Pope says atheists may enter heaven, but Vatican says no

During the homily of his mass last Wednesday, May 22, Pope Francis said that redemption has been made for everyone…even the atheists.


We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. 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.

It was pleasant to hear a Pope trying to reach out to all kinds of people, including the nonbelievers.  At least, someone thinking that even those who don’t believe in his god can be good human beings is better than someone who claims that only by believing in his god will someone be good or moral.  And the statement rather tries to diffuse that ever tightening tension between the theists and atheists, as a result of religious fanaticism that only theirs is the true religion or their religion is the only source of morality (depending on which religious group you’re talking to).

Pope Francis emphasized the importance of doing good works as uniting all humans.  It wasn’t the first time that he had alluded to solidarity with atheists, as he was quoted saying that “atheists and nonbelievers could be precious allies in efforts to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation.”

It is nice hearing humanist concepts from the leader of a big religious institution such as the Roman Catholic Church.  By those statements, it was implied that belief in God is not necessary in order to do good things.

However, the Vatican issues a correction saying that atheists will still go to hell.


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.)

And just when I thought that the Roman Catholic institution is starting to be open-minded, Vatican reverts back to its stance that it is only through their religion that anyone can be good or “redeemed”.

Atheists will not care if they are eligible to enter heaven or not, because they do not believe in it nor in eternal redemption or punishment nor in heaven or hell.  But what is importance is perspective of god-believers towards nonbelievers.  Pope Francis was trying to bridge this gap by saying that everyone can be good, regardless of their beliefs.  But Vatican counteracts such measure with its statement, trying to hold on to their “exclusivity” as the one true religion.

I don’t know what those folks are up to.  But I thought Catholics believe that their Pope is infallible?  Then why does the Vatican itself release a counter-statement?




3 thoughts on “Pope says atheists may enter heaven, but Vatican says no

  1. The pope seems to have come to the idea that if you can’t convince them to join you, you just have to join them.

    But I am really curious, you are a doctor of medicine, I presume, but you still have a lot of time to work on your blog and also the Patas forum.

    I have a daughter who is also a doctor of medicine.

    Anyway, I am glad to know a doctor of medicine who is an atheist.

    How would you describe yourself as an atheist?

    The standard self-description is the following:

    An atheist does not believe in gods, goddesses, divinities, deities, etc.

    That is a negative description, what about a positive description?

    I will now go to Patas and see whether I can contribute some messages there.

    Where are you more active? Here in your blog or in Patas?

    Will this comment be put on abeyance while awaiting moderating from you, I mean will you allow it to come out right away, as some bloggers do — for which I suspect they have already given up on their blogs…

    Marius Dejess

  2. http://foodtriptayo.com/?page_id=480

    This blog above comes out.

    Please see my other blogs:
    • The Atheist Doctor – my blog on atheism-related topics and issues = OK

    • Beauty Lust by Prudence – my beauty blog = No show
    • Hanging By A Stethoscope – my personal blog = No show

    Beauty Lust and Stethoscope do not come out, they have the same address, prudencemd.

    Server not found

    Firefox can’t find the server at http://www.prudencemd.com.

    Check the address for typing errors such as
    ww.example.com instead of
    If you are unable to load any pages, check your computer’s network
    If your computer or network is protected by a firewall or proxy, make sure
    that Firefox is permitted to access the Web.

    Well, you really have a lot of interest.

    Marius Dejess

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