This past week dissention has been moving within the religious sect because of the alleged, “atheists will get into heaven” letter Pope Francis sent to Eugenio Salfari, the founder of well-known Italian newspaper.
British newspaper, Independent, released an article on Wednesday which quoted the letter in question, saying, “… 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.” That quote cited in Independent and many other news articles seemed to warrant a secular analysis of, “atheists and agnostics will get into heaven if they follow their conscience.”
However, when looking into the letter further, many Catholic voices believe that Pope Francis was saying no such thing. Many say that the Pope was speaking more of God’s redemption and its availability for all, rather than forgiveness and warranting of salvation.
Brian Kelly, of Catholic Online, shed some light on the matter, stating, “The Pope… simply reminded the faithful that there can be, and is, goodness, or natural virtue, outside the Church. And that Christ’s death on the Cross redeemed all men. He paid the price so that every man could come to God and be saved.”
In addition, many Catholics are saying that Pope Francis’ letter was used as an outreach in an attempt to reach the world—to get unbelievers more interested in a dialogue about the things of God.
Personally, I enjoy the fact that Pope Francis has been in the headlines. I agree entirely with the notion of him using this letter and other recent quotes as an outreach to get people interested in a discussion of the matters that God cares about. I think it is safe to say that his efforts are not coming up short.