EWTN Catholic Q&A
Pope Francis's statement that everyone can get into heaven
Question from Jim Cable on 05-29-2013:

Since the Pope is infallible per Catholic doctrine and shortly after his statement a Vatican spokesman said the Pope was "wrong" doesn't that make the spokesman a heretic and shouldn't he be excommunicated, or at least publicly corrected in front of the entire world??? Or are they putting the Pope on a short leash???

Answer by Judie Brown on 05-30-2013:


The Pope did not say that "anyone can get into heaven." Here is what one solid Catholic thinker shared on the subject in an article entitled "If atheists can bet into heaven why bother with faith?"

Pope Francis’ comments yesterday about faith, atheism, and salvation have apparently struck a chord: They made headlines and were, for a time, the second most-shared item on Reddit. In his homily on Mark 9:38-40, the pope said:

The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. “But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.” Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. . . .

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! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. . . . “But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!” But do good: we will meet one another there.

While some news reports suggested that these remarks are a departure from the theology of Pope Benedict, in reality Francis’ predecessor had made similar attempts to reach out to non-believers. ...

see http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/05/23/pope-francis- atheists-heaven/