Media Claims Pope Gave Atheists Pass into Heaven
Pope Francis made waves on Wednesday when he said that atheists can do good; but some media headlines jumped on the chance to portray the new pontiff as bucking Church teaching.
Preaching on Christâs words that âWhoever is not against us is for us,â Pope Francis emphasized that Christ died to redeem all men, âeven atheists,â and insisted we canât assume non-believers cannot do good. Such people can do good, he said, and âmust,â because of âthis commandment at heart: do good and avoid evil.â
In fact, it seems Francis wasnât going to let atheists off the hook if they failed to do good just because they donât believe in God: âWe must meet one another doing good,â he said, and answered the hypothetical question, âBut I donât believe, Father, I am an atheist!ââ with the emphatic reply: âBut do good: we will meet one another there.â His words were consistent with Church teaching that God offers redemption to all and each individual must choose to accept it.
Of course, thatâs not how some media outlets saw it. Judging by the headlines, one would think the Pope just cut 2,000 years of Catholic doctrine out of the books. The Huffington Post announced Francis had declared atheists âredeemed,â and claimed the Popeâs homily ârocked some religious and atheist minds today.â Salonâs took it a step further, saying that Francis thought âAtheists Are Alright,â telling atheists that the Pope is âon their sideâ and âthatâs a cool thing for all of us.â MsnNOW headlines read that âPope Lets Atheists Off The Hookâ and that the âbig guy in the skyâ is really âok with everybody.â The Gawker joined the crowd and declared: âPope Says Atheists Are A-Ok By God.â
But that wasnât the worst of it. Bill Press on Al-Jazeeraâs Current-TV mocked the Popeâs words. âPope Francis said, anybody can go to heaven--even atheists!â he laughed, âWell, then, whatâs the point?â Press claimed that the Popeâs words got rid of âall the âtra la laâ of going to church and doing the ceremonies and giving money to the church.â
No matter to the media, of course, that Pope Francis basically repeated Church doctrine--that God âdesires all men to be savedâ (1 Tim 2:4)--and what Jesus Christ said in the Gospel for the Wednesday Mass--that âwhoever is not against us is for usâ (Mark 9:40), so if an atheist is doing good deeds he shouldnât be shunned.