Skip to comments.Pope Francis tells atheists to abide by their own consciences
Posted on 09/12/2013 5:58:16 AM PDT by armydoc
As letters to the editor go, it was certainly out of the ordinary, stretching to more than 2,500 words and not one of them veering on the irate or indignant. But the missive received by Eugenio Scalfari, co-founder and former editor of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, nonetheless made it into print on Wednesday on the front page and under the impressively brief byline of "Francesco".
Sorry, Guardian articles must be excerpted
(Excerpt) Read more at theguardian.com ...
Expressing the belief that it was important for Christians to engage in "a sincere and rigorous dialogue" with atheists, Francis recalled Scalfari had asked him whether God forgave those "who do not believe and do not seek to believe".
"Given and this is the fundamental thing that God's mercy has no limits, if He is approached with a sincere and repentant heart," the pope wrote, "the question for those who do not believe in God is to abide by their own conscience. There is sin, also for those who have no faith, in going against one's conscience. Listening to it and abiding by it means making up one's mind about what is good and evil."
So now one's "conscience" rules supreme? What a dog's breakfast! I know plenty of atheists who claim a "clean conscience". I guess they are good to go then? God's mercy will honor their conviction of conscience that there is no God? Does this apply to Catholics as well who have a clean conscience regarding supporting abortion?
See here: Pope Francis' Letter to the Founder of "La Repubblica" Italian Newspaper for the actual letter itself.
Please read the whole thing for context, but the paragraph they are talking about is here:
So I come to the three questions you put to me in the article of August 7. It seems to me that, in the first two, what is in your heart is to understand the attitude of the Church to those who dont share faith in Jesus. First of all, you ask me if the God of Christians forgives one who doesnt believe and doesnt seek the faith. Premise that and its the fundamental thing the mercy of God has no limits if one turns to him with a sincere and contrite heart; the question for one who doesnt believe in God lies in obeying ones conscience. Sin, also for those who dont have faith, exists when one goes against ones conscience. To listen to and to obey it means, in fact, to decide in face of what is perceived as good or evil. And on this decision pivots the goodness or malice of our action.
Also, btw, for the record, here is what the Catechism says about it:
1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery." Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.
Note the word "can" versus "shall" or "will".
Also see Romans 2:
 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.  For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature those things that are of the law; these having not the law are a law to themselves:  Who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness to them, and their thoughts between themselves accusing, or also defending one another,
I was thinkng that this provides cover for Kerry and Pelosi. It is also in line with Obama’s statement that he believe sin is when “I violate my own conscience.” This belief devalues Jesus’s death on the cross, as now there is no absolute sin or sinner in need of redemption. Apostasy on display.
|We make a very serious mistake if we rely on media like the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, or MSNBC for reliable news about religion. These news media simply dont provide trustworthy information about religious faithand sometimes they cant provide it, either because of limited resources or because of their own editorial prejudices. These are secular operations focused on making a profit. They have very little sympathy for the Catholic faith, and quite a lot of aggressive skepticism toward any religious community that claims to preach and teach Gods truth.|
It is also in line with Obamas statement that he believe sin is when I violate my own conscience.. This belief devalues Jesuss death on the cross, as now there is no absolute sin or sinner in need of redemption..... Apostasy on display”....
Sure is...We were warned in the last days they would have “Itching ears, teaching things they ought not”....I’m hearing it...Forgiveness is through Christ.....The Pope is teaching false doctrine if he was quoted correctly...Then again, not Catholic here, never pray to Mary or the saints...Go straight to the throne of Grace...
I knew it wouldn't be long before the backtracking began.
At least they are clarifying that they don't believe salvation is only through faith in Jesus Christ.
Based on the actions of the Risen Christ himself, I don’t see how the Church can see it otherwise. Recalling the Apostle Thomas who refused to believe that Christ had risen until he could “put his fingers in His side” (i.e. I’ll believe it when I see it). Christ did not condemn Thomas, He didn’t tell Thomas he was going to burn in hell. He chastised him and said, “Blessed are they who believe and do not see.” The Pope made the right call.
Atheists need Jesus Christ. Did the Pope just deny Christ?
What the heck does that mean? If your conscience says its okay to kill babies, then it's a sin for you not to kill babies?
Sweet! Non-believers get to come to the party too.
Pope Francis tells atheists to obey their conscience
Alessandro Speciale - RNS - Sep 11, 2013
I have had a very bad feeling about this guy-— I think we are in trouble.
It also surprises me that our Catholic friends are not discussing this story: Catholic priests may be allowed to marry amid Papal changes. There appear to be great changes afoot, some of which may not be welcome to them.
Yes, but your catechism, and the Bible verse you cite, only apply to those who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel. So, if the question was about God saving people on some remote island with no contact with the outside world, the answer would be find. When the question is about atheists who have already heard the Gospel and rejected it, the answer is absolutely incorrect.
The Church of Your Conscience is open for business
This is disturbing
Those who do not seek to believe should not even be asking if God forgives them. To ask implies that they are seeking to believe. His Excellency, the Pope, kind of ducked the question and answered from another angle, IMO.
This is the gospel of Jiminy Cricket.
He ducked nothing, he said you do not have to be a believer to get into heaven - that is clear.
In essence he is teaching all paths lead to God, ans he is wrong.
I think maybe the sedavacantists will be expanding their ranks?
"Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved."
Armydoc, I don't see how it could apply to Pelosi and other apostate Catholics at all. It is clearly intended for those who (1) have not heard the Gospel but (2) do the will of God as they understand it. Neither of these apply to Nancy Pelosi or any apostate Catholic.
Look, Pelosi went to Catholic Schools for 16 years. She has heard the Gospel proclaimed to her thousands of times. Whatever she may think about the "will of (g)od," she cannot possibly mean the same God proclaimed by the Catholic Church.
It's frighteningly probable that she, Kerry, Cuomo and the rest, know the Master's will but do not do it. Such persons, Jesus says, are like the stewards who screwed up though they were actually aware of what they should have been doing. When the Master comes back, they will get even "more stripes" (punitive lashing) because they knew better.
I see that by way of a response you got my first reply to your ungracious strawman comment pulled. How very clever and thoughtful of you. But my question still stands. The Pope has seemingly implied that it is possible for an individual who openly disbelieves in God and His Christ to enter a state of grace. Can anyone explain how the Pope's comments should be rightly interpreted?
This is the only thread on FR where this is being discussed, and although it is not a caucus thread it is being treated like one. Apparently no one wants to go near this topic with a 10-foot pole. That is too bad.
There are people walking this same earth with us who live in torment in a hell of horrors already within the confines of their minds. They have not "lost" their way. They have rejected the Way.
I think Popes can say or do whatever they want as long as its “Ex Cathedra”.
I had Know idea what that word was, so looked it up and still do not know.
Are you able to explain it?
I believe Sedavacantists are usually very traditional Catholics who believe the present popes are not legit.
It could be that some believe Popes after Vatican II were bogus.
Oh. You were much easier to understand than my search.
I think he needs to get a little less chatty when he gives interviews. These sort of comments beget controversies that help no one, Catholic or Protestant.
I’m going to sort these blaspemies out later in great detail, snapping that pole. It seems even the FRomans are a kind of universalist. I’m not at home though, so I can’t right now.
They respond, Nancy Pelosi just personally met her new Pope, and received communion at the Vatican.
Here the Catholic church is responding to the loss of their beloved Ted Kennedy by burying him in a manner that the common Catholics cannot help but notice, and which reinforces their support for the pro-abortion democrat party.
There were no complaints, your post was pulled because it was “making it personal.”
The pope’s statement certainly does not provide cover for them before God, because He sees beyond their political facade and into the depths of their hearts. What I was implying is that it gives them area to portray themselves as “people of faith” before the low information voter without having to stand up for any core values or beliefs that are incongruous with liberal doctrine. To liberals, the truth of the Gospel has no impact on their values, but only serves as window dressing to fool the masses into believing they actually have mainstream moral values.
I posted a thread on this very subject yesterday.
Hey, jboot---You mean not ex cathedra. Not "from the chair."
It's hard to give an adequate catechesis on conscience in one go. I always start by telling my RCIA students that, as Pope Pius XII said, "Conscience is a student, not a teacher."
Also: "Conscience has duties before it has rights." The Duties of conscience include formation, information and conformation.
Formation means acquiring habits of virtue, including the habit of diligently seeking out wisdom and knowledge.
Information means "getting the facts." None of conscience's judgments are worth a flip if they're based on feelings or preferences rather than moral and practical facts.
Conformation means being conformed to the Mind of Christ.
A conscience which has fulfilled these duties is a conscience that deserves respect.
But maybe Pope Francis will bring out these points, or something similar, in Lesson 2!
Maybe with some atheists, just reminding them that they have a conscience and are still obliged to do good and avoid evil, is a big first step.
You might be interested in what I wrote over here: #44
Really? The definition of “making it personal” has definitely broadened, then.
I agree with your points as well. I am going to make an effort to find a transcript of the entire interview. The context of the Pope's statements appears to address the condition of an atheist ("one without faith and no interest in faith"), but I would like to verify that this is the case from an actual transcript. If it is the case, it is troubling, as the uninformed conscience of the atheist cannot possible conform to the Mind of Christ.
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