He’d said this earlier in the year, but either he reaffirmed it this Sunday or some news sites are confused. Either way, according to Pope Francis, atheists who do good (mind you, I suppose our ideas of “good” might be different) aren’t going to hell:
He told the story of a Catholic who asked a priest if even atheists had been redeemed by Jesus.
“Even them, everyone,” the pope answered, according to Vatican Radio. “We all have the duty to do good,” he said.
Now of course, I don’t believe in hell or redemption via deity or any of that. Nonetheless, I really hope this attitude percolates down to the membership. The main reason I’m not as open about my atheism as I could be is that it would break my father’s heart to think that one of his kids is going to hell. (No, he doesn’t read the blog.) And if it’s Catholic doctrine that I am, well … he might end up not believing it, but it would be a hard choice. I would really like for the Catholic Church not to put him in that position.