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
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

(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. Me

    I firmly believe that God is rational. For this reason, I firmly believe that we are judged based on our moral character, our decisions in life, and on how we live our lives. I seriously doubt that one's religion matters to God at all. As for religion, remember this rule:
    "A mythology is an extinct religion. A religion is an extant mythology."

    May 24, 2013 at 3:14 am |
    • Atheist Dictator

      I see where you're coming from. However, I could never understand how someone can be judged on moral character. I mean, everything that is "you" was designed by an outside force. Whether we're talking about mind, body, soul or your environment. Yet your failure and success depends on "you". If I build a machine and it doesn't do what I want it to, it's not the machine's fault. Anything designed 100 percent by an outside force cannot have freewill.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:21 am |
    • DaveLake

      If god is rational-why did he create humans with a genetic defect so people suffer from cancer. Hmmm-if god were rational he would not allow weather to kill innocent children. Hmm-if god were rational he would not have created the human brain to react as an adult to abuse in childhood cyclically -perpetuating the problem. If one states that is not part of being rational-I would state a kind god would find it irrational to punish humans with unnecessary misery.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:26 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      @Me...I'm glad you put into words what many people think, ncluding myself before I became a follower & worshipper of Jesus Christ the Lord...BUT...It's about Jesus Not Religion...He asked (and still asks) "Who do YOU say that I am?" - He wasn't put to death for being a good moral teacher and miracle-worker...He was put to death for WHO He claimed to be; The Lord GOD King of Israel Who is equal with the Father and deserving of all worship...And please understand that ALL of WHO He claimed to be and WHY He was sent was written about Him hundreds and thousands of years BEFORE He arrived in Bethlehem and eventually died on a cross (and subsequently rose from the dead–all foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures). When you read the NEW Testament you are reading the testimony of those eyewitnesses who were simply writing about the HISTORICAL FULFILLMENT of what Jesus had told them (and proved with His works) what was written about Him in the OLD Testament (Hebrew Bible–Tanakh)
      Your comment just threw the Person & Finished Work of Jesus under the bus...and therefore you have judged His claims to be false...making Him (and His ordained witnesses) a LIAR...So you'll have to exclude the "God " of the Bible from your posted statement of faith and live with the fact that you are under the judgment of THIS God...Just a simple reading of the New Testament account of Jesus im the gospels bears witness to what I just wrote. So WHO do YOU say that Jesus is? I do hope you will consider His claims, turn from your unbelief and personally receive the Jesus of the Bile for WHO He is and WHAT He was doing on that Cross for YOU...If indeed it was for you...That is now between you and this God that you have tried to dismiss in your post..
      Btw...Take a look at a couple of my posts below if your interest has been peaked...Thanks for the interaction and the opportunity to defend (or more accurately, make known) the testimony of Biblical Jesus...


      May 24, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
  2. BK

    As an atheist, I find this very insulting. Essentially it's saying I'm wrong and religion is right. I don't believe in any imaginary friends and have no desire to spend eternity in a heaven that I don't like or want. I wish people would start living this life like it's the only one. I have spent my life living it to the fullest, doing what I can to help others and to make this a better place for future generations. I have very strong morals that come from within, not from some religious threat of hell and damnation. I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity of this life and feel it would be very arrogant to think I will get a second one. I don't need religion saying I'm going to be redeemed and go to heaven. I need religion to say atheists aren't evil and it's okay if people don't believe the same.

    May 24, 2013 at 3:13 am |
    • LL

      Amen! – Fellow atheist

      May 24, 2013 at 3:50 am |
    • nunya business

      there is a line from The Stand by Stephen King that you should hear. There is a character named Nick Andros who is deaf and has had a hard life. When he meets Mother Abigail and she tells them they have been chosen by God to stand against the evil forces in the story. Nick tells her that he doesn't believe in God. She looks at him for a moment and then bursts out laughing. She says "That don't matter none, because HE believes in YOU!"

      What Pope Francis said is much the same and not that you are wrong. Please take the chip off your shoulder and do what the Pope says...Doing good for your fellow man is all he asks of you.

      May 24, 2013 at 3:53 am |
    • DaveLake

      BK-I fully agree. I am still amazed that people post-only through believing in (fill in the blank depending where you live on the planet) will you be able to go to heaven. What happened to thinking skills? A question I would ask myself-Hmmm many religions state there is only one way to heaven-how do I know I am with the correct one? Or-Hmmm-if I was born in Asia I would not be following the religion I believe in-what does that tell me about my religion. I could go on and on but religion creates a climate where you must not question or think.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:06 am |
    • ArgleBargle

      Your worrying about everyone else and how they're living their life make you no different than they are: you want them to be like you. If you believe it, live it, and let your example light the way.

      May 24, 2013 at 4:07 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      @Athiest...I do appreciate your honesty but Jesus' asked, in the context of hainimg eternal life, "Who do you say that I am?" –He didn't "How moral are you?"
      YOU WROTE:
      As an atheist, I find this very insulting. >>> HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE AN ATHEIST? COULD YOU BE WRONG?


      I don't believe in any imaginary friends...YOU JUST MADE A STATEMENT OF "FAITH"...i.e. You "don't BELIEVE"

      ...and have no desire to spend eternity in a heaven that I don't like or want >>> YOUR OWN WORDS, AS JESUS SAID, WILL COMDEMN YOU. GOD WILL GIVE YOU YOUR HEART'S DESIRE?


      I have spent my life living it to the fullest, doing what I can to help others >> WHY?...THOSE WHO DON'T "HELP OTHERS" AND HARM OTHERS APPARENTLY GO TO THE SAME PLACE AS YOU IN THE END...DO YOU NOT SEE THE FOOLISHNESS OF WHAT YOU ARE SAYING?

      The Bible says there are no atheists, just "fools" who supress the truth about the existence of God and say in their heart "there is no God"...I think you're just hedging your bets so that if you are wrong in the end, you probably "believe" that your 'helping others', 'beinng moral', or 'doing good' (according to how YOU define some "good" by WHAT absolute truth, I'm sure I don't know...and neither do you) that IF THERE IS A "GOD" He will look favorably upon you because of your so called, "good works"–BUT THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST IS CLEAR: Salvation is a " gift of God...not of works lest anyone should boast" (Read Ephesians 2:1-9)...Being saved is strictly tied to WHO YOU SAY (believe)THAT JESUS IS AND IF HE IS TRULY YOUR LORD & SAVIOR.

      I hope you're not going to reply with some ABSOLUTE STATEMENT because in your worldview YOU CAN NOT KNOW ANYTHING FOR SURE...


      May 24, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Before the "grammar police" jump all over me...1) I do apologize...2) Typing quickly on my tablet under time contraint with thoughts racing....Will slow down next time...

      In any event, I hope you can get the point of my post and fairly consider what I am saying...

      May 24, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  3. PH

    Salvation is open to all people, but salvation is ONLY through Christ. Why didnt he just say that instead of making it sound like unbelievers can go to heaven without faith in Christ. And frankly its the church that Catholics think you have to be a part of to get to heaven, Jesus is really an afterthought for them

    May 24, 2013 at 3:10 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Hey PH...You made a comment below that Jesus "invites all..." and I wanted to address that so we are making sire that we a re presenting the Jesus of the Bible...and...the Salvation of the Bible (i.e. God's "mercy" to sinners)...

      Does Jesus really "invite all" quant¡tatively? He invites all TYPES of people and saves ALL TYPES OF PEOPLE, but has He really invited every single person who has ever lived up to this time in history? Has He given every single person who has ever lived at least an "opportunity" to hear the gospel and be saved? Is He OBLIGATED to do that? If so, then you are not talking about "mercy", or the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me...You do not believe because you are not My sheep" (Read Jn 10 carefully with Jn 6:37-40, 44 & 65)...

      Just remember that the invitation (or rather 'command') to come to Him is to go out to everyone without prejudice, regardless of WHO they are or how far they have fallen into sin (i.e. Kings, Popes, rich, poor, black, white, gay, straight, male, female, etc, etc) , but it is the Father who grants someone the ability to come to His Son...This speaks to the heart of what Jesus meant when He said "You must be born again" (Jn. 3:3-8ff)....Jesus said "Unless a man is born again he can not see (or enter) the kingdom of God"...So according Jesus' own words, the necessary condition (i.e. "Unless") BEFORE anyone can see or enter the kingdom of God is that they must first be "born again"...I hope that is clear to you and anyone else reading this post...The gospel goes out to everyone without discrimination but it certainly has not (and will not) reach the ears of EVERYONE numerically.

      May 24, 2013 at 3:49 am |
  4. Jim

    The Pope must've been hanging with the Dalai Lama... this sounds very Lama-esque.

    May 24, 2013 at 3:03 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      The Pope represents Jesus like a Llama represents a human being...Oh wait, that analogy doesn't work if an athiestic evolutionist is reading this. Unless the Pope is one of them...Ok...my analogy works again! The Pope thinks his ancestor was a Llama AND, under that delusion, he can also think he's Christ's vicar on earth...Anything goes for delusional people...you can just create your own reality...your own truth...

      May 24, 2013 at 3:17 am |
  5. CH

    Let me tell you something – for hundreds and thousands of years, this kind of discussion would have been impossible to have, or those like us would have been having it at the risk of our lives. Religion now comes to us in this smiley face, ingratiating way– because it's had to give so much ground and because we know so much more. But you've no right to forget the way it behaved when it was strong, and when it really did believe that it had god on it's side.

    May 24, 2013 at 3:01 am |
  6. TB

    I agree – the comments should have been disabled on all or on none. There is no consistency – it's ok to down the christian god, but not the Muslim God. It's ok to down christian straight people and jews but but not ok to say anything about gays, or lesbians. True tolerance would be for everyone – not just the preferred few – that's called predjudice and racist. Free speech is freedom for everyone – not just the ones you like!!

    May 24, 2013 at 3:01 am |
  7. tom jones

    What a f'ing fairy tale, church/heaven.

    May 24, 2013 at 2:59 am |
    • PH

      its always those who think this way that spend lots of time in religious topics articles........

      May 24, 2013 at 3:12 am |
  8. james of the house

    I really like this Pope, I wish more people were as human as him.

    May 24, 2013 at 2:55 am |
  9. tom

    With all due respect – you can stuff your myth.

    May 24, 2013 at 2:48 am |
    • james of the house

      If its not real, then tell me what are you here commenting?

      May 24, 2013 at 3:04 am |
  10. Kevin

    Finally a Pope who embodies both humanity and aspires to transcend it with spirituality. Truly the result of the Holy Spirit to renew the essential message of the Gospels: "Love one another".,; no exclusion for anyone... The creator accepts us all... we are "redeemed".

    May 24, 2013 at 2:41 am |
    • Jesus sucks

      you are fucked up in the head is what you are.
      Jesus can't even redeem a coupon. He's dead forever and good riddance.

      May 24, 2013 at 2:48 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      If you're going to portray yourself as one who knows what Jesus and the gospels teach, please do not negate the many passages that speak of the way being "narrow..few find it" (Mt. 7:13-14...or more statements of Jesus like: "Repent or perish" (Mt. 3:2)..."I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me" (John 14:6)..."If you deny me before men, I will deny you before My Father...I did not come to bring peace on earth but a sword..." (Mt. 10:34ff)

      The Jesus of the Bible was not some Guru from the 60's with flowers in his hair teaching the Beatles about peace and love me do...But I think you may have tue two confused...sorry...your misrepresenting the Jesus of the Bible, even though (from your perspective) you may have good intentions...Truth divides–Love protects...and there can be no "love" without "truth" (an Absolute Truth)...JesusNotReligion

      May 24, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • james of the house

      @Jesus Sucks.
      How sad for you, you have the high ground to just say nothing ...instead you blast off a hate filled diatribe that is totally uncalled for and show the world how broken a human YOU are. I'm sorry for your pain of living, but guess what Jesus loves you regardless of how nasty you can be.

      May 24, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • PH

      He invites all. But its through Jesus and Jesus only, that one enters

      May 24, 2013 at 3:13 am |
  11. JesusNotReligion

    At the cross, God's JUSTICE & MERCY met in order to display His ETERNAL LOVE. So either we die with God's wrath ON US or we believe the Biblical truth that it was poured out ON JESUS (His only begotten Son), personally receiving this atoning sacrifice ON OUR BEHALF unto eternal life. Jesus is quoted as saying that ALL OF US are "already condemned" (just waiting for the sentence to take place) but His mercy is available to all "those who will believe"...


    John 3:16-18, 36
    16) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
    eternal life. 
    17) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 
    18) Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have
    not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

    36) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

    1 John 5:11-13
    10) Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony.Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar,
    because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 
    11) And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 
    12) Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
    13) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.

    ***The honest athiest will admit that he/she (or anyone for that matter) CAN NOT KNOW ANYTHING FOR CERTAIN-because "for all we know we could all be living in a Matrix". Therefore, be aware of any athiest who replies to this post with some "absolute" statement pertaining to its content as being "good or evil", "loving or hateful", "just or unjust", "right or wrong", "wise or foolish", "intelligent or idiotic", etc.

    They may also engage in personal attacks on me such as, "you're an a&&hole" (and the like)...But they have no right to make "absolute statements" according to what their own "Matrix-Worldview" demands because, in contrast to followers of Jesus (Believers in God and the Bible as His Word) , they themselves do not acknowldege an Absolute Source behind all truth that is needed outside of ourselves in order for us to truly KNOW ANYTHING FOR SURE...Therefore, they are ultimately left knowing NOTHING FOR SURE...But of course they will make these "ABSOLUTE STATEMENTS" as if they KNOW and are SURE they are TRUE...so let the HYPOCRISY begin***


    May 24, 2013 at 2:21 am |
    • Nut Crusher

      Your Jesus hated non-Jews. He was a racist POS and about as "holy" as a dog turd. Oh, you disagree? That's nice.

      May 24, 2013 at 2:30 am |
    • JesusNotReligion

      Introducing Hypocrite #1-Nut Crusher

      May 24, 2013 at 2:36 am |
    • Jesus sucks

      A hypocrite calling other people hypocrites is so boring. Jesusnotreligion is clearly Hypocrite #1.
      Maybe this kid should look up the word 'hypocrite', since he clearly doesn't know shlt about it.

      May 24, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • concerningTruth

      I agree with your comment, and thank you.

      Its not shocking any longer for me to read this religious garb because just as his predecessor did...( more than once), Francis is denying Jesus Christ.

      May 24, 2013 at 2:52 am |
  12. Hope

    For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5

    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

    John 3: 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

    Romans 4: 7 “Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
    8 Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”[

    May 24, 2013 at 2:18 am |
  13. Mark

    I suggest that before anyone comments on such issues they read: The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, and Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them). Then you can make informed comments, instead of regurgitating dogma, whose origins you don't understand.

    May 24, 2013 at 2:08 am |
    • i12bphil

      Great! More 'revisionist history'. Let's redefine all of known history that has been written down and never doubted until now to conform to a new history which supports new dogma and political ideologies.Yeah! Sign me up! Socialism: next stop!

      May 24, 2013 at 2:20 am |
    • Nut Crusher

      And I suggest that you take those books and shove them up your sanctimonious ass. I shit on your opinion, your god, your "holy spirit", your Jesus the stupid fuck, and your stupid books which, come to think of it, are flammable and might find some intelligent usage as toilet paper.

      May 24, 2013 at 2:28 am |
    • Sue

      I suggest you talk to God and then listen.

      May 24, 2013 at 2:46 am |
    • PH

      Its takes the Spirit to understand a Spirit breathed book. Hence so many secular people who don't get it

      May 24, 2013 at 3:15 am |
  14. whit

    Look to no man but only to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I wish cnn would of capitalized God. That's all I'm commenting on and good luck to atheists (God made you)

    May 24, 2013 at 2:06 am |
    • LinCA


      Your imaginary friend had nothing to do with how I, or anyone came into this world. Your god doesn't deserve capitalization.

      May 24, 2013 at 2:19 am |
    • It's you, not me.

      Do you think Jesus never farted or something?
      He may not have cleaned his ass very often, either, or have known about soap.
      He had no job and had to bullshit suckers to get food and money.
      He could spot a certain type of person in the middle of a crowd.
      Guess what sort of person that was? Flaming h0m0s with pretty feet.
      Jesus had a gay foot fetish. Rub dem toes and get to heaven, whee!

      May 24, 2013 at 2:36 am |
  15. Reckless

    A good person is a good person, regardless of what motivates them to be such.

    May 24, 2013 at 2:05 am |
  16. devin

    Who vetted this cat? Seems he's off kilter on some basic Christian theology

    May 24, 2013 at 2:03 am |
  17. Frank

    CNN Editors,

    I don't normally comment on any posts. I find the comment section to be repulsive and littered with ignorance, generalizations, extremism, and poor grammar. But I did want to raise an objection.

    For some reason, the editors found it perfectly allowable for articles such as this, or the #prayersforoklahoma article to be subject to reader comments - comments which tend to debase and degrade secular Americans to an almost subhuman status by a small minority of ultra-religious right-wingers. It is a discrimination (admittedly indirect on your part) that we nonreligious folk are subject to constantly.

    However, on issues which the vast majority of us (and of the general American public) care about, such as equal rights and equal treatment for our GLBT(etc.) brothers and sisters, you forbid commentary. For example, in the horrid, logically fallacious, and failing rhetoric that is "My Take: Why my family is quitting the Boy Scouts" post, we are forbidden from joining as a majority (for once) our fellow red-blooded freedom-loving Americans from picking apart such sanctimonious claims.

    This is ridiculous. We fully understand your desire to hear minority viewpoints... Indeed, we are often a part of the minority. But you should honor what is written below, your welcoming of "a lively and courteous discussion," especially when poor arguments can be so clearly, easily, and understandably picked apart by the majority of Americans.

    I'm sure no editor will read this or care. CNN needs to appear centrist because many a tea partying folk laughably and unreasonably claims this outlet to be "liberal," but this is out of hand. So I had to say my two cents.


    May 24, 2013 at 2:02 am |
    • LinCA


      I suspect comments were disabled at the request of the author of the post. He was probably afraid of rational review and critique of his garbage.

      May 24, 2013 at 2:15 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      How does the Kool-Aid taste? I heard it is a taste similar to self-victimisation...

      Take it from this Left Winger, you've got the wrong idea of how the Democratic party is set up.

      May 24, 2013 at 2:16 am |
  18. Reckless

    Regardless in what you believe (I'm not religious). I give him credit for opening his hand. If I were there, I would gladly shake it. I think this is what the church really needs: to get back to the love, peace and forgiveness aspects of the bible. I've only known three popes in my lifetime (Although I do know a priest who lives in the vatican), but it seems that Benedict led the church astray from it's teaching and underlying message. I hope that Francis can usher in a new chapter where we can all get along regardless of beliefs and judge one another by our character.

    May 24, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • Jesus sucks

      Not religious except for cheerleading for the Vatican. You really suck at being an apologist.

      May 24, 2013 at 2:41 am |
  19. postedbygeorge

    Belief in god is a middle eastern belief, here in America we are endowed by our Creator not blessed by middle eastern religious gods.

    May 24, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • LinCA

      Same difference. Same bullshit.

      May 24, 2013 at 2:21 am |
  20. Eyes Wide Open

    The catholic church was quick to say the pope was wrong, that good deeds aren't enough, you have to be a member of the church to get to their mythical heaven. Interesting, but really who cares? Believers go on believing, the rest of us laugh at them.

    May 24, 2013 at 1:48 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.