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Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate
Pope Francis greets the faithful as he leaves St. Peter's Square at the end of his weekly audience April 10 at the Vatican.
May 23rd, 2013
03:59 PM ET

Heaven for atheists? Pope sparks debate

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) -– American atheists welcomed Pope Francis’ comments that God redeems nonbelievers, saying that the new pontiff's historic outreach is helping to topple longstanding barriers.

“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,” the pope told worshipers at morning Mass on Wednesday. “‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”

Francis continued, “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.”

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said that although he has been skeptical of Francis' outreach to the nonreligious, he welcomed Wednesday’s comments.

“I gather from this statement that his view of the world's religious and philosophical diversity is expanding,” Speckhardt said. “While humanists have been saying for years that one can be good without a god, hearing this from the leader of the Catholic Church is quite heartening."

He continued, “If other religious leaders join him, it could do much to reduce the automatic distrust and discrimination that atheists, humanists, and other nontheists so regularly face. “

Francis’ comments received a great deal of attention on social media, with a number of people asking whether the Catholic leader believes that atheists and agnostics go to heaven, too.

On Thursday, the Vatican issued an “explanatory note on the meaning to ‘salvation.'"

The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who aware of the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

At the same time, Rosica writes, “every man or woman, whatever their situation, can be saved. Even non-Christians can respond to this saving action of the Spirit. No person is excluded from salvation simply because of so-called original sin.”

Rosica also said that Francis had “no intention of provoking a theological debate on the nature of salvation,” during his homily on Wednesday.

Although the pope's comments about salvation surprised some, bishops and experts in Catholicism say Francis was expressing a core tenet of the faith.

"Francis was clear that whatever graces are offered to atheists (such that they may be saved) are from Christ," the Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a conservative Catholic priest, wrote on his blog.

"He was clear that salvation is only through Christ’s Sacrifice.  In other words, he is not suggesting – and I think some are taking it this way – that you can be saved, get to heaven, without Christ."

Chad Pecknold, an assistant professor of theology at the Catholic University of America, agreed with Zuhlsdorf, pointing out that the pope’s comments came on the Feast of Saint Rita, the Catholic patron saint of impossible things.

“The remarks about atheists show that there is even a saint for atheists,” Pecknold said. “Including all of humanity, on this day especially, remarks like that are almost called for.”

“To stress that the gospel redeems all people, including atheists, is the teaching of the church,” he added. “This is an objective fact that the church believes.”

Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard University, said Francis' comments reflect “the interfaith and inter-community work many of us nontheists are dedicated to.”

That said, Epstein hopes that lay Catholics are listening.

“I hope Catholics, and all people hearing the pope's statement, will recognize that his words about atheists need to symbolize much more than just a curiosity or an exception to the rule,” Epstein said. “If someone thinks there are only a few atheists out there doing good just like Catholics do, that's a major misunderstanding that can lead to prejudice and discrimination.”

The pope’s comments come a few months after he told worshipers that Catholics should be close to all men and women, including those who don’t belong to any religious tradition.

"In this we feel the closeness also of those men and women who, while not belonging to any religious tradition, feel, however the need to search for the truth, the goodness and the beauty of God, and who are our precious allies in efforts to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation,” Francis said shortly after his election as pope in March.

Even atheists like David Silverman, president of American Atheists, who has had an antagonistic relationship with the Catholic church, welcomed the pope’s remarks.

“While the concept of Jesus dying for atheists is wrong on many levels (especially given that Jesus himself promised hell for blasphemers), I can appreciate the pope's `good faith' effort to include atheists in the moral discussion,” Silverman said.

“Atheists on the whole want no part in Catholicism, of course, but we are all interested in basic human rights.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (3,731 Responses)
  1. be honest

    maybe the pope ought to take care of the thousands of children abused by his clergy and the final destruction to the victims by the cover ups.

    Nope,, let's deflect into the delusional.

    May 24, 2013 at 8:05 am |
  2. Matt

    The Pope's position comes from a false Catholic belief that good works are needed to get into Heaven.

    May 24, 2013 at 8:02 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I thought he was talking about Universal Love and God's Grace. Perhaps I was mistaken. No heaven after all.

      This Heaven (David Gilmour):

      All the pieces fall into place
      When we walk these fields
      And I reach out to touch your face
      This earthly heaven is enough for me

      So break the bread and pour the wine
      I need no blessings but I'm counting mine
      Life is much more than money buys
      When I see the faith in my children's eyes

      I've felt the power in a holy place
      And wished for comfort when in need
      Now I'm here in a state of grace
      This earthly heaven is enough for me

      So break the bread and pour the wine
      I need no blessings but I'm counting mine
      Life is much more than money buys
      When I see the faith in my children's eyes

      May 24, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • Inglourious

      Heaven itself is a false belief.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Charles

      Read Matt 7:15-23

      It's not required in order to qualify for heaven, but those who qualify are expected to do good deeds. Simply testifying in Jesus' name without doing good deeds isn't gonna save ya.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • alpg49

      No, we are saved by the Blood of Christ. Not following our conscience (bad behavior) cuts us off from His mercy. It's more complicated than you think.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • wulfstan

      James 2:14-26 in total, and the verse 26 "For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."

      May 24, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • Tim

      alpg49
      If it were just about the "Blood of Christ" then Hitler could have found Jesus a minute before he died and be in Heaven right now despite not having performed good deeds. Any monster of a human being could just before they died. Would that be justice? Would that be the kind of people whom God would wish to surround themselves? Ask yourself, is it more important to live as good a life as you can, or to discover Jesus when you are grasping for your last breath, afraid? How many stories are out there about atheists recanting on their death beds, told as though that was some great thing. Sorry, but I don't see any value in thinking that it's all just about the Blood.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:36 am |
  3. be honest

    hey everyone!! it's just the popes opinion. Rather delusional though.

    An invisible place, managed by an invisible god and the popes never seen it or can even proof it exists!!!!!

    What a nut.

    May 24, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • be honest

      no provable god

      no provable heaven

      no one has ever seen either, including the dope pope. And he talks about it????? Now that's a nut case.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • Science

      be honest

      No fairy in the sky either and he talks about that too................now that is way out there on the evil tree of knowledge aye ?

      You know the talking snake and chadie says do not forget the talking donkey !

      Peace

      May 24, 2013 at 8:24 am |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I thought your God played a hiding game, with heaven the enormous prize for belief and eternal torment in hell the consequence of unbelief. God does hide itself well. No tangible evidence, only descriptions of what God is like and those obfuscated with stories of its jealousy, vengeance and wrath. But apparently we don't have to play that game. We are all covered by universal love and forgiveness. I feel all cozy now. I'm going to heaven.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The Lady in The Radiator Song:

      In Heaven
      Everything is fine
      In Heaven
      Everything is fine

      In Heaven
      Everything is fine
      You got your good thing
      And I've got mine

      In Heaven
      Everything is fine
      In Heaven
      Everything is fine

      In Heaven
      Everything is fine
      You got your good thing
      And you've got mine

      In Heaven
      Everything is fine
      In Heaven

      In Heaven
      Everything is fine
      You've got your good thing
      And you've got mine

      In Heaven
      Everything is fine

      May 24, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • M

      I think you mean you're in your own heaven (or hell) now, the one we choose to make.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:01 am |
    • Judas

      TTTOO, not if I rat you out you ain't.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:04 am |
  5. Ed

    Dear Author,
    It's tenet, not tenant.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:50 am |
  6. brewster

    Truth Prevails 🙂

    "He was crucified and rose from the grave 3 days later."

    Always a favorite line (a crazy , unsubstantiated one) ...considering nowhere else in history will you find a dead person who has come back after 3 days, what would make one think this to be true?

    people rise from the dead every day. it is common for magicians.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:43 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Ah magic, an illusion meant to play with the mind of man about as realistic as the Easter Bunny. So no people REALLY don't rise from the dead.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • Arthur Bryant

      Then there was his buddy Lazarus. The only two zombies in history. Ok, I'm convinced. Not.

      May 26, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  7. Jacques Lafortune

    I am glad, as an atheist, that I will be going to heaven... But, but, wait!!! I don't believe in heaven.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • Roger that

      Heaven will be church 24/7 for eternity. Two weeks of that and you'll be begging to go to hell.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:50 am |
    • Right

      Kicking and screaming, I don't want to go, I don't want to go, to spend eternity with a bunch of pious jerks I can't abide for more than 10 minutes.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • moakley

      Heaven – eternal tedium. Sounds like Hell to me.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:05 am |
  8. zcarcasmz2

    That's bull. Only believers get into Heaven, and you know it. I can't believe atheists are taking the credit like this. It's ridiculous.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Well maybe if christians were smart enough to question their god's existence their god wouldn't be choosing us over them (not that either heaven or their god exists but for the sake of playing along, we'll pretend).

      May 24, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • Mark

      Truth-P-You're not pretending I know you still have not fully denied Christ. That crack is all he needs.;}

      May 24, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • Tim Brown

      Taking the credit for what? For you believing in fairy tales?

      May 24, 2013 at 8:04 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Mark: No, I have fully denied your christ. I have not 100% denied the potential of any other god but the christian god is the least likely one to have existed. I see no evidence supporting ANY god claim and until that evidence is in place, there simply is o justification to believe it.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:12 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Mark

      I can assure you that TruthPrevails has fully dismissed the Jesus fable as readily as she dismissed Santa Claus.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      AtheistSteve: Thank you for backing me...you'd know better than anyone what my belief's are.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • Mark

      Saying it is the easy part, feeling it is the hard part. Deep in the recesses of the average atheist is the question they ponder. Okay I know you aren't average;} Jesus loves you and Steve.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Mark: Maybe you're not getting this but Steve is a recovering Catholic and I am a recovering protestant (raised in the Salvation Army church). We're quite good without god and we're quite content in this world. We get the same happiness in this world not believing as you apparently get from believing.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:44 am |
    • Mark

      I have faith in a power greater than you and I. Therefore I will still pray for you both. That's what faith is, it gives hope. I pray and hope for your salvation. No disrespect to your beliefs meant there. I won't give up on you or Steve in my quiet moments, of which I will take now on your behalf, whether you like it or not;}

      May 24, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  9. M

    I suspect the Pope has a better feel for the number of Catholics whose faith is not strong and feel like leaving the church, and that it is a very significant number. Continuing to tell these Catholics that they're hell-bound will ultimately move them to being a "none" or an "other" and out of the Catholic church completely, at which time they would no longer contribute financially.

    But there may be a mix of genuinely wanting to show mercy to those Catholics who are marginal and non-believers as well – I can't assume or pretend to really know the Pope's mind, but only interpret his words.

    This would also bring many former Catholics who have left the church back to it again, and back as financial contributors. Catholic churches continue to close around the country.

    in view of the number of churches closing and the growing group of "nones," I think this is about money, unfortunately, and I say that as a former Catholic and now atheist. But I say that without the vitriol that I hear in the voices of many other atheists, and see expressed on the many faith blogs here on CNN and other places. There are quite a few of us who are not "angry," but are resolute nonetheless.

    As for Silverman, I have never cared for his abrasive tactics with believers – it's as simple as vinegar and honey.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • centeredpiece

      I don't think money is the motive here. The Catholic church has piles of money. I think this Pope is a compassionate man and wants to express his belief that God's mercy extends to all people. He did say that salvation is through Jesus Christ, but that it extends to all people. As for going to hell, the Church has never identified any person who has gone or will go to hell. Judgement is in God's hands, not humans' hands.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • M

      Well, I still have to disagree – if the church had loads of money, they wouldn't be closing churches.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • Alex

      centeredpiece, Not sure what church you go to. But as an atheist sent my kids to Catholic school. My child came home from school when he was maybe 8 or 9 and told me that his teacher said I was going to hell.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:56 am |
  10. midwest rail

    Anyone know if comments were allowed on the Boy Scout story, or was it just posted with comments already closed ?

    May 24, 2013 at 7:32 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Posted with comments disabled. They know full well the backlash that will come if they open them. I say he is free to leave the Boy Scouts....they're better off without him.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • midwest rail

      Interesting – comments are still open on the story in the news section.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:39 am |
    • Abort the Pope

      They are keeping it closed. No comments yet. They do this with disgusting articles written by the most foul people in the world.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:40 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      We could always just start commenting here and see the supporters of the guy who has decided to no longer associate go crazy and show the true bigotry of their belief.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:01 am |
  11. AtheistSteve

    I wasn't bothered in the least by my non-existence before I was born and won't be troubled by not existing after I die. Actually the thought of existing forever seems rather repugnant. Especially in a disembodied state. Not being able to feel, hear, see, smell or taste but somehow still be aware seems awful. Because until someone explains how all those sensations, which require the receptors in our bodies sending nerve impulses to our brains, can continue beyond our death then you're just blowing smoke.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:31 am |
    • centeredpiece

      Well I would agree about the hereafter IF I believed that we'd be floating wisps of nothingness. But many Christians, including Catholics, believe in "the resurrection of the body" in the hereafter. Jesus was resurrection body and soul. His resurrected body bore the scars of his crucifixion and he ate with his disciples. Ged made this material universe and found it good; He made humans in the divine image and likeness and found them to be very good. Sin covers this goodness, but does not erase it. God still finds materiality to be good, very good.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Well that's the story line but there is a problem. If you dig up any coffin and look inside there lies the moldering and quite unresurrected body. So apparently not one person has come back from the dead (excepting of course the story of that one time in that peculiar book).

      May 24, 2013 at 7:55 am |
  12. Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbJHOnkFimg&w=640&h=390]

    May 24, 2013 at 7:30 am |
  13. save people

    pope's a wacko... he claims people are going to an invisible place, managed by an invisible god,,,

    and the pope has never seen the place???????

    Yet he's telling everyone about it????

    If's that's not a crack pot.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • centeredpiece

      Have you ever seen an atom? A neutrino? Can you see a molecule? Do you understand Einstein's theory of relativity? Do you even understand fully how an elevator works? Or can you count the apples in a single seed? And yet you "believe" in all these things, don't you? I am amused by the way non-believers demand an impossible level of "proof" for God's existence, yet place full faith in things they have never seen and cannot comprehend! If you cannot look around this beautiful world and see God's life pulsing through it, feel God's Spirit soaring in and around it, I feel sorry for you. If you cannot look in a baby's eyes and see the promise of eternity gazing back - ah, well, what a treasure you are missing.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • HotAirAce

      All of the things you mentioned, except heaven, can be measured and/or observed directly or indirectly. Experiments can be carried out to prove their existence. Their behavior can be predicted with high reliability. Not so with heaven, hell and religious claims in general.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:13 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      I've seen photographs of atoms. Microcircuitry in intergrated chips is laid down one atomic layer at a time. I also studied Realtivity and have a good grasp of how time is dilated through similar thought experiments that Einstein used to form his theory. I actually worked servicing elevators at one time.
      You know just because these things might be mysterious to you doesn't mean you are making a point about how we are merely accepting them on faith. If I want to find answers to these question then research provides the data.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Oh and apples in a single seed? Really? Simple...ZERO. The yeild of any single apple tree is dependant on a number of factors. It's genes, the soil, sunlight, resistance to pests...etc. An average might be determined for an entire grove but each tree will behave in accordance to its environmental factors. There is an element of chaos inherent in all living things.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:47 am |
  14. Frank S

    Thank goodness!! My good buddy who has been proselytizing me for years has been telling me I was headed for the big fry it I didn't wise up and get religion. Not that I ever actually believed I was hellbound. But it does give me a good feeling to know at least the Pope doesn't think I am going down just for being on a permanent church holiday.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:28 am |
  15. S

    Umm, no thanks?

    May 24, 2013 at 7:27 am |
  16. Death Sentence for Pope possible in future

    In no other place has a religious organization managed to bullshlt their way into being a country inside a country.
    They truly have zero legitimacy as a country. Mussolini gave them a bullshlt territory that should have been liberated during WW2 and returned to Italy.
    With no real legal basis for being considered a country, the Vatican should be immediately attacked and pillaged for any extra evidence of their many heinous crimes against humanity by the U.N. and every priest given death sentences.

    May 24, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • centeredpiece

      Hm, so should every Muslim cleric be "given the death sentence" because some nut job Muslims have slaughtered people? I love your "reasoned, rational" approach towards communal crimes and communal sentences.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • Abort the Pope

      Ah, the first catch of the day. Here's one that clearly deserves death. It's like they leap into the boat.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:54 am |
  17. Robert

    It's amazing what jabber can be provoked by a simple statement and a good heart. Even Vatican and scholastic commentators try to back-pedal and obfuscate the straightforward message of a good man. The Pope reminds us that goodness is God's will and desire for us. Whoever chooses good is living the will of God and will be rewarded. Jesus made it clear and simple too: "Love one another as I have loved you."

    May 24, 2013 at 7:25 am |
    • Abort the Pope

      You do not see into his heart, do you? No. So why say he is good?
      He is EVIL and should be arrested and shot for crimes against humanity!

      May 24, 2013 at 7:36 am |
    • centeredpiece

      You are right, Robert. Jesus himself told us the requirements for entry into the kingdom in Matthew 25, and it has nothing to do with religious labeling and magic moments of saying the exact right words. Jesus said to those who fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, clothed the naked, visited the prisoners, "Enter into the kingdom prepared for you since the beginning of the world." No religious labels necessary. The way one "believes" in Jesus or "accepts Jesus Christ as one's personal savior" is by following him and living according to his example. No magic words are needed and no labels or denominational branding is required.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:53 am |
  18. Jennifer

    A bit embarassing for the Catholic Church, really. "The Crusades? Oooopss! Sorry about that.......we were wrong"

    May 24, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Framco

      The crusades had nothing to do with atheism, but more with the purging of Islam from Europe.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • valrayw

      Uhm... yeah you were wrong – now your getting the idea

      May 24, 2013 at 7:17 am |
    • centeredpiece

      You say the Crusades embarrassed the "Catholics"? Pray tell, what other Christian (Non-Orthodox) denominations were there during the Crusades? I love the way that some Protestants like to pretend that all the bad things that Christians did before the reformation belong to Catholics only. As if their sects separated because they rejected the Crusades? As if, after the reformation, Protestant sects didn't persecute "heretics"? Come on, people, gain some historical perspective. The Crusades were supported by Christians for cultural and political reasons as much as for political reasons. And after the reformation, Protestant sects dabbled in politics as much as Catholicism did. It was only in the US where the idea of religious freedom (as opposed to mere tolerance) was combined with secular government.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:38 am |
  19. via2

    Jesus's crucifixation on the cross made it "possible" for "whosoever will" believe on the Son of God and repent of their sins in the name of Jesus to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. If the pope is saying that man can live in unrepentent sin, refuse the truth of the Word of God and at the same time teach other's that the Bible is a lie and STILL go to Heaven, he is DEAD wrong!

    May 24, 2013 at 7:02 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      oh my, How exactly is suffering and bleeding to death considered good??? The only way sin exists is within a book that says you are not to idolize anything or anyone but yet demands idolization of this god or suffer for not doing so-rather non-nonsensical to the rational thinking person. Yes, of course you worship a good loving god or NOT!

      May 24, 2013 at 7:08 am |
    • sunshine

      You are absolutely correct!!!!!

      May 24, 2013 at 7:24 am |
    • centeredpiece

      Not everyone who says, "Lord, Lord" will enter into the kingdom, but he who DOES the will of the Father." Mt. 7:21. A father had two sons and asked the first to do a task for him. "I will, Father," son #1 said, but he did not do the task. The second son was also asked by the father to complete the task, "I will not, Father," son #2 said, but later he indeed completed the requested task. Now which son did the will of his Father, Jesus asks. And which will enter the kingdom of heaven? Jesus tells us that the son who DID the will of the Father. Mt. 21:31. The way one "accepts Jesus Christ" (the "personal savior" part is an addition according to some Protestant traditions since it does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Sola scriptura v. "tradition" anyone!?) is by LIVING according to his word, not by uttering a set phrase during a magic moment and then continuing to live the same way as before. Jesus wants us to follow him by living in a loving way, not by reciting a pat phrase.

      May 24, 2013 at 8:00 am |
  20. Grafted Olive Branch

    Francis continued, “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.”
    -
    Atheists and Christians can meet at the touch stone of doing good. But simply doing good will not get either of us into heaven. Only Jesus can do that.

    May 24, 2013 at 6:58 am |
    • Mirosal

      So, just to be clear, the other FIVE billion on this planet who are not Chrsitian... their fates are already sealed unless they convert to jesus ... is that correct? I think it was tried before, in 15th century Spain (hint hint)

      May 24, 2013 at 7:01 am |
    • via2

      Mirosal, before the end, this Gospel shall reach every single human ear on earth. Every single person will have a decision to make. Whether they will receive the Only Begotten Son of God or reject what he has done on the cross for them. Whosoever rejects Christ will not enter into the Kingdom of God. Not to long ago, only eight people out of all the earth were saved, because the rest laughed at the Promise of the Word of God.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:07 am |
    • Mirosal

      ummmm.. sorry to burst your bubble, but it's been proven by legitimate archeology that your little "flood" NEVER happened. Besides, it's a physical impossibility to flood the ENTIRE planet. And yes your little book of fables does say it was a world-wide flood.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      via2: Where is the evidence that jesus came back from the dead??? Where else in recorded history is there evidence for this happening??

      May 24, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • M

      Oh my gosh, no! We don't do kind things because we will get something in return (heaven or anything else, as Christians believe), we do them because they simply are the humane and human thing to do.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • M

      Let's try that again, we do kind things simply because they are they are the humane thing to do.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:29 am |
    • jonp

      Also, if you behave well for an entire year, a corpulent man in a red suit will bring you gifts in December!

      May 24, 2013 at 7:29 am |
    • Mark

      M-Most people do good things including Christians because it makes them feel good. Finding the ability to be altruistic in the truest sense of the word is vital. That's what Christ did.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:38 am |
    • look2west

      Even the Catechism says that we're only responsible for what we know. Pope Frances confirmed that those who know about the Church and refuse to enter cannot be saved (I'm paraphrasing). We don't know what's in each person's heart. Only God knows that. He is the ultimate judge. So sure, it's possible that an unbeliever could get into Heaven. And being CAtholic doesn't mean you'll automatically get into Heaven.

      May 24, 2013 at 7:39 am |
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