The new pope seems to be struggling to find a way to be inclusive and tolerant while being the head of one of the most intolerant of religions and this is taking him down contradictory paths. Take for example his recent homily that seemed to include even atheists as being among the ‘saved’.
Instead, this ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.”
“Instead,” the Pope continued, “the Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in the depths of our heart: do good and do not do evil”:
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!
Ok, the pope is saying that good atheists are saved by Jesus too, along with all the other good non-Catholics. Not that atheists care, since there is no heaven and so his opinion is worthless. But some Catholics think that this view may border on heresy.
Good Catholic Stephen Colbert is disappointed at the pope’s seeming acceptance of atheists.
(This clip aired on May 23, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)
But before non-Catholics start packing their bags for heaven, note that on March 14 he told a gathering of cardinals that “he who doesn’t pray to the Lord prays to the devil.” Apparently Francis takes the idea of the devil very seriously and combating the work of Satan has long been a preoccupation with him and he thinks that everyone who is not a Christian is a devil-worshipper, which would seem to be a serious obstacle to salvation.
The pope is still enjoying a media honeymoon so people are not questioning these contradictions but at some point he will have to decide what exactly his doctrinal position is.