected next to a giant outline of Che Guevara for the world to see. Work has already begun on the project and the placement of the altar will provoke commentary from those who accuse Pope Francis of ... continue reading
By Tony Magliano
Seventy years ago, on August 6, 1945, the single most destructive weapon ever unleashed upon human beings and the environment - the atomic bomb - was dropped by an American B-29 bomber on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing approximately 80,000 people. Three days ... continue reading
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Ex-Pastor Tullian Tchividjian of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida broke his silence after his recent moral failure admission and stepping down from his post. Billy Graham's grandson wrote an open letter to his supporters and friends, ... continue reading
By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Christians all over the world are suffering from increasing prejudice and persecution. It is no secret that Islamic extremism and repressive governments are trying hard to perpetuate the oppression of Christianity. Pope Francis has been moved to warn of "a form of ... continue reading
By CNA/EWTN News
Jesus Christ's miraculous multiplication of the loaves shows that he offers "fullness of life for hungry man," Pope Francis said Sunday. He encouraged everyone to offer what little they have to God so that God can multiply their gifts and good deeds. Vatican ... continue reading
By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Wearing your best outfit or putting on a little makeup in preparation for Church isn't too looked down upon. A leading Christian writer shared with Crosswalk.com what she has realized over years of church participation. Although she loves beautiful clothes and make-up, ... continue reading
By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
He was the first American who contracted the deadly Ebola virus - fearful and sick, Dr. Kent Brantly came to realize something important for Christians and their relationship with God. Amid the pain and moments of uncertainty, from being diagnosed positive with ... continue reading
By J. Matt Barber
So this was rock bottom. The day, which yet again wore into night with fast food and old Bonanza reruns, would end like all the rest. Where were my car keys? As I searched in preparation for another trip to the liquor store, I made my way to my bedroom and opened ... continue reading