Here’s the headline:
Pope Francis says atheists can do good and go to heaven too!
“Go to heaven, too?” Yes, but not as an atheist! Pope Francis did not say that an atheist who does naturally good things can be saved if he dies an atheist. Yet that is the impression given by Catholic Online’s half truth headline.
This is like taking Saint Paul teaching in First Timothy 2:4 and leaving it at 2:4.5. Yes, “[God] will have all men to be saved” (2:4), who would deny it but a Calvinist? But, it is evil to throw this verse out and leave out the adjoining clause “and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2:4.5). This is like providing a beautiful resort get-away, but no way to get there.
If you read the article here you will see that the Pope was 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. If Catholic Online is insinuating that Pope Francis has “reformed” the irreformable dogma, outside the Church there is no salvation, then that is shameful and disingenuous. Here is the lede:
“Pope Francis has good news for atheists. Jesus died and was raised for them as well. His redemptve 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.”