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Author Topic: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven  (Read 2283 times)

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Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2013, 04:02:08 AM »
Yeah, the church isn't bleeding members.  Its one of the fastest growing denomination in the world. 

The issue is that the Church doesn't need to appeal to first world liberals.  It doesn't care what you think of it.  Its power base is in far more conservative areas - south and central America.  Appealing to atheists as opposed to its core demograph is wrongheaded.  I get how tempting it is to say "Oh, the Church needs to modernise" but its not the case.  it needs to modernise for you, sure, but even if it utterly reversed its position on a load of issues you still wouldn't say "Oh, well, with you now saying gays, abortion, etc etc etc are OK, I guess I'll get baptised" while conservative churches in South and Central America - Pentecostalism for example - would reap a field day as Catholics turned away.

The point is, you're simply not the target audience.

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2013, 04:06:09 AM »
I get how tempting it is to say "Oh, the Church needs to modernise" but its not the case.

Please elaborate on why the Catholic Church doesn't need to modernise.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2013, 04:09:18 AM »
I thought I had.

But fine.  You - a first world atheist with liberal views - are never going to become a Catholic.  Any change the Catholic Church made to appeal to you better would reap no benefits in bums on pews from you.  Further, the Church is losing some members in second stage strongholds - Brazil is a good example - to hard line conservative Protestantism.  The modernisation that you want would just speed that process up as people turned away from a more liberal church to retain their beliefs elsewhere.

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2013, 04:16:12 AM »
That's horrible reasoning. It's like saying "We're missing out on that giant homophobe demographic, we better try and appeal to it more, or they'll go somewhere else!"


Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2013, 04:22:40 AM »
*shrug*  Yeah, in essence. 

Or, to drill it down a little more, progressive voices in the Church - and they do exist - are minimised because...well, look at it this way.  I see from your location that you are in Australia.  Lets imagine, for the sake of argument, that everyone in Australia:

a) agrees with you
and
b) would convert to Catholicism tomorrow if the church modernised.
and
c) isn't already Catholic

According to Google there are 22.32 million people in Australia.  There are over a half of that number in Sao Paulo alone 70% of which are Catholic (taking Brazil as a whole's stats).  Any change would run the risk of alienating a vast number of them.  So why would progressive forces be listened to?  They are fighting institutional inertia for a cause that would make the church less powerful.  Looked at from he church's perspective, its lose lose.

Ironically, the best way of changing the Catholic Church would be if everyone who dislikes it converts to it.  Let numbers work on your side not against you.

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2013, 04:26:39 AM »
Yeah, allow me to take several sacks of salt with the Popes words then... I didn't think their value could plummet more in my eyes.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2013, 04:35:23 AM »
Yeah, its not so much about taking them with salt as about recognising them for what they are.  It's a personal homily at the end of a mass.  Francis himself may well believe that but just as the Prime Minister of Australia can't unilaterally cede from the Commonwealth or Barack Obama can't unilaterally ban guns, Francis can't effect that change on his own.  An ex cathedra announcement invoking infallibility would rip the church apart, so its - in practice - an ecumenical matter.

It's, combined with other things, a sign in a very gradual shift in the church's thinking on the virtuous unbaptized but little more.  Essentially "nothing to see here, move along"

Edit:  Benedict?  Man, what year do I live in.  Benedict -> Francis
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 04:44:22 AM by Kythia »

Offline meikle

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2013, 04:58:59 AM »
To all the people who see the Church as backwards or archaic. They need to look more progressive and in touch with modern society to stop bleeding members, and sadly just sounding progressive will do the trick with a lot of people. This is one of those things you can bring up to sway the uninformed, which is why I see it as a public relations matter. Until they change their doctrine to reflect this new stance it's just a way of sounding better and not being better.
I was going to address this, but it seems to me that Kythia already did.  The Church isn't bleeding members, and the thought that they need your approval to continue to function is baseless.

Also, if you make a statement like, "The Church needs to modernize," then "prove that it doesn't" is not a valid argument in its defense.

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2013, 05:14:53 AM »
Also, if you make a statement like, "The Church needs to modernize," then "prove that it doesn't" is not a valid argument in its defense.

I did not say that >.> I asked for elaboration. I realize now I should have been asking why we should be content with the Churches refusal to modernize. Consider this my amended stance.

Offline Blythe

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2013, 05:38:46 AM »
Also, if you make a statement like, "The Church needs to modernize," then "prove that it doesn't" is not a valid argument in its defense.

I did not say that >.> I asked for elaboration. I realize now I should have been asking why we should be content with the Churches refusal to modernize. Consider this my amended stance.

In Sabby's defense, I believe I was the one who actually mentioned modernization specifically. But I will bow out of this particular thread.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2013, 06:30:30 AM »
Here I thought I had an airtight way of avoiding heaven.

On a serious note, I can see this being a good thing if it means fewer videos ( since that's the main form I encounter them in ) of catholics trying to convert atheists by threatening them with hell. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. If there's one thing the militant religious types are good at, it's doublethink.

Offline Silk

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #36 on: May 25, 2013, 09:24:12 AM »
How nice of him, I'm sure it might make a few Catholic families out there who are berating their non-believing children feel a bit better for a while. But that's about the only positive effect this will have.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #37 on: May 25, 2013, 10:07:23 AM »
I find the whole thing kinda weird, really. I don't particularly care whether or not Catholics think I'm going to their afterlife - after all, I don't believe in it. In that sense it's meaningless. I do find the strong implication of redemption through works to be interesting, though - what would make a huge difference in my life and many others is if the faithful, as a category, thought that they actually had to be good people to get in.

Though that does leave me wondering where collaborators with murderous military dictatorships who then whitewash history to try and eliminate any record of their collaboration go, if works count...

EDIT: Missed the mark on tone a bit there. Came across more than a bit dickish. My apologies.

« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 08:57:21 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Tydorei

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #38 on: May 27, 2013, 05:26:32 PM »
I'm not a religious buff or anything... but I grew up in the church (not catholic)... and why am I on this evil site? lol. But anyway, from what I was raised on was the only way to Heaven was through Christ. The only exception being was that you lived a good life AND never was told of christ. So what the pope said was correct... strictly speaking. But most people who call themselves atheist also know of christianity... therefore... a not too pleasant afterlife awaits them... supposedly. I'm not one to take chances though... I'll go back to church... one of these days...

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #39 on: May 27, 2013, 06:20:27 PM »
If he speaks for the big spirit then why not just issue a perpetual  indulgence from the issuance from the beginning of time to eternity for all souls and for all sins, he is the voice and authority of isn't he just make sure everyone gets to heaven even for mortal sins. I'm sure you can pull out the passages from the holy book of fun to make this a legitimate dogma and do it.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #40 on: May 27, 2013, 07:00:02 PM »
Thinking about it, and the church's typical policy of long-term thinking, I do not think this is directed at atheists at all.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #41 on: May 27, 2013, 08:52:10 PM »
Thinking about it, and the church's typical policy of long-term thinking, I do not think this is directed at atheists at all.

I was thinking the same thing.

(And also that Kythia is 100% correct.)


Offline Kythia

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Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #43 on: May 28, 2013, 08:42:34 PM »
Quote from: The Pope
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... "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!" We must meet one another doing good. 'But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist!' But do good: we will meet one another there."


OK.  I have no spies in the Vatican so this is conjecture of the highest order.  But here's what I suspect happened.

The Pope didn't quite say atheists could go do to heaven.  He made - or at least tried to make -  a subtly different point.  He said Christ redeemed atheists just as he did Christians.  Catholic soteriology is ridiculously complicated.  They've had a long time to make it so.  Here is a pretty full explanation but be aware its heavy going.  In short, though, redemption and salvation are different, though highly related, things.

The idea that Christ redeemed all of mankind is far from new.  Read up on the Jesuit "Karl Rahner" for more details.  It's orthodoxy, in short.  Not in debate (within Catholic dogma, obviously).  Its even biblical - 1 Timothy talks of Christ giving himself as "a ransom for all" and the Catechism accepts this to some extent - CC 2125 is the relevant bit.

So, what I suspect has happened - and again I stress this is a guess not based on anything much - is that the Pope gave a homily talking about that aspect in incredibly unclear language.  A load of news sources that, understandably, don't employ theologians ran with a Protesstant interpretation - where, in a lot of denominations - redemption is sufficient for salvation rather than simply necessary as it is in Catholicism.  So they took the Pope's words as saying that atheists can go to heaven.  What he meant to say is that there is no intrinsic attribute of atheists preventing them going to heaven.

So, now the Church is doing a frantic clean up job.  A "No, no, that's not what we meant"

ETA:  Incidentally, contrary to the Huffington Post article you link - Thomas Rosica isn't a Vatican spokesman.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 09:30:25 PM by Kythia »


Offline meikle

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #45 on: May 29, 2013, 12:00:30 AM »
I thought the point of the pope was he was infallible. Now he says something they might not like and they go "Naaah he was just playing dawg"
Man I just explained this.

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #46 on: May 29, 2013, 12:08:44 AM »
Whether or not he made it super duper official is irrelevant to me. The whole infallibility thing is held up when people agree with him and then the technicalities come out when they don't. I disregard the capacity in which he spoke and look only to what he said, and why it's causing the stirs within the Church that it is.

Think about the backpedalling from the statement for 5 minutes and find one honest reason to oppose the concept of salvation for all without Christ. I can't find one.

Offline meikle

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #47 on: May 29, 2013, 12:46:44 AM »
The whole infallibility thing is held up when people agree with him
Only by people who do not know what it means.

Quote
Think about the backpedalling from the statement for 5 minutes and find one honest reason to oppose the concept of salvation for all without Christ. I can't find one.
"We want to stay in business" sounds about right.  If you don't believe in their magic I don't really understand why you're so upset about not being invited to their magic party.  If you are concerned about getting invited into Heaven, maybe you ought to join a religion that will invite you.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 12:48:52 AM by meikle »

Offline Sabby

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #48 on: May 29, 2013, 12:54:12 AM »
Regardless, claiming infallibility in any capacity at all is dishonest in the extreme, it's invocation or lack of is irrelevant.

Offline meikle

Re: Pope Francis declares that atheists can go to Heaven
« Reply #49 on: May 29, 2013, 01:01:28 AM »
Regardless, claiming infallibility in any capacity at all is dishonest in the extreme, it's invocation or lack of is irrelevant.
I think you continue not to understand what 'papal infallibility' means.  I'm not going to explain it better; it is on you to actually take the time to understand what you're talking about now.