Pope Francis stated that Atheists that do good

Pope Francis Says Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed, Not Just Catholics.

I know that Jesus died for ALL to be redeemed/saved. And all have it in us to do good. But if you die even if you’re a good person and still don’t believe in God what then? I thought all our teachings were that “If you deny my Father, doomed.” “Deny my Son, doomed”. Scripture says it. Plus, I’m paraphrasing. Now, I’m totally confused. Please someone enlighten me. Please help me understand and comprehend. Did the Pope say that Atheists are also going to Heaven in that Article? Thank you.

This pope is definitely the answer to my prayers! :love:

Thank you for posting. I don’t have time to elaborate now, but I will come back to this thread! :tiphat:


This pope is certainly the answer to my prayers! :heart:

One of my goals is to look for unity within ALL members of the Body of Christ, not only those who are formally baptized or accepted into Catholicism. The Church must preserve her teachings and keep them pure, which is one reason we have apologists. But knowledge in itself does not bring us to God, and can in fact inflate our pride.

1 Cor 8:1b-3
Now in regard to meat sacrificed to idols: we realize that “all of us have knowledge”; knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. If anyone supposes he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by him.

One problem is that too many people try to build an intellectual Tower of Babel, whereby they think scholarly study is the sure way to the kingdom:

1 Cor 13:2 “And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.”

The Church has never taught that one must formally be a Catholic to be saved, but especially when we are trying to learn the details of our own faith, we can become inflated with pride to think that our superior knowledge is going to make us better than them.

Jesus constantly taught against “salvation by group identity” … the Pharisee and the tax collector, the Good Samaritan, and there are several other examples.

Thank you for posting this. I don’t have time to elaborate more now, but I will come back to this thread! :tiphat:

Note: I am definitely not saying that there is no value in being Catholic. There obviously is. Just that being Catholic does not guarantee heaven, nor does not being Catholic sentence you to hell. Even though the Church has never taught that, it seems that many Catholics want to believe it.


Here is the direct link

I’m hoping this is a misunderstanding.

Don’t jump to conclusions based on what some newspaper says “the Pope said.” The papers are usually wrong. Sometimes there are translation issues as well, not to mention context.

You can read an English translation of the pope’s statement in a fuller context on Radio Vaticana.

In my opinion, his remarks boil down to the following:

  1. Everyone is created in God’s image, and Christ died for everyone.
  2. Everyone has a duty to do good.
  3. Christians and non-Christians can collaborate in doing good, and find common ground there.

The pope did not say that everyone is saved, that everyone has appropriated Christ’s redemption. I think his point is God’s universal Fatherhood, and trying to find common ground with unbelievers (as a starting point, not an end).

Doesn’t the new translation state that ‘many’ are saved, and not ‘everyone?’

My understanding of this is that he said that everyone is redeemed, not that everyone receives salvation; these are two different things. The Church does teach that everyone is redeemed by Christ, but not that there is universal salvation. Christ redeemed us all, but we still have to choose salvation, through faith, otherwise we reject the salvation that is offered to us.

Please know I’m not downgrading the Pope. I’m asking if we all go to Heaven if we do good works. I love Pope Francis.

If you really beleive, and I mean you not what you beleive others will beleive but you, then I would suggest you take a quiet moment to reflect on why you beleive this is what he is saying.

I thought that’s what Pope Francis was saying but not being well makes me not comprehend correctly sometimes. And pain does not make you compute well either. I like what you wrote very much and others too.

See Ad Orientem’s analysis above, it’s pretty spot-on.

Atheists are redeemed – everyone is. But if they do not appropriate that salvation, it is useless for them.

And of course atheists can do good. But without faith and the sacraments, that good is not meritorious, i.e., it cannot obtain for them salvation.

No; that’s the heresy of Pelagianism.

My understanding is that it’s more than that. There are many things about the ways of God we do not know. We believe that God is merciful and that he would try to find a way to save as many as He can, but he will not force anything on anyone. The church has taught that the virtuous pagan may be saved, as it is ignorance and not evil that causes them to be apart from the church. We do not know how far God’s grace and mercy extend to those who are not a part of His church in this life. But we believe God will recognize those who are earnestly striving for the true and good.

I was questioning if the Pope was stating that if by doing good works and being a non-believer of God, Jesus will you still go to Heaven? Two people can read the same article and get two different interpretations out of it. That goes without saying. I asked because I don’t trust my mind right now. Well, that sounds nuts. :smiley: I meant I wanted to know, “What did he mean by that?” Or more to the point, “Huh?” :wink: More than anything, I was questioning myself. And wanted someone else’s take on this. We learn from each other.

I posted and quoted from Ad Orientem’s. And I know that good works do not get us to Heaven alone. And thank you for responding. :slight_smile:

In my opinion, this article explains it all quite well:


Yes it would seem that sometimes we do. :slight_smile:

Jesus said, “Not everyone who call me Lord, Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father.” And, John 6:29, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.” Paul says that those who do good works but don’t know God are a law unto themselves.

The Holy Father may (I say may) be saying that those who do good works are children of God even if they don’t believe, through the mercy of Christ.

In just a few words you are asking something that can take years and volumes to understand.

Doing good works without faith will not save…faith without good works will not save.

So - faith in what? Faith in God?
But what of those who have not heard the good news? The Catechism says that if they try to do good following the dictates of their conscience, they too can be saved.

In 1 John 4:7-8 St John tells us that God is Love and he who knows love knows God…So let us consider that the person who has a loving heart…and Agape Heart…knows God even if he has rejected certain explanations and understandings of God that he has heard.
The person with a loving heart will do good works from his storehouse of Love. Such will naturally be pleasing to the God who is Love.

St Paul in 1 Cor 13:1-13 tells us that without love, faith and hope avail us nothing…
So let us consider the flip side - the person who claims belief, but does not have a loving heart. What shall he bring forth from a loveless heart?

We will be judged by our hearts and I suspect that there will be many a “believer” who will be surprised to be convicted and condemned, and many a “non-believer” who will be surprised to find themselves saved.


I got it to say that the law “to do good” (which I take as a version of “to love”) is written in every human heart. And that Jesus redeemed all of them. And if everybody does good, no matter what their path, we will arrive together, in the state of peace.

I don’t think he directly referred to heaven or hell, but just that everybody is designed and inwardly compelled to do good works.

You’re not saying that non-Catholics cannot go to heaven, are you? Please help me with your terminology.


I believe the Catholic teaching is that all who are saved are saved by means of Jesus’ death and resurrection and the Sacraments of the Church (by which Catholics are bound, but not G-d), whether or not they know it or are believers. It is also the case there are different principles such as invincible ignorance (however defined today); baptism of desire or of blood; deathbed conversion; mitigation of moral culpability due to mental illness, age, or intent; works as a reflection of faith; and so on, which play an important role relative to salvation. What the Church belief is, I think, is that one can and should always hope for the mercy of G-d.

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