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Pope Francis tells atheists to abide by their own consciences
guardian ^ | 11 September 2013 | Lizzie Davies

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 ...


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events
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Responding to a series of questions asked in the summer by Scalfari, who describes himself as an interested "non-believer", Pope Francis used his trademark conciliatory tone to discuss the Catholic church's attitude to atheists, urging those who do not share his faith to "abide by their own conscience" and reminding them God's mercy "has no limits".

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?

1 posted on 09/12/2013 5:58:16 AM PDT by armydoc
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To: armydoc
I took this part: God's mercy has no limits, if He is approached with a sincere and repentant heart," to mean that if an atheist comes to God with a sincere and repentant heart, he will also be saved. To come to God with a sincere and repentant heart requires belief in God, i.e., an end to atheism for that individual. But that's just my opinion.
2 posted on 09/12/2013 6:00:51 AM PDT by knittnmom (Save the earth! It's the only planet with chocolate!)
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To: armydoc
Check out the Pope's new car
3 posted on 09/12/2013 6:05:42 AM PDT by ken5050 (According to Dick Lugar, I'm a "random outlier." Woo Hoo!!!!)
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To: armydoc
Maybe it would be better to read what he actually wrote rather than read what some communist rag wrote about what he wrote.

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 don’t share faith in Jesus. First of all, you ask me if the God of Christians forgives one who doesn’t believe and doesn’t seek the faith. Premise that – and it’s 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 doesn’t believe in God lies in obeying one’s conscience. Sin, also for those who don’t have faith, exists when one goes against one’s 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:

[13] For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. [14] 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: [15] 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,

4 posted on 09/12/2013 6:08:16 AM PDT by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: armydoc

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.


5 posted on 09/12/2013 6:08:23 AM PDT by Freestate316 (Know what you believe and why you believe it.)
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: marshmallow
This article is another reminder of the veracity of what Archbishop Chaput said a couple of years ago:
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 don’t provide trustworthy information about religious faith—and sometimes they can’t 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 God’s truth.

7 posted on 09/12/2013 6:19:10 AM PDT by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: Freestate316

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”....

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...


8 posted on 09/12/2013 6:20:47 AM PDT by selfdefense
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To: armydoc
The pope had had "no intention of provoking a theological debate on the nature of salvation", it said, adding: "They cannot be saved who, knowing the church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her."

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.

9 posted on 09/12/2013 6:35:01 AM PDT by wmfights
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To: knittnmom
I took this part: God's mercy has no limits, if He is approached with a sincere and repentant heart," to mean that if an atheist comes to God with a sincere and repentant heart, he will also be saved. To come to God with a sincere and repentant heart requires belief in God, i.e., an end to atheism for that individual. But that's just my opinion.

But that was not the premise of the question:

Francis recalled Scalfari had asked him whether God forgave those "who do not believe and do not seek to believe".

We're talking here about the hypothetical atheist that claims a clean conscience. The proper response to such a person would be to tell them that because of their sin nature, their conscience is not always reliable. Presumably, if an atheist approached the good Pontiff and asked him if there was anything wrong with his "clean conscience atheism", the Pontiff would have to say "no, nothing wrong with that at all. God will honor that with his boundless mercy".
10 posted on 09/12/2013 6:36:00 AM PDT by armydoc
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To: marshmallow
It helps to understand that one is dealing with a member if "the elect". The idea that God's mercy might be spread a little wider than their exclusive group causes them some consternation.

This has nothing to do with election. I have no problem in saying that the atheist who dies in his atheism faces eternal judgement in hell. Do you have a problem saying the same?
11 posted on 09/12/2013 6:42:43 AM PDT by armydoc
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To: armydoc

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.


12 posted on 09/12/2013 6:42:45 AM PDT by huckfillary
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To: huckfillary

and?

Atheists need Jesus Christ. Did the Pope just deny Christ?


13 posted on 09/12/2013 6:44:35 AM PDT by GeronL
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To: armydoc
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.

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?

14 posted on 09/12/2013 6:46:12 AM PDT by GeronL
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To: armydoc

Sweet! Non-believers get to come to the party too.


15 posted on 09/12/2013 6:46:28 AM PDT by GunRunner (***Not associated with any criminal actions by the ATF***)
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To: huckfillary
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.

Thomas believed. Yes, he doubted and required proof, but he believed. Now, if he had said "nice try, I'm not buying it. My conscience tells me it's a scam", I'm sure Jesus would have said "as long as you're following your conscience, you have My blessing", right?
16 posted on 09/12/2013 7:04:00 AM PDT by armydoc
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To: armydoc

Pope Francis tells atheists to ‘obey their conscience’
Alessandro Speciale - RNS - Sep 11, 2013

http://www.religionnews.com/2013/09/11/pope-francis-tells-atheists-to-obey-their-conscience/

http://biblehub.com/jeremiah/17-9.htm

http://biblehub.com/hebrews/11-6.htm


17 posted on 09/12/2013 7:05:16 AM PDT by haffast (Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all. -Abe Lincoln)
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To: armydoc

I have had a very bad feeling about this guy-— I think we are in trouble.


18 posted on 09/12/2013 7:25:13 AM PDT by Mamzelle
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: Mamzelle; armydoc
I am hoping that something was lost in translation. But I, too, am growing concerned.

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.

20 posted on 09/12/2013 7:51:42 AM PDT by jboot (It can happen here because it IS happening here.)
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