In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.
Responding to a list of questions published in the paper by Mr Scalfari, who is not a Roman Catholic, Francis wrote: “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 for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.
“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”
Robert Mickens, the Vatican correspondent for the Catholic journal The Tablet, said the pontiff’s comments were further evidence of his attempts to shake off the Catholic Church’s fusty image, reinforced by his extremely conservative predecessor Benedict XVI. “Francis is a still a conservative,” said Mr Mickens. “But what this is all about is him seeking to have a more meaningful dialogue with the world.”
In a welcoming response to the letter, Mr Scalfari said the Pope’s comments were “further evidence of his ability and desire to overcome barriers in dialogue with all”.
In July, Francis signalled a more progressive attitude on sexuality, asking: “If someone is gay and is looking for the Lord, who am I to judge him?”
(NOTE: This is new low for the Roman Catholic Church! Saying that a person who sincerely follows his conscience, if he believes he is doing right will go to heaven, even if he doesn’t believe there is a God, is beyond blasphemy. To follow your conscience, means conformity to what one considers to be correct, right, or morally good.
So, atheist, who in good conscience believed they were doing good for mankind by killing millions of Jews, are assured a place in heaven? Anyone who believes that does not know God, and is not going to heaven themselves.
Muslims, who believe in God, do not hesitate to kill unbelievers. They do it with a clear conscience. Is the Pope offering them a place in heaven?
The real issue here is, the Catholic Church has lost so many members over the years because of sex scandals, they must now try to attract anyone by assure them of heaven, if they really believe what they are doing is good. The Pope can’t assure anyone of heaven. He has no assurance of his own. He must spend some time in Purgatory to pay for his own sins!
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.