… As Usual , the Media Messed it Up [Papal Letter to the Italian Media] …
Posted by paulfromwloh on Sunday,September 15th,2013
.. Once again His Holiness , Pope Francis , has made headlines , this time for his supposedly radical op-ed comments on the
possible salvation of non-believers. The stunning revelation: Non-believers can be saved if they act according to their consciences.
.. There is nothing radical or new about his words in terms of Church teaching . The media is also making a big deal out of this , as you might think . Those knuckleheads have sensationalized his words in order to make them compatible with or approving of any worldview . It is quite the opposite .
.. Many of Pope Francis’s public statements on contentious topics have been construed as indicators of “change” within the church. A CNN blog piece from July 2013, reporting on Francis’s views on homosexuality, said that the pope’s words “indicated a change in tone, if not in teaching, in the church’s stance towards gays and lesbians more generally.” Championing Pope Francis as the great “modifier” or “tailor” of Church teaching on modern social issues is misguided, but many news services have fallen into this trap. These misguided hopes explain why a headline such as “Pope Assures Atheists: You Don’t Have to Believe in God to Go to Heaven” can create a media firestorm.
.. The title of the article is itself extremely misleading. To many it reads more like: “Everyone goes to Heaven regardless of what you believe,” when that is the opposite meaning of the message entirely : You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God ’ s mercy has no limits , if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart . The issue is for those that do not believe in God is for them to obey their conscience.
.. The Holy Father has recognized a two – pronged question concerning those who do not believe and do not seek , but , tellingly, he probes the latter prong first . He begins by saying that seeking is the fundamental thing. If you are a sincere seeker of the truth , and your sure conscience paves you a path , then you must follow it . Nothing radical there . The caveat, however, is that no one follows his conscience perfectly , theist or atheist , but in both instances what is offered is the same : a possibility of salvation , not a guarantee . Hence , there is a need for a search.
.. Once Francis establishes that necessity, “peaceful and constructive dialogue,” as he put it in his op-ed, is of capital importance. To avoid dialogue—to turn on autopilot—then, is to cease seeking the truth in a real way. Hence, what seeking the truth requires, inevitably and invariably, is dialogue with other human beings. Why Francis is perceived to be a groundbreaker in this regard isn’t clear.
.. Even in 1994, Pope John Paul II stated quite clearly, in his address to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture,
that “[i]t would be appropriate to seek [non-belief’s] historical, cultural, social and intellectual causes, and at the same time to promote a respectful and open dialogue with those who do not believe in God or who profess no religion.” The same notions of “seek” and “dialogue,” in the context of non-belief, were promulgated 19 years ago, before both Francis and Benedict.
.. What is being treated in many circles as a novel and welcome advance by the Catholic Church—through Francis—into the 21st century . It is nothing more than a simple moral point . It is consistent with the thinking of both the pope ’ s predecessors , and that of good old – fashioned common sense.
[link] — this is a link to the english translation of the Papal Letter . It appeared originally in the Italian newspaper , Il Republica . Cue it up , and read it for yourself , and see what you think …
- Pope Francis tells atheists to abide by their own consciences (theguardian.com)
- Pope Francis tells atheists to ‘obey their conscience’ (religionnews.com)
- Pope Francis: Atheists Can Be Saved if They ‘Obey Their Conscience’ (patheos.com)
- You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven. Just obey your Conscience (endtimeheadlines.wordpress.com)
- Pope Francis Reaches Out to Atheists in Letter to Newspaper (newsy.com)
- ‘Obey your conscience’… (telegraph.co.uk)
- Pope Francis reaches out to atheists, agnostics in letter to newspaper (foxnews.com)
- Pope Francis Says That Unbelievers Still Go To Heaven (vineoflifenews.com)
- pope francis is at it again [fast friday] (gracealreadygiven.wordpress.com)