Pope Francis says all are redeemed through Christ

According to this article, Pope Francis says all are redeemed through Christ, even atheists.

“They complain,” the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.” The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of ​​possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” “This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation”
Pope Francis went further in his sermon to say:

“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.”

Responding to the leader of the Roman Catholic church’s homily, Father James Martin, S.J. wrote in an email to The Huffington Post:

“Pope Francis is saying, more clearly than ever before, that Christ offered himself as a sacrifice for everyone. That’s always been a Christian belief. You can find St. Paul saying in the First Letter to Timothy that Jesus gave himself as a “ransom for all.” But rarely do you hear it said by Catholics so forcefully, and with such evident joy. And in this era of religious controversies, it’s a timely reminder that God cannot be confined to our narrow categories.”

You might say the Pope is saying that only people who “do good” are redeemed. Then you have to define “doing good.” In any case, I think this statement is very interesting. What say you?

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

13 thoughts on “Pope Francis says all are redeemed through Christ

  1. The Gospel is filled with statements that SEEM contradictory. For instance, we are children of God and noble spirits who are less than the dust. Huh? Continued study with the companionship and help of the Holy Spirit show us how both can be true, and refer to our more-than-just-dual nature.

    Joseph Smith was asked if only the Mormons would go to Heaven. He replied, no – but they’re the only ones who can truly go to Hell. I think we all know of what he was speaking.

    Joseph Fielding Smith responded to the idea that only a handful would go to Outer Darkness by counting on his fingers: “One million, two million, three million…”

    When we take the revelation of the three heavens (and the possibility of even more “levels” in the Celestial Kingdom) it seems obvious that Heavenly Father will place us where we are more likely to experience happiness. I cannot imagine living amongst our Heavenly Parents without constantly feeling shame and fear of being pointed out. (He tells me I can and will live happily with Him, but my “natural man” sees so much yecch in my personality yet.)

    As Latter-day Saints, we have an unusual perspective in knowing that neither Hell nor Outer Darkness are punishments as such. We often call it “Spirit Prison” as did Paul, defining it as a place where someone is imprisoned so they can do no harm.

    We have learned that, in fact, Jesus’s Atonement DOES save us all and redeem us for immortality. How we spend that mortality, and where, is the concern. To me, anything less than celestialhood would be Hell, because my family would be away from me and I would be, as a chaplain preached at a military funeral near Denver, merely a neutered angel.

  2. It is surprising that to me that people did not know the Catholics believe that children who are true to the faith of their parents are saved. It doesn’t matter what faith it is as long as they are true to it throughout their lives and that they do good. What gets a person in trouble is changing, converting, to a different faith. I don’t see anything new in the statement.

  3. YvonneS, that is news to me. I’ve heard some of my Muslim friends to say something like that, but not Catholics. Isn’t baptism essential for salvation in Catholic view? Isn’t that why there exists the uncanonical idea of Limbo (place for those who died in original sin but who are not damned, such as unbaptized little children)?

    It is great that pope Francis acknowledges that anyone is able to do good. But I’m very much puzzled with what pope meant with “The Lord has redeemed all of us, … not just Catholics.”

  4. It seems pretty clear to me that the Catholic church has always maintained that baptism is necessary for salvation.

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-necessity-of-baptism

    To quote: “And the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “The Lord himself affirms that baptism is necessary for salvation [John 3:5]. . . . Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament [Mark 16:16]” (CCC 1257).

    The Christian belief that baptism is necessary for salvation is so unshakable that even the Protestant Martin Luther affirmed the necessity of baptism. He wrote: “Baptism is no human plaything but is instituted by God himself. Moreover, it is solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we shall not be saved. We are not to regard it as an indifferent matter, then, like putting on a new red coat. It is of the greatest importance that we regard baptism as excellent, glorious, and exalted” (Large Catechism 4:6). ”

    Does “redeemed” (from Pope Francis) mean “saved?” I would say yes. So on the one hand you have the Pope saying all are redeemed, including atheists, and on the other you have the Catholic church saying you must be baptized to be saved.

    BUT as YoYoMan above points out there are a lot of apparent contradictions in Mormon doctrine as well, so we should not be so quick to turn this into a negative. We have some Catholic commenters who occasionally come to the site, so it would be interesting to hear their perspective.

    (Important point: it appears that the primary purpose of the Pope’s homily is to encourage all people to do good, and this is undeniably a positive message).

  5. Another point that bears repeating: Mormons believe that almost everybody will go to a place better than the Earth after dying (the exception being those sent to outer darkness). The traditional Christian definition of being “redeemed” or “saved” is “going to heaven.” If going to heaven means going to someplace better than the Earth, then we also believe that almost everybody will go to a kind of heaven and therefore be saved or redeemed.

  6. Didn’t Pope JP also say that evolution was true? Progressives.

    It’s hard to pin a specific theology on the talk, but I would guess that the Pope believes in a works-based salvation aided in a kind of general way by the free grace of Christ to both believers and non-believers. This is also what Mormons believe, with the exception of our essential ordinances, which must be entered into either in this life, or the life to come if one wants to get into the “top” heaven.

    Mormons can afford to hold dogmatic positions on their ordinances only because we have the doctrine of vicarious temple work. Without this, our own dogmatic attitudes would also evaporate under the warm cultural climate of pluralism and empathy.

  7. Since a transcript of the entire homily has not been release, it’s hard to know for sure what he meant. This article [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12677d.htm] says of “redemption” that it “has reference to both God and man. On God’s part, it is the acceptation of satisfactory amends whereby the Divine honour is repaired and the Divine wrath appeased. On man’s part, it is both a deliverance from the slavery of sin and a restoration to the former Divine adoption, and this includes the whole process of supernatural life from the first reconciliation to the final salvation.”

    To reconcile the quotes from the Pope with traditional Catholic teaching, I would have to say that he was referring to redemption on God’s part. In other words, the divine honor has been repaired and his wrath appeased, by Christ’s sacrifice, which is sufficient for all mankind. In that sense everyone has been redeemed by Christ.

    But applying that redemption to individuals is another matter. Traditionally, it’s said to be applied initially by baptism, after which we “work out our salvation” for the rest of our lives.

    In short, I would be surprised if the Pope intended to say that everyone is saved. Saying that everyone is redeemed is not the same thing.

    I would just also point out that the Pope is not believed to be infallible in everything he says. I understand that these comments were unprepared. It’s possible that he misspoke in the fervor of the moment. I’m not saying he did, just that it would be reading too much into it to say that Church teaching has been altered, based on these comments.

  8. Reality check: “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” And also, Romans 3:10 and following: “there is none that doeth good, no, not one. There is none that seeketh after God… They are all gone out of the way.” Finally, “even the plowing of the wicked is sin.”

    The point being that a rebel seeks not after God, and that even the “good” things done by an unrepentant sinner are overshadowed by his alienation from God. See Jesus’ instruction to the rich young ruler to see this illustrated.

    In our natural state we at war against God, hopelessly lost and unable to save ourselves. We do not seek after the God of the Bible for the same reason a thief doesn’t seek out a cop– we are guilty and gone out of the way and not interested in seeking righteousness. Only by God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s drawing us can we be truly saved. That salvation was won by Christ alone, not by our being dunked in water. “Christ supplemented is Christ supplanted.” Please remember that and do not give false hope to unbelievers that in the end they are going to be okay. If they were going to be okay, then why did Jesus speak twice as much about hell as he did heaven?

  9. Niklas: While serving as a missionary in Austria, a catholic country, a Catholic priest told me that the word catholic means universal and that means all the churches are part of the Catholic Church. This means that if a person is baptized in another church and stays faithful to that church they are saved. Now my companion who was born a Catholic and had converted to Mormonism had a problem because she had not been true to the faith her parents had taught her.

    He did not say what anything that had to do with non Christian religions. They probably needed baptism.

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