Pope gives atheism a nod

If you live long enough you will see miracles. Maybe that’s what this was, or it could have been a more down to earth outbreak of civility towards atheists from His Holiness:

Independent — Pope Francis has said that atheists should be seen as good people as long as they do good, in a move to urge people of all religions – or no religion at all – to get along.

The Catholic leader, who heads the 1.2 billion-strong Church, made his comments in the homily of his morning Mass in his residence, a daily event where he speaks without prepared comments. He told the story of a Catholic who asked a priest if even atheists could be redeemed by Jesus.


  1. says

    He phrased it as something like, “even atheists can be redeemed.” I don’t need redemption, thanks anyway, but I do appreciate the acknowledgement that I can be good without god.

  2. Randomfactor says

    The question is whether the Catholic Church can still be redeemed.

    John Paul I started out kinda like this, IIRC (I was quite a young Catholic back then.) Didn’t last long before his election was…nullified.

  3. says

    Pope Francis has said that atheists should be seen as good people as long as they do good…

    You mean like strengthening secular institutions so they can give kids a better education and protect them from religious con-artists and other predators? Sounds good to me.

    I’m with Random: it’s the Church that needs to be redeemed.

  4. Anthony K says

    Pope Francis has said that atheists should be seen as good people as long as they do good…

    Fortunately for Catholics like Jorge Rafael Videla, Pope Francis considers them good people regardless of the bad they do.

  5. grumpyoldfart says

    …as long as they do good

    And don’t you worry your pretty little head about the definition of “good”. The Pope will make that decision for you.

  6. thebookofdave says

    He must mean critique of church doctrine and opposition to its tradition of assaulting civil liberties and basic human dignity. Unless that word does not mean what he thinks it means.

  7. mikeyb says

    as long as they do good = as long as they don’t use birth control, don’t have abortions, don’t get divorces, and if gay don’t have sex and don’t criticize pedophile priests.

  8. dickspringer says

    He is a substantial improvement over his predecessor, who said that the Catholic Adolf Hitler was an atheist and generally denounced secularism as the foremost enemy of everything good, beautiful, and true.

  9. busterggi says

    How nice! The church that was led by a former Nazi is almost ready to accept atheists. Show where we rack on their list.

  10. says

    Maybe this is uncharitable, but isn’t the flip side of what he said, that atheists must submit to his Jesus at least after their death, or they’re still deserving of everlasting suffering? Yeah, suffering by separation from God, because that Hell thing is so fundie and “we don’t teach that anymore”, while at the exact same moment actively teaching about torture in Hell in church-led schools where those evil atheist cameras and nosy-noses don’t get in. /rant
    I would like a crystal clear answer from the Pope for once: does he think atheists will or should be in any way punished, degraded compared to believers, or unwell before or after death for not ever accepting Jesus as their “Lord”?
    That is the point that decides if his Christianity can develop a decent ethical basis. It’s great if Christians do good stuff, but I just can’t feel comfortable or safe with people who think I deserve punishment for being more reasonable than them.

  11. arresi says

    I agree with everyone else here that the Catholic Church needs some redeeming of its own. That said, for those of us with Catholic families, who may or may not worry about the consequences of disbelief for our immortal souls, this is . . . nice. Not to mention the potential psychological benefits for ex-Catholics who may not have completely shaken all of it off. My atheist-raised-part-Catholic mom’s happy about it, so I’m pleased for her and our family’s sake.

  12. Olav says

    Perhaps I am naïve, but I am willing to give Mr. Bergoglio the benefit of the doubt on this. Provisionally of course – his policies in the coming years will have to match his words and stated intentions. And he is certainly not a modern catholic in any way, that would be an oxymoron, but he does at least seem to be somewhat serious about wanting to tackle corruption within the church hierarchy. In that respect he may actually proof to be different from Ratzinger.

  13. anubisprime says

    When a pope utters such a ‘conciliatory’ note and more so that it was addressed at atheists and presumably atheism, then the hackles on my neck stand up and adrenalin flows…
    For 2000 yrs they have refused point blank to consider them at all.
    It was only a few yrs back that Ratty’s crony, a certain Cormac Murphy-O’Connor publicly derided atheists as ‘sub-human’…He later claimed he was ‘misunderstood’, in fact all video clips were removed mysteriously after his rant right sharpish.
    But there were a few transcripts on various blogs, certainly for a few months afterwards, no idea if they are still there mind, point is he was many things, but ‘misunderstood’ was not one of them.

    Now not wishing to piss on Frannies B-B-Q, but he seems to be contradicting one of the old school hierarchy.
    Most cardinals will not see the lighter side of 80 in this life ever again, Cormac is one of theirs so to speak, fact is in a decade and you can throw a choirboy into an locked enclave and he will not be trampled in the rush, but a decade is a long time to exact a revenge on a boss that apparently thinks atheists rate a mention at all, the majority of the old school are convinced atheists are possessed by devil’s and are the epitome of evil.

    watch ya back Francis…jus’ sayin!

  14. anubisprime says

    When a pope utters such a ‘conciliatory’ note and more so that it was addressed at atheists and presumably atheism, then the hackles on my neck stand up and adrenalin flows…

    And the main reason that happens is it signifies the inevitable countdown, ahh here we go!…3…2…1


    Yep…as dependable as Old Faithful the Geyser !

    They are such twisted and perverted creatures are they not?

  15. lanir says

    It sounded basically self-serving in a non-malignant way. That last part is important. It’s kind of an improvement.


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