Date: May 29, 2013
Source: National Public Radio (NPR); New York Daily News
Pope Francis stated that even atheists can go to Heaven so long as they are good people. The Pope stated this in a letter to La Reppublica as well as in a homily through Radio Vatican.
“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 we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. . . . 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.”
These statements have serious implications on whether people need to be converted to Catholicism before they are saved. The view of the Catholic Church for centuries was that “outside the Church there is no salvation.”
In a letter to La Reppublica, the Pope wrote: “God’s mercy has no limits, if you go to him with a sincere and repentant heart, the issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.”
Sources: National Public Radio (NPR); https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2013/05/29/187009384/Pope-Francis-Even-Atheists-Can-Be-Redeemed