Pope Francis: Atheists Can Go To Heaven And Priests May Be Able To Marry

230px-Pope_Francis_in_March_2013Since his elevation to the head of the Catholic faith, I have become a fan of Pope Francis — a pontiff who has become truly revolutionary in his faith and his lifestyle. As someone raised in the Catholic Church, I have never seen his equal. He has washed the feet of a Muslim female prisoner, declined the pomp and formality of past popes, and remained a humble priest in his lifestyle. Now, Pope Francis has written a long letter to a non-Catholic saying that he believes that even atheists can go to heaven and that God cares more about your heart than your profession of religion. At one time, such views would have gotten you burned at the stake. Even today, conservatives in the Catholic Church, like those associated with Opus Dei, are grumbling about this new Pope. Mark recently discussed the same view of the Pope on non-believers and now there is a report of a possible consideration of dropping celibacy for priests.

What is interesting is to see the continued effort to make Pope John Paul a saint when Pope Francis may be the most truly revolutionary man to ever hold that religious office. In his letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, Francis stated that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences. He said “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience. . . . Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”

It is a remarkably tolerant and enlightened view of faith at a time of extreme orthodoxy and religious intolerance. It is all the more remarkable given the increasingly antagonistic language directed against non-believers. There is obviously a rising concern among political and religious leaders that faith is declining in society. Thus, even though the non-religious is now a majority in places like England, politicians are ratcheting up such rhetoric. The Pope’s words are in stark contrast to those of people like Tony Blair with his comparisons of atheists and agnostics to terrorists.

The Pope’s reforms also now include the possibility of allowing priests to marry — a major change in religious doctrine. Italian Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s second-in-command, told Venezuela’s El Universal newspaper that celibacy is not dogma. As such, it is not unchanging divine law. Many have argued for years that marriage could bring a broader array of people to the priesthood and reduce the sexual scandals that have plagued the church.

193 thoughts on “Pope Francis: Atheists Can Go To Heaven And Priests May Be Able To Marry”

  1. This Pope is not doctrinally correct, he says and does things contrairy to his own theology. Washing the feet of a Muslim woman looks good (from the point of view of vanity or to deceive the believers) but it’s an affront to our Lord Jesus and to His sacrifice on the Cross. Muslims deny that Jesus is the Son of God, His sacrifice and His death and Resurrection. It’s clearly written in John 2:22 that: “Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist–denying the Father and the Son”. By doing that the Pope position himself as what he is: an antichrist or maybe The antichrist. Exactly like Pope Jean-Paul II did when he kissed the coran and sat under an inverted cross. I’m disgusted…

  2. Well heck, Elaine if a lot of the repubs have their way our poor will start living in an even more impoverished way, dying off just being a good side effect of the efforts to reduce draconianly (is that a word?) SNAP, health care policies, etc.

  3. leejcarroll,

    Why shouldn’t our country want to surpass the rest of the world in living conditions of its poor people. You know: OUR poor people live worse lives than YOUR poor people. You cain’t say your poor unless you live like the poorest of the poor in third world countries.

    And why take care of our elderly poor? Let them die off and decrease the surplus population of people who suck off the system!

  4. It was David, He also seemed to lament that those of us who live below the poverty level should be happy that we don’t have mud floors.

  5. Someone quoted the following:

    Percentage of households below poverty level that had the following items:

    Clothes washer: 68.7%

    Clothes dryer: 65.3%

    Dish washer: 44.9%

    Refrigerator: 97.8%

    Food freezer: 26.2%

    Stove: 96.6%

    Microwave: 93.2%

    Air conditioner: 83.4%

    Television: 96.1%

    Video recorder/DVD: 83.2%

    Computer: 58.2%

    Telephone (landline): 54.9%

    Cell phone: 80.9%


    Imagine poor people owning such luxuries as washers and dryers… refrigerators and stoves…and telephones. Don’t they know it’s so much cheaper to visit a laundromat…to go food shopping daily…to eat out???

  6. Gene,

    So true… So sad…. He’s spraying his mental acumen throughtout any thread that has anything to do with same sex…. Makes me wonder what kinda wrongdoer he is when not getting off here….

  7. Bron,

    Here’s a handy chart. While related, morals are subjective, internal and need not be rational and ethics (as applied to law) are objective, external and subject to the rules of reason.

  8. how do you separate morals from ethics?

    I really would like to understand.

    Are you saying ethics is divorced from morality?

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