But in no way do I believe that one finds salvation that way if there is no confession of sin and profession of faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, else it makes Christ's death on the Cross pointless.
Nonetheless, many preach a gospel of works rather than a gospel of grace:
21 Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? 23 Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!
Faith produces fruit in the form of works and by our fruit (good deeds) we shall be known but good deeds alone do not lead to salvation. Or why else would Jesus say:
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
You cannot be a fruitful branch and yet deny the vine.
Although I completely understand why so many here have misunderstood some of what the Pope has said here, he is not saying that atheists will go to Heaven or that they are saved. He is referring to redemption which is what Christ did for all so that all have a *choice* on whether to accept his salvation. Atheists are redeemed but they are not saved until they accept Christ. Again, I completely understand why so many think he is referring to salvation.
On the other hand, I find this homily troubling because it certainly seems to put atheists on the same level as Christians (and I won’t get into Protestants vs Catholics here). Unless I am completely misreading him, he refers to atheists as “children of God” and the Catholic Faith (as far as I know) refers to the Baptized as “Children of God” not all people everywhere. [I am not sure if the article in the OP quotes this part, but I have been involved in a few discussions on this homily so forgive me if it is not there].
So, as a practicing Catholic, I am more troubled by the fact that it appears that what he has said here doesn’t even jive with Catholic teaching. Maybe I am wrong, but I’m pretty sure you don’t become a child of God without baptism.